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Prescription Medication Alternatives For High Cholesterol

So you just got your test results back and your doctor says you need medication for high cholesterol. First off don’t panic! Cholesterol is something that you need to be concerned about but it’s not a clear cut indicator of your overall health.

Do you know anyone who drinks excessively, smokes, and eats unhealthy food but they still have low cholesterol levels? I know several. How can this be? It’s because cholesterol levels may be to a large degree influenced by genetics.

Though the connection is not fully understood it cannot be denied that genetics play a part. However, the reports on tell us this does not mean you should ignore the impact of high cholesterol on your health or not consider medication as an option.

If you’ve been told you have moderate-high cholesterol you may can look at some alternatives to prescription drugs first.

Your doctor probably recommended drugs like Zocor, Mevacor, or Pravachol. While very effective these are potent drugs that may have harmful effects on your liver with long term use and even make it difficult to lose weight (if looking for the treatment centers – check this out).

I want to introduce you to some natural alternatives that often work just as well without the possible long-term effects of prescription drugs.

NOTE: It’s important to mention that if you have dangerously high cholesterol it is imperative that you take a cholesterol lowering medication first to get your levels under control.

I’m sure by now you are aware of the different types of cholesterol, LDL or “bad” cholesterol and HDL or “good” cholesterol. LDL or “bad” cholesterol comes from animal or saturated fats. The first obvious thing we need to do is begin replacing animal foods with plant foods. This doesn’t mean you have to become a vegetarian, but it’s important to remember there’s no cholesterol in plants. I think that’s simple enough for a starting point.

The high level of saturated fat in butter has created the popularity of margarine. It seems that everybody is afraid of eating any fat at all. Ever wonder why your grandparents ate butter and whole milk but rarely had problems with cholesterol? The answers to our cholesterol problems obviously don’t hinge on saturated fats alone.

In a futile attempt to cut out all saturated fat from our diets we have created products that are much more harmful. Margarine is one such product. In fact, margarine is one of the most harmful foods a person can eat period! Although margarine is plant based, its composition has been altered due to a manufacturing process called “hydrogenation”. This process results in an unnatural form of oil. See the problem? It can be summed up in one word “unnatural.” Studies have shown that margarine has a double whammy effect on cholesterol by raising LDL levels and lowering HDL levels.

The best advice is to use an alternative like Smart Balance which is non-hydrogenated. Also avoid any food products in your diet that have the word “hydrogenated” in the ingredients.

Another helpful addition to your diet will be omega-3 oils. These oils appear to have numerous beneficial impacts on our health. Research has shown amazing benefits in lowering cholesterol and helping to decrease body fat. They are best consumed in cold water fish like salmon, herring, and mackerel. However, if your taste buds don’t desire these fish, there is another alternative. Flaxseed oil is a great alternative that can be easily added to your diet. Flax oil is easily hidden in a salad dressing mix or in a cup of yogurt. The addition of any omega-3 oil of your choice will go a long way in improving your health and lowering your cholesterol.

We have all heard the Quaker Oat commercials claiming oatmeal can significantly help to reduce cholesterol. This is true but did you ever wonder why? It’s simply the fiber that makes oatmeal so beneficial in lowering cholesterol.

You need to look for ways to increase fiber content in your diet. Look for various fruits that are high in fiber content, they are equally as beneficial. Another alternative may be a fiber supplement. Watch the sugar intake with some fiber supplements, but more importantly look for ways to increase fiber in your diet any way you can.

There’s another product that you’ve probably never heard of that has some early studies showing an amazing impact on lowering cholesterol. This product can be picked up at most health food stores and doesn’t require a prescription. It’s called inositol hexaniacinate.

Why haven’t you ever heard of it? Because inositol hexaniacinate is a natural product and not a patentable drug. If it was patentable you would see ads for it everywhere. But since it is nothing more than a form of niacin, there’s little money to be made from it.

Research has shown comparable results to drugs like Zocor without the harmful side effects. It is important to ask for inositol hexaniacinate and not standard niacin.

Standard niacin is known to have profound side effects on some people like flushing of the skin, redness or rash like symptoms, fatigue, and stomach irritation. However, inositol hexaniacinate is much better tolerated then niacin. A recommend dosage I’ve seen in research studies was 500mg three times a day with meals.

By now you should know the importance of exercise so we won’t go into detail on the numerous research studies correlating a reduction in cholesterol levels with regular physical exercise.

Aerobic exercise at 45-75% of your predicted maximum heart rate should be completed 3-5 times a week for 30-60 minutes. Resistance training should also be incorporated three times a week for 30 minutes. Additional lifestyle changes include eliminating tobacco and reducing caffeine and alcohol.

Remember natural remedies and exercise take a little longer than drugs so be patient. Like the majority of medical conditions cholesterol levels can be altered naturally. However, I do recommend using prescription drugs immediately if your cholesterol levels are dangerously high and pose a health risk.

You can always use the natural remedies later once the levels have dropped. It’s important to remember that staying on any cholesterol lowering drug for an extended period of time may impact your health. If you can avoid taking them altogether better yet!

Cholesterol Lowering Tips

  1. Complete aerobic exercise 3-5 days per week @ 30-60 minutes each session.
  2. Complete resistance training 3 day per week @ 30 minutes each session.
  3. Eliminate tobacco and reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption
  4. Replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats in your diet.
  5. Remove margarine and all “hydrogenated” products completely from your diet.
  6. Include flaxseed oil in your diet with 1 tbsp taken twice daily.
  7. Include Oatmeal and/or other high fiber foods in your diet.
  8. Include Inositol Hexaniacinate in your diet. Take 500 mg 3 x daily with meals.
  9. Include a food based nutrition supplement product like Juice Plus® to your diet

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker and founder of Shaping Concepts Fitness Training Studios. Learn more how you can receive a FREE trial of our personal training programs and experience the Shaping Concepts difference for yourself.

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Category: Hormones & Health.