by Peter Marcantel
Even though I’ve been a pretty active person all my life, my cholesterol levels have tended to be high. I’m not overweight, but my genes seem to be a little less forgiving of the types of food I eat. Last November I had a routine blood test done that showed a total cholesterol reading of 257 and my primary care physician told me I should get on some medication to get that reading down. I assured him that I could do it with proper diet and exercise. I then immediately proceeded to do nothing about changing my diet and exercise habits.
At the beginning of May I took another blood test and my total cholesterol reading was 250. My PCP was a bit more insistent this time, recommending a statin because my family history puts me in some risk categories for heart disease. I assured him that this time I was serious and that I would put myself under my wife’s care to get this under control (husbands are always the last to listen). He told me that in his clinical experience most people could only lower cholesterol naturally by about 20-30 points and that I needed to get my total count under 200. Still, he agreed to give me until August to try.
It took me a couple of weeks to make the commitment (you don’t want to rush into this sort of thing), but I finally went to my wife and asked her to make me a meal plan and a protocol for cholesterol-lowering food supplements. After twenty-six years of trying to change my eating habits she was a bit skeptical at first, but I assured her that this was a new me. So long, Taco Bell! Bring on the broccoli!
Dr. Marcantel laid out a plan for me. I carefully wrote it down and tacked it to the refrigerator door. I increased the amount of fiber I was eating, began drinking fresh carrot juice every morning, cut out refined sugar and bad carbs, increased my walking to four times a week, and began taking cholesterol-lowering supplements including fish oil.
I started feeling better within a few days. I found that I had more energy and less aches and pains. At the end of June I had another blood test done. I hoped to have lowered the cholesterol levels some and I really just wanted to know I was making some progress. Here are the comparative results of the three tests from November through June:
Recommended levels: Total chol Trig HDL LDL Ratio
Recommended levels: <200 <150 >39 <100 <5.0
11/28/08 257 85 57 183 4.5
05/08/09 250 140 56 171 4.5
06/29/09 168 49 53 107 3.2
So is lowering cholesterol naturally possible? I’m certainly a believer. And I proudly delivered a copy of my most recent test results to my PCP with “I told you so!” scrawled across the bottom!