Cholesterol Reduction - Functional Medicine Approach

Taking statins for cholesterol reduction is the number one treatment for high cholesterol. Is it the best way to reduce cholesterol?


How important is reducing one’s high cholesterol? How many people do you know take a statin for high cholesterol? Maybe you do. The big question, “are statins the best choice for reducing high cholesterol levels?” I was a certified diabetes educator (CDE) over 20 years ago and provided diabetes education to many patients.

At that time and place, I did not have a dietitian in our town I could refer people to, which means I had to do a lot of reading and learning about how to better educate my patients on proper dietary habits. I learned fast that the recommended diet from the American Diabetic Association was not best for diabetic patients. I started recommending patients reduce the calories from carbohydrates and increase their calories from proteins.

What was amazing, especially to the patients, some were able to get off their insulin and switch to different oral drugs. I had patients who lost 50 pounds in 12 months. The key here was reducing overall calories. Most people eat much more than is necessary for their daily function. I had patients where their doctor took them off their blood pressure and cholesterol medication. This was very significant. It is known how diabetes increases the risk for cardiovascular disease and each time you add another health condition, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, you add to your risk for heart disease exponentially. Most of these positive outcomes where solely due to changes in their diet! The right amount of exercise is important; however, diet had the largest impact.

If you can improve your health to the point of discontinuing medications, your risk for heart disease greatly diminishes. This is the reason for this article. How can you take better control of your health? It will take some work, time, and discipline, but it can be done. It is all about changing your lifestyle habits and diet is the most important. People do it every day.

I first want to present to you a video that goes into detail on how Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) develops over time. It is directly related to women; however, the information and implications are the same for all. Dr. Mark Menolascino does a great job of doing this in this video from Designs for Health titled: The Heart Solution for Women: A Functional Medicine Approach to Identifying and Preventing Heart Disease in Women. This video is designed for practitioners, but simple enough for everyone to understand. There are pearls all through this video and I encourage you watch the entire video.

One thing I learned over 20 years ago when I was a CDE was fat does not make you fat, excess carbohydrates do. Dr. Nick Zyrowski has a great video explaining this titled: Fat does not make you fat. Too many carbohydrates in our daily diet is being stored as fat due to consuming more carbohydrates than is needed for fueling our bodily functions. This increased fat causes insulin and leptin resistance which makes matters even worse. People with insulin resistance and leptin resistance will find themselves not able to lose weight no matter how hard they try, and they are always craving more food, especially carbohydrates.

Dr. Chris Kresser has shared The Functional Medicine Approach to High Cholesterol, which is a good article explaining there are other options to treating high cholesterol.

Dr. Axe has a great article titled: How to Lower Cholesterol Naturally … in 28 Simple (!) Steps. This article gives ideas on the natural way to fight high cholesterol. You will find out soon if you start investigating the science behind the new research coming out today, our diet has a much greater influence on our health than you realize. Inflammation is being found to be the culprit behind CAD and many other health conditions as you learned watching the above video from Dr. Menolascino.

Inadequate diet, hormone imbalance, sedentary lifestyle, and stress impacts our health in so many different systems in our bodies. You will find that someone with one condition will most likely have one or more other conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, hormonal imbalances, thyroid problems, auto-immune diseases, and even cancers. What is especially important is the fact how inflammation plays a large role in this process. This will be a great topic for another discussion later.

Maybe we need to expand what we test when doing lab test for risk of CAD. This is a great article titled: Inflammation and Heart Disease: What Is C-Reactive Protein? Who Might Benefit from Testing? Dr. Menolascino in the above video talks about other types of test for better and more accurately test for your risk of CAD near the end of his video.

Labrix Laboratories has an anti-inflammatory diet that is helpful for those who want to or need to reduce the inflammation in their body. There are so many foods which cause increases in the inflammatory processes. Dr. Weil's has a food pyramid called the Anti-Inflammatory Pyramid that is a good tool to have for help in keeping you on track.

Designs for Health has a protocol for reducing cholesterol. This protocol and Dr. Axe’s recommendations for naturally reducing cholesterol is a great way to getting your health back. You will decrease your risk for heart disease and will help improve your overall health as well, not to mention how much better you will feel and look!

The protocol from Designs for health have the following supplements they recommend for reducing cholesterol:

There are studies that have indicated how Vitamin E does not help reduce heart disease and may even increase the risk of death in women. Annatto Synergy form of Vitamin E does not have the Tocopherol that is the component of Vitamin that seems to not have any health benefits and causes other health risks. Annatto Synergy as you can see has the Tocotrienols that is the component of Vitamin E that has the increased benefit for better health and without the health risk.

You can order these products and have them shipped to your front door. Shipping is free and there is a discount based on the volume of your purchase. Go to our e-Store to place your order.

I hope this article has informed you in a way that will empower you to actively take part in getting your health back. Please consider the lifestyle changes recommended in the links in this article for optimal health. We would be glad to talk to you about any questions concerning anything mentioned in this article.

C. Craig Wells RPh