Posted in General by Penny WadePenny Wade on 23 August 2019

 The latest research into high lipid levels

I went to a seminar recently on this subject and there were some very interesting findings. Below I will share some of the highlights.

  • Did you know that high cholesterol begins as young as the 18-24 year olds! 35% of men sand 38% of women . And from age 55 onwards lipid levels occur in 75% of men and 82% in women!
  • That the drugs of choice are statins and that 10M people are on Crestor and 10M are on Lipitor. 
  • The primary cause is genetic with elevated cholesterol and or trglycerides and a  family history. 
  • Secondary causes are diet, drugs and diseases or disordered metabolism.

The disease that has the most effect on cholesterol levels is hypothyroidism. Other diseases that effect lipid levels are metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes, renal disease, PCOS and alcoholism. And of course menopause.

Hypothyroidism can cause muscle pain with the statins. Some people cannot take statins because of severe muscle pain. Also, low Vitamin D levels,(< 80nmol/L) , high levels of exercise and a family history can also cause extreme muscle pain with statins. 

As we know it is LDL cholesterol that is one of the bad cholesterols plus triglycerides. To be more precise small dense(sd) LDLs and apolipoprotein A and B are  very important risk factors too which need to be measured as well to determine risk.

sdLDLs (because they are so small) are able to penetrate the artery wall more easily and we get atherosclerosis. They are related to a very high carbohydrate intake especially fructose, found in syrups and fruit. 

There are comprehensive pathology tests which test for these but are expensive. There are surrogate marker tests which you can work out yourself using your current  total cholesterol, triglyceride and HDL levels to work out the size of the LDL particles and apolipoprotein B. If you want to find out give me a call, using your last blood tests for lipids. 

So, what herbs are useful in bringing down these sd LDLsizes and numbers? 

A herb called Phellodendron is very effective . 

The well known herb Cucurmin or more commonly known as turmeric has many uses here: 

  • It is an antioxidant and anti inflammatory.
  • decreases statin associated muscle symptoms which increases the effects of statins , therefore you may be able to reduce the dose. It can safely be used with statins too. 
  • stabilises 'rupture prone' plaques in the artery wall. 

CoQ10 - The ubiquinol form is best as it gives maximum benefit, 300mg a day. Statins can reduce the levels of COQ10 in the muscles including heart muscle so it is important to keep levels up. 


Resveratrol is a potent anti oxidant and anti inflammatory agent. It protects the artery walls from damage and stabilises any plaques  that may be there. There is the most resveratrol in red wine, particularly pinot noir but you would have to drink an awful lot to gain any benefit! Would defeat the whole purpose of lowering cholesterol! You can buy it in tablet form. 


 It seems that saturated fat is not the major issue. Several large studies have shown that whole dairy products have a neutral or positive benefit on cardiovascular health. It is the low fat alternatives laden with sugar that are more detrimental to cardiovascular health. 

Fermented foods such as kefir, yoghurt and cheese have been found to increase HDL cholesterol ( good) and increase large LDL particle size(good) and reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Red meat - Strong association of coronary heart disease and Type 2 diabetes with processed meats - salami, chorizo type meats.Must reduce sodium and preservatives. 

No association of unprocessed meats with the incidence of CVD. 

Summary for diet

  • Reduce trans -saturated fats
  • Increase  plant based foods particularly vegetables. Nitrate rich foods such as beetroot,celery,kale and chinese  greens are marvellous for producing nitric oxide in the body which helps to relax artery walls.
  • Increase omega 3 fats whether from oily fish or fish oils. 

If you do not want to go on statins, go on a 12 week diet and see if cholesterol levels are lowered. If that does  not work then herbs or statins need to be considered. 

If you have sany questions or need some help please do not hestate to call me.


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