Cut Back On Added Sugar
A sugary diet can cause your liver to make more LDL cholesterol while lowering your HDL levels. Excess sugar can also raise your triglycerides and inhibit an enzyme that breaks them down. To prevent this, replace sugary fare with naturally-sweet alternatives. Instead of a bowl of candy, for example, have unsweetened applesauce or a baked pear. When you do indulge in high-sugar treats, stick to modest portions.
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High Blood Sugar Increases The Atherogenicity Of Ldl
Elevated levels of blood sugar create ideal conditions for glycation reactions to occur. Glycation is a process by which a protein or lipid is joined together non-enzymatically with a sugar. The resultant product is highly reactive and capable of damaging tissues it comes in contact with.
Glycation of LDL particles is a well-documented phenomenon that greatly increases the atherogenicity of LDL. Glycated LDL has been shown to be significantly more susceptible to oxidation than native LDL,44 and to substantially impair endothelial function.45 Also, glycated LDL stimulates oxidative stress and inflammation in vascular smooth muscle cells,46 which exacerbates plaque buildup within blood vessel walls. Glycated, oxidized LDL causes degradation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase , an enzyme involved in maintaining proper vasodilatation and blood flow.47 Moreover, once LDL has become glycated it is no longer recognized by the LDL receptor on cell surfaces, meaning it will remain in circulation and is more likely to contribute to the atherosclerotic process.48,49
Dietary Supplements For Cholesterol: Are Any Worth A Try
Various herbs and other supplements have been touted for their ability to improve cholesterol levels. Hereâs what the research shows and doesnât show about some of the best-known products.
Hawthorne.The leaves, berries, and flowers of this plant are used to make medicine that was traditionally used to treat cardiovascular diseases. It may lower cholesterol by increasing the excretion of bile and decreasing the bodyâs production of cholesterol. Verdict: It may possibly help.
Red yeast rice.This Chinese medicine has been marketed in the United States as a supplement thatâs said to lower cholesterol levels. Some red yeast rice products contain a chemical thatâs identical to the active ingredient in the cholesterol-lowering drug lovastatin. But an independent analysis of 12 red yeast rice products found that although all claimed to have 600 milligrams of the active ingredient in each capsule, the actual content varied between 0.1 mg and 10.9 mg. In addition, one-third of the products were contaminated with a potentially toxic compound called citrinin, which can cause kidney failure. This cautionary tale illustrates the potential pitfalls of taking dietary supplements, which are virtually free of the testing and manufacturing requirements that apply to pharmaceutical drugs. Verdict: It may possibly help, but purity remains a problem.
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Healthy Fats Can Help Lower Cholesterol
Replace unhealthy fats, such as saturated and trans fats, with monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. To eat more omega-3 fats, include fatty fish, flaxseed or ground flax, and walnuts in your eating plan. The oils that contain omega-3 fats are olive and canola oils. The ADA recommends eating two servings of omega-3-rich fish per week as part of a heart-healthy diet. The oils high in omega-6 fats are corn, soybean, and sunflower oils.
Eat less of these unhealthful fats:
— Saturated fat: The biggest food contributor to elevated LDL cholesterol is saturated fat. To remedy the cause-and-effect relationship between saturated fat and LDL, the ADA recommends limiting saturated-fat intake to less than 7 percent of your daily calories. So if you’re trying to eat no more than 2,000 calories a day, that would mean eating no more than 140 calories from saturated fat daily, or 15 grams of saturated fat.
— Trans fat: The ADA also recommends avoiding foods that contain trans fat. Although many restaurants and manufacturers advertise products as having zero trans fat, if the ingredients include shortening, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, or hydrogenated vegetable oil, the food likely contains trans fat. Labels are not required to list trans fat if the total is less than 0.5 grams per serving. Eating multiple servings of such foods means trans-fat intake can add up.
Cholesterol And Thyroid Hormones
Thyroid hormones exert significant influence over several aspects of metabolic activity in humans. Lipid and cholesterol synthesis and breakdown are no exception. Thyroid hormones are not only involved in modulating the rate of cholesterol synthesis in the body, they also partly control the rate at which LDL is removed from the blood by influencing the expression of LDL receptors. A similar affect is observed with triglycerides, which are broken down by lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme controlled by cholesterol. The net effect of these relationships is that as people develop hypothyroidismeven subclinical hypothyroidismtheir blood lipids often rise.34
In a retrospective study of 406 Chinese individuals who did not smoke and had normal thyroid function according to conventional laboratory parameters, TSH levels exhibited a linear correlation with total cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.35 This means that as TSH levels increased, so did lipid levels. This was the case even within the conventionally established normal TSH range. The authors of this study remarked, “TSH in the upper limits of the reference range might exert adverse effects on lipid profiles and thus representing as a risk factor for hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia in the context of CHD.”
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What Are The Risks Linked To High Cholesterol
Too much LDL cholesterol in the blood can increase your risk of heart and blood vessel disease .
The excess LDL cholesterol leads to fatty deposits called plaque forming in the artery walls. Over time, the plaque causes narrowing and hardening of the arteries .
This can lead to:
- Angina when plaque builds up in the major arteries that supply your heart, known as the coronary arteries, they become narrower and are partially blocked, reducing blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart. This may cause shortness of breath and chest pain.
- Heart attack if a plaque in a coronary artery bursts , a clot may form and block the supply of blood to the heart, starving it of oxygen.
- Stroke if the blood vessels that supply the brain become narrower or blocked by plaque, blood supply to the brain can be severely reduced or cut off, causing a stroke. Strokes can also be caused when a clot from another part of the body travels through the blood and lodges in an artery in the brain.
- Peripheral vascular disease this usually affects the arteries that supply the legs and feet, causing leg pain when walking , and even pain when resting, when the circulation is more badly affected
A high level of HDL cholesterol is good because HDL cholesterol helps remove other forms of cholesterol from the blood, taking them back to the liver where they’re removed from the blood and passed out of the body.
Limit Your Sugar Intake
Added sugar is a big part of many peoples diets.
While the American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 100150 calories of added sugar per day, one study found that the average American eats about 308 calories of added sugar daily .
Added sugar is commonly found in sweets, soft drinks, and fruit juice.
Extra sugar in your diet may be turned into triglycerides, which can lead to an increase in blood triglyceride levels, along with other heart disease risk factors.
A 2020 review that included data on 6,730 people found that those who consumed sugar-sweetened beverages regularly were over 50% more likely to have high triglycerides, compared with those who did not drink them regularly .
Another study found that consuming high amounts of added sugar is also associated with higher blood triglyceride levels in children .
Fortunately, several studies have shown that low carb diets can lead to a decrease in blood triglyceride levels .
Even a simple change such as replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with water could decrease triglycerides in some people .
Minimizing added sugar in your diet from sugary beverages and sweets can reduce your blood triglyceride levels.
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What Lifestyle Changes Can I Make To Help Improve My Cholesterol Levels
Exercise can raise HDL cholesterol levels. It can also reduce levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides . Try to work out for 30 minutes, 4 to 6 times a week. Your workout should be moderate to vigorous. Make sure you talk to your doctor before starting an exercise plan.
Lose weight if youre overweight.
Being overweight can raise your cholesterol levels. Losing weight, even just 5 or 10 pounds, can lower your total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
If you smoke, quit.
Smoking lowers your HDL cholesterol. Even exposure to second-hand smoke can affect your HDL level. Talk to your doctor about developing a plan to help you stop smoking.
Eat a heart-healthy diet.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat. They add flavor and variety to your diet. They are also the best source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals for your body. Aim for 5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day. This should not include potatoes, corn, or rice. These count as carbohydrates.
- Pick good fats over bad fats. Fat is part of a healthy diet, but there are bad fats and good fats. Bad fats include saturated and trans fats. They are found in foods such as:
- Fats in whole milk dairy products.
Limit the amount of saturated fat in your diet. Avoid trans fat completely.
In addition to fiber, whole grains supply B vitamins and important nutrients not found in foods made with white flour.
How To Lower Triglycerides And Cholesterol Naturally
Your genes, diet, and lifestyle all affect your triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Some people naturally produce more triglycerides and cholesterol than others. This is based on their genetics and family history. Still, these levels are just part of your overall lipid levels, and lifestyle changes are one of the best ways to keep your numbers within a healthy range.
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A Sneak Peek On Triglycerides
Triglyceride is a type of fat molecule that is present in the blood. After the consumption of food and during the process of digestion, the calories which are not required by the body for the production of energy change into unhealthy triglyceride molecules. These triglycerides accumulate in the adipose cells in the body.
When the level of triglycerides in the blood increases, it results in a condition called hypertriglyceridemia. It is quite common across the globe, with more than three million cases in the United States.
Summary And Quick Facts For Cholesterol Management
- Emerging research into underappreciated aspects of cholesterol biochemistry has revealed that levels of cholesterol account for only a portion of the cardiovascular risk profile, while the properties of the molecules responsible for transporting cholesterol through the blood, called lipoproteins, offer important insights into the development of atherosclerosis.
- Although the use of pharmaceutical treatment has saved lives, Life Extension® has long recognized that optimal cardiovascular protection involves a multifactorial strategy that includes at least 17 different factors responsible for vascular disease.
- For optimal health effects and vascular support, innovative strategies for decreasing vascular risk should be incorporated thorough cholesterol and lipoprotein testing, as well as strategic nutrient and pharmaceutical intervention.
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Medications Can Lower Ldl And Triglycerides
To get cholesterol and triglycerides into the target zone, many people with diabetes need to add medications to their healthy eating and exercise plans. Reducing elevated LDL cholesterol is typically the top priority. To achieve the target goals, many people need to take a medication in the statin category.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that statin therapy be added for people who have:
- a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and whose LDL cholesterol doesn’t hit the target of 100 mg/dl or less with healthy lifestyle change.
- cardiovascular disease and who don’t reach the LDL cholesterol target of 70 mg/dl or less.
Statin medications are most effective at lowering LDL cholesterol. All medications should be prescribed and monitored by a health care provider.
Common statins include:
Other medications that lower both LDL cholesterol and triglycerides:
- Prescription-strength niacin
Other medications prescribed to lower LDL cholesterol:
- Bile acid sequestrants, such as Questran or Colestid
- Welchol , a bile acid sequestrant that can also lower blood glucose
Other medications prescribed to lower triglycerides:
- Prescription-strength fish-oil pills
Other medications to lower cholesterol and blood pressure:
Medications that have been found to increase triglycerides:
- Birth-control pills
- Tamoxifen, a breast cancer drug
Medications And Supplements To Lower Triglycerides Serum Levels
If you have high triglycerides levels, you may be looking into medications and supplements that can help you lower serum triglycerides.
First intervention to address this health concern is to change your diet and lifestyle, but sometimes and especially with high and very high lab values, medicine and supplements may be indicated or may be a good addition for faster and better results.
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Increase Your Intake Of Unsaturated Fats
Studies show that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can reduce blood triglyceride levels, especially when theyre replacing carbs in your diet .
Monounsaturated fats are found in foods like olive oil, nuts, and avocados. Polyunsaturated fats are present in vegetable oils and fatty fish, as well as nuts and seeds such as walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.
A 2019 review of 27 studies reported that while olive oil consumption does decrease triglycerides levels, it does so significantly less than other types of plant oil .
One older study analyzed the diets of 452 adults in a specific population of Indigenous people in Alaska over the previous 24 hours.
It found that saturated fat intake was associated with increased blood triglycerides, while polyunsaturated fat intake was associated with lower triglyceride levels .
To maximize the triglyceride-lowering benefits of unsaturated fats, pick a heart-healthy fat like olive oil and use it to replace other types of fat in your diet, such as trans fats or highly processed vegetable oils .
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can decrease blood triglyceride levels, especially when theyre consumed in place of other fats.
Study Suggests Lower Ldl Cholesterol Is Better
A recent meta-analysis published in JAMA Cardiology suggests that it is both safe and effective to lower LDL below 70 mg/dL. The authors reviewed a large database of CVD patients with LDL levels averaging 70 mg/dL or less at the start of the studies. On average, there was a 20% drop in CVD risk seen for every 39 mg/dL drop in LDL cholesterol. In other words, a drop in LDL from 70 mg/dL down to 31 mg/dL was associated with 20% fewer CVD events such as heart attack or stroke.
The benefit was consistent regardless of the medications used to lower cholesterol. The JAMA Cardiology meta-analysis looked at studies in which LDL was lowered with a statin drug, which works by lowering LDL production in the liver, or with a different type of medication, including ezetimibe , which interferes with absorption of LDL from the intestine, or PCSK9 inhibitors, newer injectable medicines that increase uptake of LDL from the bloodstream into the liver. The drop in CVD risk was in line with previous studies of patients who started with LDL levels around 130 mg/dL, and saw a drop in CVD events of about 22% for every 39 mg/dL drop in LDL.
In this study, there was no increased risk of adverse outcomes , even when LDL was lowered to as low as 20 mg/dL. Although statin medications themselves have been linked to side effects, especially at high doses, it appears that extremely low LDL concentrations are not responsible for side effects.
Here are some ways to manage your cholesterol.
- oily fish.
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Reduction Of Or Total Removal Of Trans Fat From Meals
Trans fatty acids are the end products of the solidification of vegetable oils by the addition of hydrogen molecules. The two types of trans-fat are natural and industrial trans-fat.
Natural trans fat is found in animal products like milk and they occur in small quantities. Artificial trans-fat, however, are produced industrially when hydrogen is added to liquid oils to solidify them.
Trans fat adds more flavor and texture to processed foods. It is also used to fry foods and meats.
Trans fat has been known to raise the LDL levels and lower the HDL levels in the blood. The presence of trans fat in the blood increases the possibility of a stroke or cardiovascular disease.
Reduction Of Sugar And Carb Intake
Excess sugar and carbohydrates amount to calories in our diets. The excess calories are stored by the body as triglycerides for future use.
After digestion, carbohydrate and sugar are changed into glycogen, their storage forms. The conversion of carbs into triglycerides are made possible with insulin.
Insulin is produced by the body when the level of glucose in the blood becomes high. Simple sugars are easily converted to triglycerides, unlike complex carbohydrates.
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Data Abstraction And Statistical Analysis
Information on sample size, participant characteristics, study design, vitamin C dosage, duration of intervention, and treatment results with the 3 lipid categories were abstracted from the 13 studies. In the end, 11 separate LDL cholesterol, 12 HDL cholesterol, and 10 triglyceride group populations were identified from the 13 studies. The pooled demographics for each lipid category are presented in .
Supplements That Can Help Lower Cholesterol
Following a healthy diet, exercising, and not smoking are the most commonly recommended natural ways to manage cholesterol. There are also some supplements that may assist in lowering cholesterol.
The US Food and Drug Administration describes a supplement as a product taken by mouth that has ingredients meant to add to your diet. Supplements are not medications, so they are not regulated to the same level as drugs and are not approved by the FDA for safety and effectiveness. Be sure to check with your health care provider about adding any supplements to your routine.
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