Ask Marilyn – Star Question: How can I lower cholesterol without resorting to statins?

Q: What would you suggest for helping to lower cholesterol before resorting to statins?


A: Last month we looked at the difference between cholesterol and fat – and that is important because we know that only about 20% of cholesterol comes from your diet and your liver produces the other 80%. Your body needs cholesterol and so does your brain because it helps to release neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) like serotonin, a feel-good neurotransmitter. As with anything in Nature you don’t want too much cholesterol, but it is also just as bad to have too little. Ideally your total cholesterol should be lower than 5 and a value between 4 – 5 is ideal. Statins can take cholesterol levels to as low as 3 and it is thought that a level lower than 4 can increase the risk of depression and even suicide. 


So what can you do to help yourself? You are aiming to do three things: 


  • Firstly, to alter the type of cholesterol you produce, so you are increasing HDL (the ‘good’ cholesterol). You do this by increasing exercise, reducing stress and introducing foods containing garlic, soya and Omega 3 essential fatty acids – such as oily fish and linseeds (flaxseeds). 
  • Secondly, to remove excess cholesterol from your body. Do this by increasing the amount of soluble fibre (found in oats, beans, fruits and vegetables), which binds to the cholesterol and stops it being re-absorbed.
  • Thirdly, to remove foods that may interfere with the production of cholesterol – e.g. alcohol, caffeine and added sugar. Alcohol because it stresses the liver, which is where cholesterol is produced. Caffeine and added sugar because they are stimulants that encourage the over production of stress hormones, which are made from cholesterol.  So the more stress hormones your body has to produce, the more cholesterol it has to produce because the stress hormones are made from cholesterol.

To make the process faster, as well as addressing what you eat and drink, add in a few supplements over three months and then get your cholesterol checked again. Add in garlic (preferably Aged Garlic), Omega 3 fish oils, plant sterols (e.g. Lestrin) and granules of lecithin (which help to lower cholesterol and raise HDL, good cholesterol). If you need help getting these supplements then go to the Resources Page.




Comments are closed.