High Cholesterol Natural Treatments

Written by Dr. Rich Snyder

Cholesterol is a fatty material made by the liver. It is essential for human life. However, cholesterol levels that are very high or cholesterol that is “inflammatory” increases your risk of heart and vascular disease.

High cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease through the formation of a cholesterol plaque over time.

The treatment of high cholesterol includes modifying your diet to a more plant-based one as well as increasing your fiber intake, incorporating supplements that normalize your cholesterol levels and reducing inflammation.

The following provides information on high cholesterol natural treatments.


What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty material made by the liver. It is one of the basic building blocks of the cells in your body. It is a vital component of the cell membrane that helps protect the cell and maintain its integrity and viability. Cholesterol is also important for the production of certain vitamins, such as Vitamins A, D, E, K (called fat–soluble vitamins). It is also needed for hormone production; this includes cortisol and sex-related hormones. We not only produce cholesterol in our bodies, but we also obtain it from the foods that we eat.

Why or when is cholesterol bad?

Cholesterol, in and of itself, is not bad. It is in fact essential for human life. However, cholesterol levels that are very high or cholesterol that is “inflammatory” increases your risk of heart and vascular disease. High cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease through the formation of a cholesterol plaque over time as pictured above.

Are there different ways of looking at cholesterol?

When taking a holistic view of cholesterol, there are three different aspects that need to be considered:

  • Recognizing the different types of cholesterol
  • Understanding the nature of the cholesterol molecule itself: is the molecule small and dense (increased inflammation risk) or light and fluffy (negligible inflammation risk)
  • Recognizing that cholesterol can exist in an oxidized state or a natural/reduced state
  • It is important that you and your healthcare provider review all of these factors when looking at your cholesterol levels.

What are the different types of cholesterol?

  • The HDL, or High Density Lipoprotein, is called the “good cholesterol.” In general, the higher the HDL levels, the better.
  • LDL, or Low Density Lipoprotein, is considered to be the “bad cholesterol.” In general, it is thought that the lower the LDL levels, the better in terms of reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Triglycerides are another form of fat that is in the bloodstream. Very high levels, which can be seen with diabetes and alcohol abuse, are a risk factor for heart disease.
  • VLDL, or Very Low Density Lipoprotein, is a form of cholesterol that is also helpful in determining your heart risk. In general, the higher this number, the higher your risk of heart disease.

What do you mean by the nature of the cholesterol molecule and inflammation?

A number does not tell the whole story when it comes to cholesterol levels and determining their risk for heart and vascular disease. If you look at LDL, for example, there can be small dense particles which are thought to be more of a risk for the formation of a plaque or atherosclerosis in comparison to the larger fluffy and light particles which are non-inflammatory.

Inflammation also refers to whether the cholesterol is in a natural or “reduced” state or “oxidized” or inflammatory state. Be aware that all of the cells in our body exist in a natural or reduced state. In the setting of chronic inflammation, the cells become oxidized. This generates the formation of free radicals. This also changes the nature of the cholesterol in the cells, particularly the blood vessels, and causes them to be more inflammatory and hence, more likely to form a cholesterol plaque.

How do I know if I have high cholesterol?

There are ways to measure cholesterol numbers in the blood as well as more specialized blood testing to tell you the nature of the cholesterol profile.

  • On traditional blood work, the LDL, HDL and triglycerides levels are part of a standard lipid profile.
  • If your LDL is > 160 and you have heart disease or you have several risk factors for heart disease, this is considered to be a high number.
  • If your HDL number is < 40, it is considered to be too low.  Lower levels of HDL are risk factors for heart disease.
  • Triglyceride levels > 150 are considered to be high.

How do I know if I have abnormal cholesterol?

This is again looking not just at the number, but also inflammatory risk for cholesterol.

  • On a regular lipid profile, additional testing, including looking for certain markers such as apolipoprotein B and lipoprotein A levels, are important markers for how “atherogenic” the cholesterol particles may be.
  • There is a specialized test called the VAP or Vertical Auto Profile test that can tell you the nature of the LDL or HDL molecules that you have. If, for example, the VAP test reports that your cholesterol is larger and fluffier in nature, they are less likely to be inflammatory with lesser risk for inflammation. This is an example of a personalized test that can really help you to determine your risk for heart disease.
  • Your healthcare provider should also test for “inflammation.” In particular, blood tests, including the erythrocyte sedimentation rate and high sensitivity C-reactive protein need to be checked. The higher the level, the more likely the cholesterol is inflammatory and increases the risk of plaque formation and heart disease.

What are conventional treatments of high cholesterol?

The traditional treatment of high cholesterol levels includes the prescription use of medications. Commonly prescribed drug classes of medications used to lower cholesterol include the statins, Zetia (Ezetimibe), bile-acid resins, and Niacin.

Statins: These are medications that inhibit the formation of cholesterol. Studies have demonstrated that this class of medications has decreased the risk of heart attacks and is heart-protective for someone with risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure and diabetes. Potential side effects of this class of medications include elevated liver enzymes (as can be measured in the blood), muscle pain or myalgias. It may also affect memory and may cause memory problemsCaution: Statins can deplete the body of ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q10), a potent anti-oxidant that is important not only for maintaining a healthy heartbut also for maintaining cellular health.

  • Supplementation with ubiquinone is recommended when taking this class of medications.
  • Ubiquinone can also decrease the risk of developing myalgias when taking statins and can also help in the treatment of myalgias once they begin.

Zetia (Ezetimibe): This medication blocks the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine. It can be prescribed to be used in conjunction with statin therapy for the treatment of high cholesterolCaution: Because this class of medications inhibits cholesterol absorption, it can also affect the absorption of key fat-soluble vitamins, including Vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Bile acid resins: This medication also is used to block the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine. It can also affect the absorption of key fat-soluble vitamins, including Vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Niacin: This is used in the treatment of low HDL to raise their levels. This medication has been known to cause flushing as a side effect and aspirin is often needed to be given prior to taking a dose of Niacin. There are extended release forms of Niacin that do not have this effect.

Fenofibrate: This class of medication is used to treat high triglyceride levels. They have similar side effects to the statin class of medications, including affecting the liver and causing myalgias. Caution: If a statin and fenofibrate are taken together, this can dramatically increase the risk of developing liver problems and significant muscle pain and muscle damage. In some cases, the muscle damage can be significant enough to cause kidney failure.



One of the most important changes necessary in the treatment of abnormal cholesterol is changing your diet.  A diet higher in fruits and vegetables is recommended. Did you know that the new Food Pyramid recommends five to seven fruits and vegetables each and every day? One of the well-studied diets is the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. The DASH diet not only lowered blood pressure, the risk of developing other complications of high blood pressure and diabetes, it also helped in lowering cholesterol.

This diet advocates the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It emphasizes reducing foods high in polyunsaturated fats as well as significantly reducing the amount of meat-based protein in the diet. Notwithstanding the chemicals, toxins, food additives, antibiotics that may have been used in the preparation of the meat, high animal protein intake increases total body inflammation, which plays an important role in the development of high cholesterol.

Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean diet

Another diet that has been extensively studied in the treatment of high cholesterol is the Mediterranean diet. Like the DASH diet, this diet stresses the consumption of fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats, particularly promoting the use of olive oil over butter. Eating fish, especially salmon twice a week is recommended for its high Omega 3 content. Much research has been done advocating the many benefits of the Mediterranean diet, especially for its heart protective effects.

The basic conclusion that can be drawn is that a plant-based diet can reduce not only your inflammation levels, but also can help normalize your cholesterol levels.


Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone)

Replacement of this antioxidant is necessary to help improve blood vessel health. This is vital to take, especially if you have been prescribed a statin-based medication.

  • When starting, begin with small doses at 50-100 mg daily and increase to twice a day after several weeks. Smaller doses taken during the day maximizes its absorption. Monitor your blood pressure closely. If you have diabetes, this nutrient can also help lower your blood glucose levels so they need to be monitored as well.


If your diet is low in fiber, a fiber-based supplement is recommended. Remember that fiber can bind the cholesterol in the intestine and prevent its absorption. Examples of commonly used fiber supplements can include a psyllium-based fiber supplement like Metamucil or more of a soluble-based fiber like Glucomannan fiber.


This is excellent for helping to maintain the cholesterol in the natural or “reduced” state. It decreases the inflammation of “cholesterol plaque.”

  • Aged garlic extract can be taken in capsule form starting at 400-600 mg a day. As garlic is a natural blood thinner, be careful if you are on prescription blood-thinning medications such as aspirin, Plavix, or Coumadin.

Fish OilOmega 3 fish oil

Omega 3 fish oil can not only help in lowering triglycerides, it is important for maintaining the health and pliability of the blood vessels as well as tremendous for reducing inflammation. You can start at 2000 mg a day and increase slowly to a maximum of 4-5 grams a day. Be aware that Omega 3 fish oil can thin the blood, so you may need to decrease your dosage if you are taking any blood thinners.


These are plant-based compounds that can be used in the treatment of high cholesterol. They can be taken independently or can be part of other formulations as well. An example of a plant-based sterol is beta-sitosterol. This can be taken once to twice daily, depending on the formulation chosen.

Red Yeast Rice

This is a natural form of the statin medications, and is used by many in the treatment of high cholesterol. There are several caveats when taking this supplement you need to be aware of:

  • Do not take prescription statins if you are taking this supplement.
  • As with the statin medications, liver tests (blood work) need to be monitoredand myalgias can occur with this supplement as well.
  • It is recommended to begin at a dose of 600 mg daily and slowly increase over the course of several weeks to a maximum dose of 1200 mg twice a day. You should be under the care of a health care provider when taking this supplement.


Turmeric is a great anti-oxidant to lower cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation. It can be taken as a 400 mg capsule daily or simply by sprinkling a little Turmeric powder on each meal. It does have a blood thinning effect so be aware if you are on other blood-thinning medications as mentioned above.


Our bodies were meant to move. Beginning an exercise regimen is crucial  to help in lowering cholesterol levels.

Walking thirty minutes four times a week has benefits of not only improving endurance, but also strengthening the heart as well as helping you lose weight. Other forms of exercise include jogging, biking, swimming and aquatic-based therapy.

Yoga for High CholesterolExercising in the water is not only rejuvenating, but as it reduces the wear, tear, and constant pounding on the joints, it is an ideal choice, especially if you are suffering from arthritis or have difficult y walking. Depending on your health issues, it is recommended that you see your health care practitioner to develop a personalized exercise regimen that matches your likes and limitations. Don’t forget to include muscle resistance training into your exercise regimen.

Yoga and tai chi represent a form of exercise that improves muscle strength and flexibility and does not require the use of expensive equipment. As mentioned above, they are great forms of exercise that can help improve cholesterol levels.

Updated: June 2019

  • Chung YH, Lee YC et al. “Statins of high versus low cholesterol-lowering efficacy and the development of severe renal failure.” Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety. 2013 Mar 22.
  • Cicero AF, Ferroni A et al.  “Tolerability and safety of commonly used dietary supplements and nutraceuticals with lipid-lowering effects.” Expert Opinion on Drug Safety. 2012 Sep;11(5):753-66.
  • Roth EM, Harris WS. “Fish oil for primary and secondary prevention of coronary heart disease.” Current Atherosclerosis Reports. 2010 Jan;12(1):66-72.
  • Srinivasan K. “Dietary spices as beneficial modulators of lipid profile in conditions of metabolic disorders and diseases.” Food and Function. 2013 Apr 25;4(4):503-21.
  • Stone NJ, Bilek S, et al. “Recent National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III update: adjustments and options.” American Journal of Cardiology. 2005 Aug 22;96(4A):53E-59E.

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Exercise is Medicine

The WSJ This Morning‘s Gordon Deal and Laura Landro talk about Exercise is Medicine, a global health initiative from the American College of Sports Medicine, that encourages primary care physicians and other health care providers to include physical activity when designing treatment plans for patients.

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3 Exercises for Shoulder Bursitis

Bursitis may make joints feel achy or stiff, and there may be pain when one moves or presses on these areas. Dr. Mandell exhibits three simple exercises that can help in recovering specifically from shoulder bursitis.

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Yoga’s Benefits Outperform those of Aerobic Exercise

We all know that yoga is good for the body, but it might be even better than we thought. A study by the University of Maryland School of Nursing in 2010 shows that yoga might offer more benefits than aerobic exercise.

As published in, the researchers state, “In the studies reviewed, yoga interventions appeared to be equal or superior to exercise in nearly every outcome measured except those involving physical fitness.”

They go on to state that they found yoga to be better than aerobic exercise when it comes to improving balance, flexibility, strength, daily energy levels and more.

Wow! And you might have thought it was only especially effective at reducing stress.


  • Rodale,

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Walking Meditation Calms the Mind While Keeping the Body Active

Walking offers a multitude of benefits. It can improve mood, lower blood pressure, help control weight and more. It also provides a form of meditation, especially for those who wish to calm their minds but don’t feel like sitting still.

Meditation calms the mind by giving it a rest from the constant chatter that occupies it during the day. Meditation encourages rest, rejuvenation and healing.

Walking is a simple and easy way to implement a meditation practice into an active life, according to Psychology Today.

Here are some steps on how to get started with walking meditation.

  • Allow your breath to to determine the pace in which you walk.  Do not try to breathe as quickly as you walk. It should be the other way around. Match each step with your breath. Walk slowly.
  • Watch your feet. Keep your eyes down and relaxed. Resist the urge to scan the area and get distracted.
  • Pick a place to get started where you can be comfortable and there will be few distractions.


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Working Your Chest for Weight Loss

For men working your chest is going to give you some great pectoral muscles, which in a study was shown to be the second sexiest muscle group next to the abdomen. For women working the chest is going to allow for some incredible fat burn.

The chest is home to some of the largest muscles in your body. The pectoral major is massive; some people think that the chest is made of more than one muscle, but in fact it is all one muscle… at least the one you see is. There is actually the pectoral minor that is hidden underneath the pectoral major; this is a smaller muscle that is going to help in adduction of the arm and also flexion shoulder.

With these two massive muscles being worked your body is going to need a large amount of calories to burn. Not only that, when you work the chest you have to use a great number of arm muscles in combination, thus creating more calorie burn than we previously thought necessary. This begs the question, what are some great ways to build pecks and burn fat?

First off is the traditional pushup. This is an amazing exercise, because it is actually going to require holding continuous tension in your core while you do it. Pushups are definitely better for weight loss rather than bulking your pectorals, but at the same time they are also going to create some hard definition in your chest.

The best part about the pushup, anyone can do it. So if you are just a little kid who still hasn’t hit puberty doing pushups is going to be the only way you can work your chest without stunting your growth. This is because they are a body weight exercise, meaning the tension is going to reverberate through your entire body rather than isolating specific muscles.

For those of us who are not worried about messing up our pubescent cycle there are always weights. This is going to be the fastest way in developing real mass fast. Isolating muscles through weight lifting allows you to put all your energy into working that specific point of your body. More energy expenditure to one point is going to allow for max gain.

I would recommend working on two separate machines, the fly machine and the bench press. Also it is good to keep pushups as part of your pec routine, thus keeping your muscles even and hard. Just doing weight lifting only can create that saggy muscle look, which makes you look fat when wearing a shirt.

Author Resource:-> Destry Masterson is an author who has written hundreds of articles. She publishes articles about fitness and offers nordictrack couponso. Contact Info: Destry Masterson – – Twitter: @DestryMasterson Article From Holistic Health Articles


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A Teenager’s Struggle with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Maya Schlesinger began her battle with Rheumatoid Arthritis at 14 years old, having noticed twinges of knee pain in the fall of 2012. After a visit to a pediatric rheumatologist who discovered high inflammatory markers, Maya embarked on a months’ long roller coaster ride of uncovering potential (and frightening) diagnoses and hours of physical therapy that did nothing to ease her mounting pain. Three months after her initial appointment with a pediatric rheumatologist, Maya was officially diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Following a conventional treatment plan, she was given a cortisone shot and put on a regiment of prescription NSAID’s.

Despite her diagnosis and medication, Maya’s pain continued to worsen. The ache in her knees spread to the rest of her body seemingly overnight. “I couldn’t hold a pencil in class to do work, or open doors without feeling like my wrist was going to give out, or sit up to study for exams for more than half an hour without my back making me feel like an old woman,” Maya recalls. Her rheumatologist offered anti-TNF’s to combat the pain, but Maya was hesitant to take additional medication. She continued her regiment of NSAID’s, despite the extreme fatigue they caused, and battled through the pain.

It wasn’t until the spring of 2013 that Maya’s mother, finding mounting evidence online of the effectiveness of an anti-inflammatory diet in treating Rheumatoid Arthritis, decided to take Maya to see a nutritionist. Under the nutritionist’s care, Maya began a gluten and dairy free diet. Within 6 weeks of her dietary overhaul, Maya stopped taking the NSAID’s and experienced a significant reduction in her pain symptoms. After three months of following an anti-inflammatory diet, Maya “cut out major inflammatory foods and commonly genetically modified foods such as gluten, dairy, nightshade vegetables, eggs, corn, and soy. Overtime we learned my four major sensitivities were gluten, dairy, eggs, and yeast.”

Maya’s anti-inflammatory diet, coupled with a regular exercise routine of yoga and weight lifting, keeps the majority of her RA symptoms at bay without the use of any prescription medication.

Now 16, Maya enjoys a typical teenager’s life in spite of her early diagnosis. Maya’s journey to better health has inspired her to share how a gluten, egg, dairy, yeast, and GMO-free diet has transformed her life with RA. She has created and manages a Facebook page dedicated to better GMO labeling across her home state of New Jersey, the United States, and the world.

In her words, “Under the direction of a certified (and wonderful) nutritionist and a few integrative and alternative medicine doctors, I’ve found myself feeling better than ever.”

Written by Kristin Accorsi


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Exercise for Fibromyalgia

Exercising regularly is one of the best ways to manage Fibromyalgia. Exercise can help reduce stress, improve serotonin levels, soothe muscles, and increase strength.

Careful attention, however, should be paid when creating an exercise routine if you’re suffering from FMS. Strenuous activity and high intensity exercise can actually be counterproductive and create more pain and inflammation. But, beginning slowly, finding your own personal limits and working with a fitness professional can dramatically reduce FMS symptoms and is highly recommended.

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Meditative-based exercises like Yoga and Tai-chi have proven quite effective in reducing FMS associated pain.

Yoga is an excellent way to increase muscle endurance, flexibility and deliver much needed oxygen to sore muscles. Gentle yoga and restorative practices also offer myofacial release and relieve FMS pain.

The gentle Chinese energy practice of Tai-chi is another great way to remove blockages and unwanted toxins in muscles and blood. Studies show that patients who practiced just 12 weeks of tai-chi slept better, felt better, had less pain, more energy, and better physical and mental health.
Lastly, Muscle Resistance Training can be beneficial to FMS patients. Using low weight and low repetitions, begin exploring your limits by exercising to the initial point of mild fatigue and then stop. Be sure to consult your physician and a fitness professional for an optimal and safe exercise routine.

In addition to these meditative-based exercises, working with a holistically trained professional may help you regain muscle mobility and flexibility. This includes seeing a structural integration specialist, chiropractor or a specialist in osteopathic manipulation.

For more information on Exercise and Fibromyalgia, visit Natural Holistic Therapies for Fibromyalgia.

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Exercising to Provide Relief for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia can cause widespread pain throughout the body, resulting in muscle soreness and fatigue. Even the most mundane of activities can create posture imbalances, muscle tightness, and pain. Some of the simplest undertakings such as unloading the dishwasher or vacuuming floors can cause major muscle discomfort and bring on Fibromyalgia symptoms. However, adding some simple exercises such as light free weights and aerobics can greatly improve how the body reacts to Fibromyalgia triggers.

Weight training can greatly increase muscle strength for Fibromyalgia patients. These can include simple reps with free weights, light resistance training, and modified machine work. Using light free weights, doing shoulder rolls and bicep curls increases both strength and muscle stamina. This allows the body to better perform chores that require upper body, back, and arm strength. For lower body endurance, adding ankle weights to basic walking or light jogging can help build strength and durability.

Aerobics is another way to decrease Fibromyalgia symptoms. In fact, water aerobics is often utilized to help increase strength, improve range of motion, and provide appropriate resistance for Fibromyalgia patients. Cycling, stair stepping, and elliptical work outs are another great option for Fibromyalgia patients to increase strength and mobility.

Adding a fitness routine to a Fibromyalgia care plan also has the added benefit of helping to offset the fatigue that is often associated with the condition. Many Fibromyalgia patients are jointly diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. One popular approach to treating CFS is adding a fitness routine that includes weight training and aerobics for mild cardio elevation. The added benefit of energy from a fitness routine helps to combat fatigue and reduces Fibromyalgia symptoms.

Overall Fibromyalgia can have devastating effects on a person’s daily routine and quality of life. Adding a fitness routine can help to reduce and eliminate the symptoms that are associated with the illness. Light weight training and simple aerobics can increase strength and muscle stamina, relieve tension and stress in the body, and increase energy and flow throughout the body.


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Using Gym Equipment Correctly To Treat Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis has a long list of symptoms that generally have long-term physical impacts. With the onset of pain, sufferers often reach for both over the counter medications and prescription medication. With OA patients, however, it is often suggested to incorporate a strong fitness routine to both increase strength and improve joint mobility. Using gym equipment can have many positive results for OA when used correctly.

The best equipment to incorporate into a fitness routine for Osteoarthritis are those that of a low impact work out on the joints and muscles. Great examples of quality gym equipment to use for treatment include a stationary bike and the elliptical machine. These both provide movement that encourages range of motion and strengthening, especially for the knees and hips which are oftentimes big problem areas for OA patients.

Low weight training can also be extremely beneficial when trying to treat Osteoarthritis. Using resistance training can help to strengthen the muscles and joints that are affected. Just adding free weights and doing light lifts and shoulder rolls can help build muscle stamina and increase range of motion in the shoulders and joints throughout the arms.

One of the easiest pieces of equipment to use, that can be tremendously beneficial for OA patients, is the treadmill. Walking every day not only increases joint motion, but also keeps muscles loose and moving. Using a treadmill in the home or gym eliminates weather influences that can sometimes be a big issue for OA patients. Adding some light ankle weights can further provide strength in the knees and hips.

When used correctly, gym equipment certainly has a place in the treatment of Osteoarthritis. Utilizing fitness equipment can provide relief, strength, and stamina for OA patients without introducing more medications. It is important to note that any fitness plan should be closely monitored by a doctor and/or a trained fitness professional to ensure safety and success. However, adding a fitness routine into the care plan for OA patients can prove to be extremely beneficial and have long term positive results.

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Why You Should Be Strength Training

Building muscle doesn’t get the credit it deserves when it come to fitness. It can be achieved through body-weight exercises or lifting weights. There are many benefits that lead to overall wellness including better sleep, lower bad cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and few injuries.

This infographic was discovered on and produced by HealthCentral.

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