Before I relay the story, please read this first:
What is the nature of your diet? Do you consume:
- soft drinks, alcohol or fruit juices? If so, how often?
- pasta, rice, bread, pizza, potatoes?
- potato chips (crisps), pretzels, crackers?
- fried foods (including fried eggs)? French fries?
- cookies, cakes and other desserts?
- red meat, processed meats like cold cuts, bacon or sausages?
- packaged food from the grocery store?
- sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup, or other sweeteners?
All of the above are 'inflammatory foods' for the body and trigger the body's immune system including, among others, LDL cholesterol production.
Do you consume, daily, any of these ANTI-Inflammatory foods?:
An anti-inflammatory diet should include these foods:
- olive oil.
- green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards.
- nuts like almonds and walnuts.
- fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines.
- fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges.
Heart disease, diabetes and many other chronic diseases are all related in that they can result, in most cases, from an inflammatory diet and lifestyle.
Half of all heart attacks and strokes occur to people with normal cholesterol levels. Blood clots are the cause of heart attacks and strokes.
To avoid blood clots:
Consider supplements such as Folic acid (vitamin B9) along with Omega 3 fish oil pills, B6 and B12.
Or you can eat wild-caught salmon or trout, or arctic char, 2-3 times per week, use extra virgin olive oil instead of butter, and eat one of these 3 greens DAILY:
- arugula, kale, or broccoli.
Get yourself a good Mediterranean Diet cookbook, but focus on low-carb meals. You can have healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, nuts and nut butters (organic, unsweetened, unsalted), MCT (medium chain triglycerides) foods such as goat and sheep dairy products, and MCT oil, among others.
Monitor your fibrinogen and homocysteine values in your blood tests regularly which measure blood platelet aggregation. Read this:
A couple of good sources for recipe ideas are:
Legumes should become a staple of your diet going forward.
THIS, is my story...
I had a triple bypass 4 years ago (March 2015) and subsequently required 4 additional stents.
My medication regimen was metoprolol, ramapril, clopidogrel (plavix), and 5 mg of the statin, Crestor, plus a daily baby aspirin of 80 mg.
I am a male, at that time 53 years of age, 5' 10" (178 cm), and was at that time 195 lbs (88.5 kg);
The surgery itself resulted in sleepless nights due to anxiety, but in time (a long time) that subsided.
In follow up visits with my cardiologist he adjusted my statin (Crestor) and increased it initially to 10 mg, then 20 and finally 30 mg. He said I had FH (familial hypercholesterolemia).
I was compliant but noticed an elevated level of anxiety throughout the day for months. I became very pessimistic and saw the world through dark clouds. I had this impending feeling of imminent doom. Nights were awful and I dreaded going to sleep.
I was always an upbeat, optimistic person and recognized that this was out of nature for me. I kept using 'self-talk' as a technique to counter these negative feelings.
By November 2015, my left shoulder began to hurt and stiffen up. By late December, my left shoulder was immobile and was throbbing with pain to the point that I couldn't sleep.
I initially thought it was a rotator cuff injury from summer golfing.
However, one sleepless night around Christmas 2015 I started looking up the side-effects of all the medications I was taking.
Needless to say once you look up the side-effects of statins (atorvastatin, crestor and others) there is an endless volume of information. Those from the medical community believe its the best drug for heart disease, while those who have taken it write about all of their side-effects.
I made the decision that night to slowly wean myself off of the Crestor. I wanted to know how to lower cholesterol naturally.
To make a long story short I radically changed my diet, and became a vegetarian but still ate fish and dairy products (mostly goat and sheep cheese). I completely stopped having sugar, and simple carbohydrates and all of the inflammatory foods I listed above - this resulted in a 3-week period of withdrawal symptoms, as refined carbohydrates and sugar are addictive. I was in a foul mood, short-tempered and full of self-pity throughout the 3 weeks that I could no longer eat such foods. Once I passed this point, my mood improved and I noticed that I had more energy, was more relaxed, tolerant, and was very slow to anger. In short, I my personality improved.
Watch this video:
- TV program 60 Minutes (13 min. episode)
I also cut the Crestor dosage from 30 to 25 mg without permission from my cardiologist to see the impact.
Additionally, I systematically walked daily, progressing gradually to 90 minutes per day, and then supplementing with resistance training at the gym 3 days per week. I also play hockey once per week.
This resulted in weight-loss at a rate of 1-2 lbs per week (early on it was 2 lbs/week). As the weight came off I ran blood tests every 6 weeks to monitor LDL-C and the rest of my blood bio-markers.
My LDL-C continued to decline even though I began to wean off Crestor at a rate of 5 mg every 6 weeks. Concurrently I began getting dizzy spells - my blood pressure was too low. I spoke with my GP and he said to cut the ramipril in half. I did so, but continued to have low blood pressure as my weight continued to come off. By the summer of 2016, I completely stopped the ramapril as my blood pressure, without it, was normal.
The clopidogrel (plavix) therapy along with baby aspirin is a standard,12-month, post-surgical protocol. This ended in May of 2016 for me on the 12-month anniversary of my last angioplasty (stenting). By summer's end of 2016 I was only taking metoprolol and 5 mg of Crestor.
I saw my cardiologist for a routine follow up and he was very pleased with my progress. By this point my weight was down to about 165 lbs. (75 kg). He told me that I wouldn't be able to go below 5 mg of Crestor as my LDL, which had fallen to about 1.7 mmol/l, would likely go back up to levels he said were sub-optimal for my condition.
I also questioned the need for metoprolol as this was a beta-blocker that slowed down my heart rate and lowered blood pressure. I looked up the drug and saw that it was designed for those with a heart attack (I didn't have one), atrial fibrillation and other heart problems, none of which I experienced. Thus I decided I was going to wean off of this drug as well.
I continued to experience anxiety throughout this period as my decision to eliminate all pharmaceuticals was contrary to conventional medical guidance.
By this point my knowledge base on cholesterol and cardiovascular disease had increased significantly as I read 2-3 medical studies every evening and a litany of other medical literature.
When I began weaning off of the metoprolol, my anxiety went through the roof even though the cardiologist said weaning wasn't necessary, I could just stop. By October 2016 I took my last metoprolol and last dosage of Crestor, then ran a blood test.
All blood markers were excellent, EXCEPT the LDL-C, which doubled to over 3 mmol/l.
My GP called immediately and said 'what are you thinking?!'
I told him that it was likely the 'rebound effect' of stopping Crestor. He didn't know about the rebound effect of stopping medications. This was when I realized my knowledge base about cholesterol and cardiovascular disease was beyond the scope of a general family doctor. I also realized the medical system in general was subject to potential conflict of interests due to the influence of the large pharmaceutical firms.
Since my cholesterol ratios were still good even after my LDL-C popped up, my GP agreed to go along with me and wait for the next blood test.
6 weeks later, my next blood test showed my LDL-C began to drop again albeit not to the sub 2.0 mmol/l recommended by my cardiologist.
My anxiety began to slowly dissipate and my left shoulder problems completely resolved and I regained full mobility again and was pain-free. My weight by the end of 2016 had leveled-off at 155 lbs (70.3 kg). My waist size went from a high of 42" (106.7 cm) down to 31" (78.7 cm).
I then began to learn about vitamins and supplements and the importance especially of vitamin C.
Humans cannot synthesize collagen which is critical in the repair of human tissues. This is especially important for people who exercise a great deal as exercise, in spite of its significant benefits, still triggers inflammation. In the absence of collagen, the body produces more cholesterol. Furthermore, I learned that when the body has more vitamin C and increases collagen production, cholesterol production drops.
I began to take 2,000 mg per day of vitamin C and noticed a nearly 20% drop in my LDL-C.
I have been tinkering with my diet and supplement routine since then.
This is the Vitamin C I take now: livonlabs.com/
Today, I have small portions of lean grilled chicken breast twice per week. I eat red meat only 4 times per year on special occasions, again in very small quantities (2-3 ounces).
I can tell you that changing medication dosages as well as vitamin and supplement dosages will trigger anxiety (yes even supplements). Therefore always change dosing gradually and recognize that you might get a temporary bout of anxiety.
When my supplement dosing is steady and unchanging, I do not have any anxiety.
I have reduced my baby aspirin to once every other day. I read a study that said the potentially efficacy of baby aspirin is not materially reduced with this schedule.
This week, a new study was released questioning baby aspirin therapy for primary prevention although it did not mention anything about secondary prevention for those with established heart-disease.
I am considering a food supplement called 'fruit flow' as a replacement for the aspirin.
In the meantime, to help your RA and inflammation in general, consider these supplements:
- curcumin (active compound in tumeric)
- 1 teaspoon daily of Ceylon (true) Cinnamon (I put it in my breakfast tea).
Here are 7 anti-inflammatory spices:
One last thing, LDL-C is not the best indicator of cardiovascular disease risk. Instead the measure of LDL-P (particle number) is. You need to get a blood test called 'NMR Lipoprofile' which will provide you with this, and other, very important values. If your LDL-P is low and your LDL-C is high, the LDL-P value is more important:
If your LDL-P is also high then you have to address it through dietary and lifestyle changes.
If you wish to ask me any questions you can messages me privately.
I hope this helps you with your health issues.
P.S. I do not have Familial Hypercholesterolemia. My current blood metrics prove it and the diagnosis was not based on a specific test but simply on my elevated cholesterol that met a guideline value used by the medical system. Do not accept all advice from doctors at face value. Do your own research and seek second opinions including those from a high quality naturopathic doctor.