Psyllium husks - lower LDL: My... - Cholesterol Support

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Psyllium husks - lower LDL

CocoChannel
CocoChannel

My cholesterol is very slightly above normal (total 5.2, HDL 1.6, LDL 3.4, triglycerides 0.7). A heart scan showed some plaque on my LAD. The consultant wasn’t concerned but advised me to lower the LDL to below 2.6.

Well, I don’t drink, am maybe 4kg overweight but am training for triathlons and have a resting heart rate of 46. Fried or processed foods are a no no.

Despite this healthy stuff, my LDL sticks around 3.4. I’ve just given up milk. I drink a lot as part of porridge and tea. I’m also going to eat meat only at weekends.

I’ve been reading psyllium husks can lower LDL. I threw a couple of tablespoons in my porridge today.

Anyone used psyllium?

18 Replies
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Three points:

1. Porridge is high in omega 6

2. Porridge with beta glucan can lower LDL

3. It’s the type of LDL that’s important . Get a PLAC test

Ask your consultant about Remnant Cholesterol and how to check heart health risk.

" Remnant cholesterol, also known as remnant lipoprotein, is a very atherogenic lipoprotein composed primarily of very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) and intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL)."

I had very similar numbers and activity levels, triathlons, low resting heart rate etc. but my total was always about 5.7 I was already a vegetarian so I cut out animal based saturated fat, cheese, only skimmed milk and got it down to 5+. I now take 15g of psyllium as one or two doses with a meal. Probably an evening dose is more important as cholesterol is made overnight.The point is that pysillium contains soluble fibre which binds to bile and fat and cholesterol is used to make more, hence lowering it In your blood. So all soluble fibre sources are good, porridge with chia seeds, apples and 200g of beans a day are a staple. I also cut out eggs but have egg white omelettes. My latest total was 4.2 with high HDL which I was pretty chuffed about. It's probably not just the pysillium but more soluble fibre is definitely a good thing. Good luck.

CocoChannel
CocoChannel
in reply to mgdoble

Thanks mg and well done!

Your point about when to take psyllium is very valid and probably applies to food intake generally. I often eat after 9pm which is far from ideal.

So your excellent progress was all diet (and possibly psyllium) related?

mgdoble
mgdoble
in reply to CocoChannel

Yes, as I have had regular cholesterol checks, sometimes as often as monthly, and tried lots of dietary tweaks with little change. There have been times when I have trained very intensely and other times not at all, this doesn't seem to make much difference. If my weight is 83kg or 88kg it doesn't make much difference, though it would be interesting to see what happened if I ever hit target weight of 80kg. So for me it's all diet related. I did the new regime for a month before taking the test. It's not a vegan diet, but only includes skimmed milk, egg whites and fish a couple of times a week. My personal theory is that it's the 200g of beans that makes the most difference. It's also worth pointing out that you have to make up the fat reduction with olive oil and 40g nuts, more porridge ingredients. I'd be interested to know what happens if you try the psyllium or anything else, could you post the outcome? Thanks Michael

CocoChannel
CocoChannel
in reply to mgdoble

Thanks Michael, you’ve done brilliantly. I’ve had four cholesterol tests over the last couple of years. The HDL wavers between 5 and 5.7 whilst LDL sticks around 3.4.

What brought this all home was a 64-slice CT scan of my heart I had done privately abroad. The result was fairly OK for my age (50) with a zero calcium score. One of my three arteries (LAD) had some soft plaque deposits making that artery around 10% narrower. The consultant there and a second consultant in the UK said I shouldn’t be concerned but that I should try and get that LDL down.

I looked at Benecol products, but it’s obvious you have to eat/drink a huge quantity to see any benefit. However, I’m looking at plant sterols supplements. I shoved three tablespoons of psyllium in my breakfast porridge. I’ll update after my next test in August.

mgdoble
mgdoble
in reply to CocoChannel

Thanks. Doesn't sound terrible but definitely wouldn't want that to get worse. Don't be tempted by plant sterols, they do displace cholesterol but are in your bloodstream instead, and they cause heart disease. sciencedaily.com/releases/2...

Studies generally use a maximum of 15g of pysillium. That's a heaped tablespoon. I whack it down in one go in a glass of water after the evening meal. Let us know if anything works. Cheers

CocoChannel
CocoChannel
in reply to mgdoble

I just got some plant sterols capsules in the post 😀 Yes, it makes sense to stick to the psyllium, no cows milk, no/less meat, no/less bread, etc, and see my results in six months time. If that doesn’t work, I’ll revisit the plant sterols option, but as you say there are studies showing this isn’t without risk

My “plaque” diagnosis isn’t so bad at all for my age (50), but I have to consider my dad’s heart was over 90% clogged up by the time he was diagnosed is his mid-80s. The NHS might not see this as a concern as regards family history due to his age at diagnosis, but for me I’m right to keep an eye on my heart.

I was previously very overweight, sedentary and drank to dangerously high levels. That lifestyle will have deposited a few layers of plaque too! I’ll go for another heart scan in around five years time, and that will be interesting.

sandybrown
sandybrown
in reply to mgdoble

Any side effect on psyllium ?

mgdoble
mgdoble
in reply to sandybrown

Of course psyllium is also used as a laxative but it hasn't had that effect. Though there may be an increase in ahem...volume. But I don't consider that to be a bad thing.

Not so far, but I’ve only taken it for two days.

I read that taking a load might lead of a blockage somewhere, but that sounds extreme. Irritable bowel syndrome sufferers or people with any similar problems should take care I’d imagine. Usual common sense stuff about taking it slow to start with and it’s no substitute for cholesterol-lowering drugs if prescribed.

The studies show that 20g of psyllium reduced LDL, so I’ll aim for that amount, about 4 teaspoons a day.

What’s the point of any of this if you don’t know the type of LDL? Why not have the PLAC test? It picks up what calcium score misses?

sandybrown
sandybrown
in reply to Paul12

This test may not be freely available in every country in their health protocol!, may be private test?

Who do you take the private bold test results?

Paul12
Paul12
in reply to sandybrown

What does your final sentence mean?

CocoChannel
CocoChannel
in reply to Paul12

What’s the point of anything? It’s a thread about psyllium husks. What do you do with the PLAC test results if the values are high anyway? Presumably diet changes will help.

UK, NHS protocol only allows some basic test for blood glucose and blood cholesterol even though there are so many other tests for blood glucose and blood cholesterol. When I asked for CRP and fasting insulin test ,I am informed NHS do not do these tests.

High cholesterol may not be the cause of heart problems!

Some information on PLAC test:

tdlpathology.com/media/4932...

"No connection between LDL cholesterol levels and heart disease, according to researchers"

medicalxpress.com/news/2018...

The new way of thinking is "‘Remnant’ Cholesterol Linked With CVD Risk, Even When LDL Levels Are Low"

Reading about remnant cholesterol can help. I am sure NHS, GP many not know about this as this is not in NHS protocol.

Regular exercise and healthy eating can help towards a healthy life.

Enjoy stress free one life.

CocoChannel I've used a teaspoon of plain Psyllium husk every afternoon because of diverticular disease for years. I've also eaten porridge or oats blended with banana and blueberries every morning for at least 30 years. I also cut out fats, even butter or marge on toast while waiting 18months for a gall bladder op. Still my cholesterol was 5.3 and LDL was 3.8. I was also taking fish oil and eating fish baked in the oven. It seems your body can produce cholesterol regardless of diet. A couple of tablespoons of Psyllium husk is a lot. It should be taken in water and fluids after it so it doesn't swell inside you. It forms a jelly. If only our bodies responded to years of sensible diet but luck of the genetic draw counts for a lot.

CocoChannel
CocoChannel
in reply to Peileen

Sorry to hear your cholesterol stayed higher than normal. Did you take other steps or medication?

The studies I read said 20g a day could lower LDL. I guess that a lower amount, whilst being beneficial for general health, may not help lower LDL. I agree a couple of tablespoons is a lot. It doesn’t even mix that well with microwaved porridge as it soaks up the liquid like a sponge. I can certainly see it being dangerous if taken excessively.

Yes, our bodies produce cholesterol, but we can try and change diet and lifestyles first, and if that doesn’t work then medication may have to be the way. I’d still stick to a healthy diet, though, for the many other benefits.

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