Lowering LDL through diet alone?

Has anyone been successful in lowering their LDL to within normal range, without medication, but doing this strictly through nutrition? Due to my family history, all my doctors are insisting that I take a statin as a preventative and they say that LDL can NOT be lowered to within normal range through diet alone. I get very bad muscle pain from all the statins I’ve tried. And I wholeheartedly believe that one of the statins caused my acute pancreatitis years ago. I’m determined to do this with a nutrition plan. But I wonder, am I spinning my wheels? As determined as I may be, can I defy my genetics? My dr gave me one year to see what happens doing it my way. I’d love to hear from you all, especially those with a family history of heart disease.

To give you an idea of how determined I am.... I received my lab results on 1/9/19 & started eating healthy a few days later. I am by no means starving myself. I’m just eating super healthy & I love it. But now I’m reaching out to you guys for more help.

Weight loss = 31 lbs in 13 weeks
Lab results:
12/27/18 4/11/19
Triglycerides 445 157
Tot Cholesterol 314 235
LDL Trigs 2 high to mzr 167
LDL (Direct) 225 169
HDL 42 37

A1C 9.6 6.5
I had to take insulin for the 1st time in my life. It terrified me. Fortunately, I only had to do it for 9 days & then I was able to control my blood glucose with diet & oral meds

AST 81 18
ALT 65 18

Thanks for reading. Looking forward to your replies!
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Replies

  • GoodLardy
    GoodLardy Posts: 163 Member
    From what my physician told my husband, he might lower it with exercise and losing weight/maintaining a healthy weight and if not successful he’ll be on the statin later. Sounds similar to you. It’s not the type of food you eat, just your actual weight. According to my physician.
  • newmein2013
    newmein2013 Posts: 674 Member
    @GoodLardy
    Yes, it does sound similar. My doctors explain it as the genetics are too strong for the nutrition (or even weight loss) to bring it down to within normal range. I guess they feel I’m hitting my head against a brick wall. My cardiologist begged me years ago to at least go on the maintenance dose. I just couldn’t handle the muscle pain. I have a very difficult time understanding how in today’s world of high tech medicine & natural holistic healing, there isn’t a way to do this. Thanks for your response.
  • emmamcgarity
    emmamcgarity Posts: 1,577 Member
    My sisters blood pressure and cholesterol were both high and her doctor wanted to do meds for both. She refused meds and asked about other options. He encouraged her to try DASH for the blood pressure and schedule a return a month later. She did try to include walking at a moderate pace for 30 minutes 3-4 times per week but her main focus was DASH. One month later her blood pressure and cholesterol were both reduced to normal levels and she was able to avoid meds. She hadn’t expected it to have a big impact on cholesterol and was mainly concerned about the blood pressure. She was surprised to see the number go down so quickly.
  • newmein2013
    newmein2013 Posts: 674 Member
    edited April 2019
    @emmamcgarity
    I’m glad that worked for your sister. I have heard DASH is great at lowering BP but like your sister, I hadn’t heard about the cholesterol lowering benefits. I’m really not familiar with the diet though. I’ll have to familiarize myself with it. Does your family have a history of heart disease? I’m fighting genetics. Thanks for your reply.
  • emmamcgarity
    emmamcgarity Posts: 1,577 Member
    My father had cholesterol problems and did have a heart attack later in life. He did ultimately have to take statins and hated the leg cramps. But most of my family history has blood pressure issues. I follow DASH loosely to support my sister. The results she shared with me about cholesterol were I think for total cholesterol. Her initial number was 217 and it dropped to 160. Her blood pressure was in the 150s and dropped to 105 a month after beginning DASH. She was very rigid with it in an effort to avoid meds. Now that several months have passed she is not as rigid but is 80-90% compliant and has still avoided medication.

    The Americans Heart Association gives a pretty good breakdown, but with your blood sugar issues you’d need to make sure you talk to your doctor. Some foods that are DASH friendly (potato and fruit) might not be appropriate for people with blood sugar issues. There is a nutrition podcast n=1 that did a really thorough breakdown as well.

    My father had stroke a couple years ago that he didn’t survive, but at that stage in life he had Parkinson’s and his medical history had become quite complicated.

    Your doctor is right that weight loss can only do so much. My sisters doctor didn’t expect her dramatic results and quizzed her about how closely she followed the diet. After some discussion, he told her that most patients have good intentions but are not able/willing to follow the diet changes. Since you have a cardiologist, he’d be a good person to discuss it with.
  • Maxxitt
    Maxxitt Posts: 1,282 Member
    I had a bit of success reducing LDL and raising HDL with losing weight, increasing fish consumption over meat consumption, consuming a lot of legumes and having oatmeal with added oat bran, and dropping weight. When I feared that my dr nonetheless was going to prescribe statins which have been hard to tolerate because of muscle pain, I ran across this article which gave me some ideas I could talk to my dr about. Fortunately, I don't have a strong family history and my levels dropped enough so that my overall Framingham Risk score was pretty low and I escaped the prescription. Maybe something in here will help you: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3920796/
  • kizanne2
    kizanne2 Posts: 122 Member
    I currently am working on the same thing plus other pieces. With diet alone I've manage to reduce LDL by 35% in a month. I haven't lost any weight. I have been doing diet and trying to exercise more. Due to my feet the increased exercise is very moderate. I'm sure if you are willing to stick to select foods, exercise maybe lose weight that you can have an impact. I'm eating very specific foods, taking vitamins and trying to exercise. I'm sure I can get my numbers even better. Below is my link to my thread.

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10734481/c-reactive-protein-cholesterol-gut-bacteria#latest
  • Keto_Vampire
    Keto_Vampire Posts: 1,679 Member
    Yes, LD-C around 200+ mg/dL, Total Cholesterol ~360mg/dL (HDL ~100 mg/dL, triglycerides pretty low)
    This was from high fat, moderate protein, minimal carbohydrate diet....simply changed to restricted fat intake, higher protein diet, some carbohydrates. LDL-C only around 100 mg/dL and total cholesterol around 200mg/dL with HDL tanking a bit (now only 70-80 mg/dL). Triglycerides/LDL roughly the same
  • nooshi713
    nooshi713 Posts: 4,861 Member
    It depends on the person. Some people are already at a healthy weight and have very high lipids and need medication. If you have some weight to lose, weight loss will help. Eating a plant based diet will help.
  • psuLemon
    psuLemon Posts: 38,086 MFP Moderator
    edited April 2019
    I would also caution if a doctor is putting you are a medicine based solely on LDL. You made significant progress most of your numbers.

    I barely moved mine and laughed at my doctor when they brought up meds. All my other numbers are perfect and i am pretty sure most of the current evidence doesn't show much, if any, reduction in heart related events by taking statins.

    But in general thinks like lower red meat and Sat fats, and increasing fish, whole grains, fruits and veggies will help.
  • pierinifitness
    pierinifitness Posts: 2,231 Member
    edited April 2019
    Just completed a 45 day OMAD experience for Lent 2019 that included abstinence from eating meat, long daily fasting periods and eating eggs with about normal frequency. Had blood done the other day to compare to last blood work done on my birthday about 2 weeks prior to beginning OMAD.

    Cholesterol stats were as follows (before/after)

    LDL - 109/121

    HDL - 38/43

    Triglycerides - 89/70

    Total - 165/178

    I have a good history of recorded cholesterol lab results going back to 2001 and only once was my LDL below 100. I’ve always had low HDL. I remember one time long ago when having a rare physical and doctor’s visit, the doctor said that perhaps I would need cholesterol medicine because of my LDL lab result that may have been 110. That was the last time I saw him. Now, I order lab work online, pay myself because I have a high deductible health insurance plan, and bypass all the mainstream healthcare nonsense.

    Do believe a plant-based diet or eating following Dr. John McDougall’s starxh-based approach would lower cholesterol readings.

    Me, I’m going to continue eating eggs.
  • newmein2013
    newmein2013 Posts: 674 Member
    @emmamcgarity
    Thank you so much for sharing. I’m sorry for your loss. It is balancing act with the blood sugar & all. I’ll listen to the podcast. Thanks again for all your input!

    @Maxxitt
    The article was extremely informative. Thank you. I believe my dr is waiting for those new meds that were mentioned at the end of the article. That’s why he said I have one year. He’s hoping it will be released by then.
  • newmein2013
    newmein2013 Posts: 674 Member
    @Terytha
    Thanks for your reply. Congrats on getting your numbers down! Do you have a family history of heart disease? This is the important factor and main reason all my doctors say this can’t be done through diet alone. The genetic component is the problem.
  • newmein2013
    newmein2013 Posts: 674 Member
    @kizanne2
    Awesome job! Thanks for sharing. I pulled up your link & I’ll be reading it in full later tonight. It seems our food plans are somewhat similar. The dreaded question... is there a family history of heart disease?
  • newmein2013
    newmein2013 Posts: 674 Member
    @Keto_Vampire
    Do you have the family history of heart disease?
  • Keto_Vampire
    Keto_Vampire Posts: 1,679 Member
    edited April 2019
    @Keto_Vampire
    Do you have the family history of heart disease?

    Yes, both parents but I am a firm believer in nature vs. nurturer with environment generally being more important than genetics (does not always hold true though). Parents eat junk/SAD, influences children to adopt similar patterns of eating. My parents have risk for CVDx because they are lazy & follow a Standard American Diet. I can't say I have any genetic polymorphisms that make me susceptible to having high cholesterol

    Kind of wanted to shock my MD TBH...she said I don't look like someone with TC of ~360mg/dL (same weight before & after around 165lbs, 6'0, doing high fat version of keto at the time); ratios of LDL:HDL still good. Just changed my macros around to demonstrate how powerful dietary changes can be on cholesterol & @ her recommendation simply because my LDL-C was too high (no talk whatsoever about meds because my ratio was still very good & her prescribing habits were not the typical guideline based ATP4 treat to X # LDL)

    Diet @ the time having TC~360mg/dL consisted mostly of whole eggs, bacon, fish, coconut oil, & EVOO
  • newmein2013
    newmein2013 Posts: 674 Member
    @psuLemon
    You bring up very valid points. For the 15 years that I was on / off several different statins, my numbers didn’t decrease enough to warrant the severe myopathy. Here’s the medical reasoning behind it though... Nowadays, what concerns doctors more is the quality, (also quantity but def more so quality) of the cholesterol particles. Trying not to get too technical here.... there are 3 types of particles that are measured. The small dense particles, are like BB gun pellets wreaking havoc inside your body, drastically increasing your risk of atherosclerosis & cardiovascular disease. Ideally, you would have the light fluffy particles that just bounce around like beach balls inside of you. I, of course, have the small dense particles (coupled with my strong family history of heart disease), hence, my doctors are not happy at all with my stubbornness in continuing to refuse the meds.
  • newmein2013
    newmein2013 Posts: 674 Member
    @pierinifitness
    It’s funny how there’s still controversy over the eggs. The yolk has so much nutrition. I’m still eating eggs and I don’t think I’d ever stop, unless I had hardcore solid proof that it increases LDL.
  • newmein2013
    newmein2013 Posts: 674 Member
    @Keto_Vampire
    Ok, 1st, pls tell me how I can reply within your response, ty, lol.

    So I’m not sure I understood correctly.... are you saying your parents are high risk for heart disease because of their sedentary lifestyles & poor eating habits or b/c you have a family history of heart disease?