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High Cholesterol: Don't Let It Rain On Your Parade!

Welcome back! If you read the previous article, The Cholesterol Debate: Dispelling Myths, you may be wondering how to address your high cholesterol if the conventional model doesn’t work. In this chat, we're gonna take a fun and informative journey to help you determine the underlying cause of your high cholesterol and address it with realistic dietary, lifestyle and supplement considerations. So buckle up, because I'm about to drop some knowledge bombs!

What are the underlying culprits that cause high cholesterol?

Picture this: high cholesterol isn't the big bad wolf we've been led to believe. From a functional medicine standpoint, high cholesterol is viewed as a symptom or marker of underlying imbalances in the body rather than a standalone issue. Functional medicine seeks to identify and address the root causes of health conditions, including high cholesterol. So let's dig a little deeper and unmask those sneaky culprits contributing to high cholesterol:

  1. Diet and Nutrition: Ah, the classic troublemaker. Stuffing ourselves with saturated and trans fats, refined sugars, and processed foods is a recipe for disaster. Time to ditch those greasy culprits and embrace a diet filled with whole, nutrient-dense foods.

  2. Metabolic Dysfunction: Blood sugar on a rollercoaster ride? Insulin resistance making a scene? These metabolic dysfunctions are often tied to high cholesterol. So, let's stabilize that sugar train and get things back on track!

  3. Inflammation Invasion: Chronic inflammation is like adding fuel to the fire. It can lead to the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, making it more atherogenic. Identifying and addressing sources of inflammation, such as poor diet, stress, and environmental factors is an essential step to addressing cholesterol concerns.

  4. Gut Health: It's time to get real about our gut buddies. Imbalances in our gut bacteria and pesky gut infections can mess with our cholesterol levels. Let's give our guts some love and restore the balance.

  5. Genetic Factors: Some of us hit the genetic jackpot as "hyper-responders" to cholesterol in our diets. It's like our bodies are extra sensitive to that stuff. So, for all you lucky winners out there, be mindful of your cholesterol intake and keep it in check.

  6. Lifestyle Shenanigans: Sitting on the couch all day, stressing like there's no tomorrow, and not giving our bodies the TLC they deserve? Well, no wonder our cholesterol is acting up! Time to get moving, manage stress, and show ourselves some love.

  7. Thyroid Troubles: Our thyroid can be a real troublemaker too. Hypothyroidism can mess with our lipid metabolism and contribute to high cholesterol levels. Let's give our thyroid a check-up if we suspect it's pulling some shenanigans.

  8. Environmental Villains: Watch out for those sneaky environmental toxins! Pollutants, heavy metals, and nasty chemicals can wreak havoc on our cholesterol levels. Let's keep an eye out and minimize our exposure.

The Functional Medicine Approach:

Now that we know what's causing the ruckus, it's time to bring in the specialized tests, including assessments for lipoprotein(a), A1c, and inflammatory markers to provide a comprehensive understanding of your true risk factors. Once we have these test results, we’ll focus on identifying and addressing the underlying cause(s).

  1. Banish Inflammatory Foods: Say goodbye to processed junk, sugary beverages, and those pesky seed oils. Fill your plate with colorful veggies, high-fiber fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and quality animal proteins. It's time to eat like the superhero you are!

  2. Fiber to the Rescue: Boost your soluble fiber intake! Load up on berries, figs, apples, avocados, flaxseeds, and all those delicious fiber-packed goodies. Soluble fiber is like a superhero cape for your heart!

  3. Liver Detoxification Support: Let's give our liver some love. Drink plenty of water, get moving, and chow down on fiber-rich foods. Time for those cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts to shine!

  4. Taming the Blood Sugar Beast: Keep that blood sugar beast under control by adding protein, healthy fats, and fiber to every meal. Kick those added sugars and processed foods to the curb. Take a stroll after meals, build some muscle, and catch those Zzz's for a stable blood sugar ride.

  5. Activate Your Superpowers: It's time to get moving! Find an exercise you enjoy, whether it's a dance party in your living room or a walk in the park. Weight bearing exercises are great for increasing muscle mass that supports blood sugar stability as well. Aim for 20-30 minutes a day of exercise that you actually enjoy!

  6. Stress-Busting Party: Stress, meet your kryptonite! Journaling, meditating, doing yoga, or even indulging in a massage can help you conquer stress and reduce inflammation. Find what makes you feel zen and make it a part of your daily routine.

  7. Beauty Sleep Saves the Day: Sleep is a major piece of the heart health puzzle, as it directly impacts metabolic function and overall cardiovascular health. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep a night, ideally going to bed and waking up at a similar time every day. Keep your room cool and dark, stop caffeine after 12pm, and avoid electronics the hour before you go to bed to really optimize the quality of your sleep. Your heart and cholesterol will thank you!

By implementing these strategies, you can reduce your risk of cardiovascular issues and promote overall health and vitality.

Supplement Considerations:

Sometimes superheroes need a little backup, right? Here are some supplements that might lend a hand:

  • A mighty multi-vitamin and mineral- Vitamin C or E to give your immune system a boost

  • Fish oil for those omega-3 fatty acids that fight inflammation

  • Soluble fiber supplements for an extra fiber punch

  • Aged garlic, because even superheroes need fresh breath!

  • Red yeast rice, a natural way to support healthy cholesterol levels

  • Resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant found in grapes and berries

  • Coenzyme Q10, an energy-boosting sidekick

Additionally, some other supplements that can be considered in the context of high cholesterol include milk thistle, magnesium, plant sterols, curcumin, berberine, and more. These supplements have shown potential in supporting various aspects of cardiovascular health and inflammation.

Now, keep in mind that it's important to work with a qualified functional medicine practitioner to determine the appropriate dosages and combinations as it is unique for each individual. Working with me means you’ll receive individualized supplemental recommendations and access to my online supplement store. I always recommend the highest quality, third-party tested supplements so you get the safest, most effective options on the market.

Final Thoughts:

Alright, let's wrap this up with a big, cholesterol-friendly bow! It's true that the information surrounding cholesterol can be as clear as mud, but fear not, just keep the main thing the main thing.

First things first, cholesterol isn't the big bad wolf of nutrition, especially when it comes from food. Our bodies actually need cholesterol, and most of it is produced by our trusty liver. The trouble starts when certain cholesterol particles go rogue and get oxidized, causing mischief.

Armed with the power of a whole foods diet, blood sugar management, inflammation reduction, liver detoxification support, regular exercise, stress taming, and quality sleep, you'll be well on your way to cholesterol victory. Embrace those delicious whole foods, bid farewell to those ultra-processed villains, and keep those egg yolks (from happy, pasture-raised chickens) in your culinary adventures!

And hey, if you're feeling overwhelmed or want some extra guidance on your cholesterol crusade, consider teaming up with me! We'll work together to create a personalized plan that suits your preferences and goals. Just click right here to get on my schedule and let the support begin!

Remember, my friend, you've got this! By taking charge of your lifestyle and making heart-healthy choices, you'll be reducing the risk of disease and supporting your overall well-being. With all my heart, Stacey

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