Update: January 29th, 2012
I had a follow-up cholesterol test that showed my total cholesterol at 271, Yikes! So, either the 1st test was abnormally low at 204, or the 2nd could be a high aberration. I have put on 5 pounds since the August test and I have not been as active. Regardless, I can’t say the fish oil worked or not. The doctor office called after the 2nd test to inform me the doctor wanted me to go on liquid cholesterol lowering medicine. (Liquid? Am I an invalid or a dog that needs medicine in a liquid form?)
I was a little bummed that the doctor took the easy course of action. I suppose most of her patients just roll over and take what ever is prescribed. We just had a discussion of the movie Forks Over Knives in her office. She should have asked me if I was doing all that I could to reduce my cholesterol with proper exercise and food. I am not doing all I can. I need to lose the extra weight, cut out the sugar, reduce the carbohydrates and eliminate what little meat and dairy I do eat. I will probably keep taking the fish oil while I implement a better diet and exercise regimen. Either way, don’t expect me to take either pill or liquid statin meds.
Update: November 20th, 2011
One of the natural items I was to take to reduce my cholesterol was Red Yeast Rice Extract Tablets. I started taking 1200 mg from early August 2011. The bottle mentioned that the Red Yeast Rice supplement was very similar to statins in properties and side effects: muscle cramps and sore joints.
While my gut was a little sensitive after taking the new supplements, I did not know if it was the Red Yeast, Fish Oil, combination of both or just new stuff in the system. I struck by a nasty right calf cramp that I had never experienced before in mid-September. As a man, I tried to tough it out and ran enough to tear the muscle. The result was an incredibly sore and swollen calf. I let that heal, but I was prevented from running. With in 1/4 of a mile, my calf would knot up. I stopped taking the Red Yeast Rice and my leg got better.
Not sure if the Red Yeast Rice was the culprit of the cramp, I re-started taking the supplement in mid-October, but at a lower rate of 600 mg per day. Within in a week my muscle cramp was back along with other soreness in my joints and other muscles. In the first week of November I quit taking the Red Yeast Rice supplement all together. But the 3rd week of November I feel strong again. When I run I want to attack the hills and keep going. While I do not have any scientific evidence, the Red Yeast Rice supplement did not work with my body.
The only side effect thus far with the Fish Oil is that it is like eating additional fiber. You get all the bowel movement efficiency with out the gas and bloating of legumes and vegetables.
Original Post: August 9, 2011
At my last doctor’s appointment, for a totally unrelated condition, my physician noticed that my cholesterol is persistently high. I have known that my cholesterol hovers around 200 – 240 points for the last 15 years. In an effort to reduce the evil number, I have increased my exercise, virtually given up red meat, increase fruits and veggies and have switched to soy butter and soy milk. All of my efforts have been rewarded with continuously high numbers. It really takes a toll on my self-esteem; another failed test.
However, without prompting, the doctor I was seeing asked if I would be willing to try some supplements to help reduce the cholesterol number. “What?”, I thought, “A doc that was not pushing an overpriced prescription pharmaceutical on an old white guy with health insurance?. This is new.”
She suggested I try a combo of fish oil and red yeast rice tablets. How did she know that I have a total aversion to feeding the big pharma companies any of my money? From my appearance, dress shirt, tie and slacks, she could not have confused me for an alternative living all organic homeopathic proponent. I concluded that she must be sincere in her belief that with proper diet, exercise and supplements, nagging conditions like high cholesterol can be tackled. Her caveat was that if the fishy pills yeasty tablets did not have the desired effect; I should seriously consider another drug therapy.
“Okay”, I mused, “I’ll give it a try.” So I will ingest the supplements for 6 months, get another blood test and see if the goodness of nature can reduce the shadowy evil known as high cholesterol. If it works, I’ll have a glowing testimonial for common sense solutions and physicians. If nothing happens, I will be taking a combo of Lipitor for high cholesterol and Prozac for my depression. I will keep you posted.