More than a third of adults in America have high cholesterol, with many taking cholesterol medication, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, some are frustrated and looking for the best way to get rid of cholesterol medication safely. Whether it’s the unwanted side effects of cholesterol medications, or a passion to start living a healthier lifestyle, research has shown, you can lower high cholesterol levels, achieve a healthy weight, and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease with lifestyle changes. That’s right – it’s possible to live healthy without medication. Are you ready to get healthy, have more energy, and get rid of cholesterol medication safely? You can do this! Here’s how.
Is it Safe to Stop Taking Cholesterol Medication?
Always work under the guidance of a physician when making changes to your medications. Do not stop any medication without proper medical advice from your physician. Before we talk about how to stop taking cholesterol medication safely, it’s important to explain what it does. Cholesterol medication works to reduce the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (sometimes called bad cholesterol) in your blood. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that can build up in the walls of arteries. This build-up can restrict blood flow, cause inflammation, and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. A group of commonly prescribed cholesterol medications is statins. Statins reduce blood cholesterol and prevent atherosclerosis or heart disease. How do statins work? Statins work by reducing the liver’s production of cholesterol, by blocking the enzyme, called HMG CoA reductase, that makes cholesterol. It’s important to note, that statins are not enough to prevent heart disease – you’re still at risk.
Why Taking a Statin Could Put You at Risk
If you are taking cholesterol-lowering medication with the assumption that it is all you need to do to maintain a healthy heart, you are putting yourself at risk. Lowering high cholesterol may help improve that aspect of cardiovascular health, but without adopting a healthy lifestyle you are still at risk of developing heart disease. “A healthy lifestyle should be the base on which further therapies are built. Yes, statins can lower blood cholesterol. But if you rely solely on statins for good overall health, chances are you will not get good overall health,” states Dr. Ronald Scheib, MD, FACC, FACP, former Chief of Section of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Miami Heart Institute. “Statins will not lower your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, many cancers, arthritis, and gall bladder disease.”
How to Get Rid of Cholesterol Medication Safely
Adopting a lifestyle that includes regular exercise, physical activity, and healthy foods helps manage cholesterol levels and body weight. In fact, when done with the guidance of a physician, making healthy lifestyle changes could help you get rid of cholesterol medication safely. Anyone considering a change in their medication should discuss it with their doctor.
You know that adopting a healthy lifestyle is vital to your health – it is not more than a Band-Aid solution. “If you’ve been prescribed pills, take them. But, you are still at risk of a major health event later in life… a potentially disabling health issue,” notes Dr. Danine Fruge, Medical Director at the Pritikin Longevity Center, in Miami, Florida. Some physicians are unable to offer you the in-depth guidance you need to make such improvements in your nutrition, exercise, and mental wellness. Leading health experts at the Pritikin Center are ready to help you adopt lifestyle changes that lower cholesterol naturally. The Pritikin team has worked with thousands of guests to help them get rid of cholesterol medication safely. In more than 100 studies published in prestigious medical journals, the Pritikin Program has been found to promote weight loss and lower bad forms of cholesterol like LDL and non-HDL cholesterol. Here’s an example: guests who stayed at Pritikin for 3 weeks were found by researchers to experience, on average, a 23% drop in total cholesterol, and a 23% drop in LDL cholesterol.
Cholesterol Medication Side Effects
Most cholesterol medications lower cholesterol with few side effects, according to the American College of Cardiology. However, some people don’t do well with a statin drug, a common family of medications used to lower cholesterol. For some, side effects of statins, such as muscle problems, or an increased risk of diabetes have them seeking ways to get rid of their cholesterol medication safely. A scientific statement from the American Heart Association on statin safety notes the risk of statin-induced diabetes is low, about 0.2%. Other less common side effects of statins include: muscle pain, increased blood sugar levels, constipation, nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, cramps, and elevation of liver enzymes. Other types of cholesterol-lowering medications have side effects including flushing, dizziness, or itchiness. Talk to your qualified health care provider about any concerns you may have about a possible side effect of your medications.
What to Eat to Avoid Needing Cholesterol Medication
Eating healthy foods should be part of your lifestyle if your doctor has told you, you have high cholesterol. Many healthy foods are known to help lower cholesterol. But, you have more to gain from eating healthy foods than lowering cholesterol. When a person reduces their intake of processed and convenience foods and opts instead to fill their plates with whole foods, such as vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains, energy levels increase, body composition changes, digestive health improves, brain fog lifts, and blood fats and sugars improve. But, where do you start? What diet is best for lowering cholesterol? You can start right now! Next time you are hungry reach for a high fiber whole food (apple, celery, lettuce, oats, pear). Eating high-fiber foods is a proven way to achieve cholesterol reductions – scientists note in the journal, Nutrients. In particular soluble fiber has been shown to lower blood cholesterol. Soluble fiber can be found in oats, beans, fruits, and vegetables. Studies show that most Americans do not consume the recommended intake of fiber (38 grams per day for men, and 25 grams per day for women). It’s important to note that these recommendations are for healthy adults, and those with chronic disease may need different amounts.
4 Foods That Help Lower High Cholesterol
Oats are a delicious way to get more soluble fiber into your day – and, a quick breakfast for those busy mornings. Daily consumption of 3g of soluble fiber (that’s about 3 bowls of oats or 3 apples) a day lowered bad LDL cholesterol (about 12%) and total cholesterol (about 8%), according to a 2017 randomized controlled human study.
Lettuce and leafy greens are commonly recommended to those looking to choose more healthy foods in their meals. Eating lettuce can also help you lower your cholesterol levels, according to researchers. Lettuce consumption increases how much cholesterol is excreted from the body, and its antioxidant content offers health benefits too.
Fish consumption has also been linked with lower levels of bad cholesterol. In a 2020 research journal, scientists noted a marked improvement in bad cholesterol levels in adult men over the age of 50, who consumed fish 6 to 7 days per week.
Since preschool, we’ve heard that eating vegetables is good for your health. Vegetables are nutrient-dense foods, offering the body fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins that are needed to maintain health, but also, improve cardiovascular health. But, when you think of vegetables you may not think about tomatoes. Women who consumed more than 10 servings/week of tomato-based food products compared to those who ate only 1.5 servings per week had lower cholesterol. Sapogenol, a nutrient in tomatoes, has been shown in research studies to lower cholesterol and offer cardioprotective effects by preventing an enzyme involved in cholesterol metabolism.
Can Exercise Help Lower High Cholesterol
It’s amazing what a little regular exercise can do for your heart. Regular exercise reduces risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, including high bad cholesterol. And, this healthy regular exercise doesn’t have to be intense, painful, or time-consuming. Low to moderate-intensity exercise has been shown in 9 randomized control studies to lower LDL cholesterol in healthy adults. The effect on cholesterol was low, yet the potential benefits to heart health are immense, noted the researchers. In addition, they noted that high-intensity exercising was not sustainable. One would be better off to do daily low- and moderate-intensity exercise which leaves you feeling energized, and is less likely to lead to injury. Regular exercising is linked to improved blood pressure, general fitness, and body composition. You’re motivated to make changes and live healthier – that’s great! Here’s a complete exercise plan for beginners to get you started from the exercise experts at Pritikin.
How Experts Say You Can Get Rid of Cholesterol Medication and Feel Great
Experts agree a healthy eating plan can lower LDL cholesterol, with data suggesting effects of up to 37%. Yet, the most fascinating conclusion by scientists is how the impact on your cardiovascular risk of a healthy lifestyle (eating whole foods, and exercising) is significantly greater than just a lowering in LDL cholesterol. Are you ready to feel great? It’s time to make a change – a healthy change.
The Pritikin Eating Plan is designed to help you learn which foods can help you reach your health goals, and how to prepare them. Unlike common diet plans, the Pritikin Eating Plan takes on all sorts of shapes and sizes depending on your needs. According to Registered Dietitians at the Pritikin Center, “there are lots of ways to make Pritikin work – it’s not just my way or the highway… we know you’re an individual.” There are two full-time nutritionists on staff at the Pritikin Center that help you master the art of eating healthy during your stay. You’ll leave feeling empowered with the know-how to transform your lifestyle into one filled with delicious, filling, healthy foods. After you return home, you can stay in touch with Pritikin Nutritionists, using the Stay on Track with Pritikin at Home program.
You will not only change the way you eat while at the Pritikin Center but change the way you look at food forever. Once you go down the road of healthy food it takes discipline, not willpower, to stay there. After you have eaten healthy foods for a while, your cravings for bad foods disappear.
Phenomenal health results are possible within weeks – be our guest at the luxurious Pritikin Longevity Center, in Miami, Florida, and immerse yourself among compassionate wellness experts, including board-certified physicians, registered dieticians, award-winning chefs, and certified fitness experts. Come discover how good healthy feels and how to get rid of cholesterol medication safely.
- Dietary fiber, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease. Nutrients 2019 May 23; 11(5):1155.
- The Pritikin Diet. JAMA 2020 March 17;323(11):1104.
- Association of daily fish intake with serum non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and healthy lifestyle behaviours in apparently healthy males over the age of 50 years in Japanese: Implication for the anti-atherosclerotic effect of fish consumption. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2020 Feb 10;30(2):190-200.
- Effects of 3 g of soluble fiber from oats on lipid levels of Asian Indians – a randomized controlled, parallel arm study. Lipids in Health and Disease 2017 Apr;16(71).
- Health effect of vegetable-based diet: lettuce consumption improves cholesterol metabolism and antioxidant status in the rat. Clin Nutr 2004 Aug;23(4):605-14.
- Tomatidine, a tomato sapogenol, ameliorates hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis in apoE-deficient mice by inhibiting acyl-CoA:cholesterol acyl-transferase (ACAT). J Agric Food Chem 2012 Mar 14;60(10):2472-9.
- Effects of Vegetables on Cardiovascular Diseases and Related Mechanisms. Nutrients 2017 Aug; 9(8):857.
- Effectiveness of altering serum cholesterol levels without drugs. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Centr) 2000 Oct; 13(4):351-355.
- Effectiveness of low to moderate physical exercise on the level of low-density lipoproteins: a systemic review. BioMed Research International 2018.