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See prior posts:
- Can an Extreme Endurance Athlete Have an Early Heart Attack? CT Coronary Calcium Scan, HDL Cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol, Statins, etc (UPDATE with a cardiologist viewpoint)
- Relationship Between Lifelong Exercise Volume and Coronary Atherosclerosis in Athletes
- The Dynamic Influence of a High Fat Diet on Cholesterol Variability.
Everyone loves a pill: doctors love prescribing statins (“nobody can blame me!”) and patients love taking them (“awesome, I am absolved of taking responsibility”). More or less, most of the time, and not that I blame doctors much given the harried dysfunctional state of medicine today in terms of total health management. Everyone is happy, ain’t that great?
Statins be damned until I prove for myself that diet won’t do as well or better and with far more attendant benefits that come from diet.
The single-bullet statin epidemic of pill taking stems from an epidimiological “forest without trees” approach to medicine. Generic statistical risk management without a full risk assessement is intellectually bankrupt for an individual, what with all its attendant risks of damage to body and brain for some percentage of those taking.
Just the muscle pain or the fact that the large majority of pro athletes cannot tolerate a statin ought to give pause to any active person—it’s a huge guinea pig experiment, and where is the risk analysis for those harmed in mostly small but sometimes large ways (e.g., diabetes, nerve damage, liver damage)? What about productivity losses from cognitive impairment? Money to fund such research is not exactly readily available. Wherever money is a factor, fraud and cognitive dissonance and cognitive bias are unavoidable and inherent. And if you’re in the unlucky few percent, it’s all “on you” for the downsides—no skin in the game for doctors.
Diet and cholesterol
When I collect more dietary data, I may find a way to aggregate it for an average daily look at what I’ve ingested. I predict here that I will be able to drop my 250 cholesterol (HDL of 111) to close to 190 by diet an exercise alone within 4 months.
With the exception of my whole fat yogurt binge of the past 5 months (for good reasons, mainly massive caloric burn in the cold while traveling), I already follow a diet in line with recommendations:
I don’t agree with “margarines” (very bad idea IMO), or soy (potential hormonal issues from phytoestrogens), but these recommendations seems on target otherwise. Emphasis added.
The cholesterol-lowering supple- ments include margarines, dairy products and other foods enriched with gram doses of phytosterols or stanols; soluble fiber products, such as psyllium, pectin and guar gum; soy protein and red yeast rice. Virgin olive oil, the culi- nary fat preferentially used in the Mediterranean diet, is a pure ‘juice’ of olives containing both the fat (mainly oleic acid) and the minor bioactive components of olives, such as phytosterols, tocopherols and phenolic compounds, and has recently emerged as another cardioprotective food, with both cholesterol-lowering and HDL-raising properties.
A bold approach to dietary cholesterol-lowering is to use a combination of these foods. The portfolio diet described by Jenkins and colleagues comprised four key components:
- Foods rich in soluble fiber
- Soy protein
- Plant sterols
Their combined effect resulted in a 29% LDL-cholesterol reduction, comparable with that observed with a small dose of a statin.
Yesterday’s diet and exercise as one example.