Raena Morgan: Dr. Jones, do you have any tips for lowering cholesterol naturally, without medication or any kind of supplements?
Dr. Peter Jones: I think a very valuable approach is to consider what’s being termed, “the portfolio diet approach to lowering LDL cholesterol.” This was originally conceived of by Dr. David Jenkins at the University of Toronto and it’s a combination approach. It actually involves four main factors. One is using soy protein, which we discussed earlier. It has a cholesterol-lowering action, maybe through its amino acid content. The second is using a fiber, particularly a soluble type of fiber, which has an independent cholesterol-lowering action. Third is using nuts, which independently of any plant sterol effect appear to lower cholesterol and fourth is using plant sterols. So by combining those four dietary ingredients, Dr. Jenkins has been able to show cholesterol-lowering effects for LDL of over 25%. So if you combine that together with a healthy lifestyle, moderating your energy intake, increasing your activity, minimizing your intake of saturated fat, sources of cholesterol, I think you can address your own cholesterol problem quite efficiently.
RM: That’s good news. I mean you had mentioned earlier about exercise. It’s an elixir for everything.
PJ: Exercise is important in increasing HDL cholesterol. Very moderate amounts of alcohol also increase HDL.
RM: Moderate amounts.
PJ: Moderate amounts. It’s very important to mention that. And the other brave new world is that we believe that soon we’ll be able to develop genetic tests that will predict whether individuals will need a cholesterol-lowering drug or whether they can obtain the optimal advantage of using something like a plant sterol.
Because there’s such a huge variety of responses to plant sterols, some people benefit, some people benefit much better and there are a few people who actually don’t benefit, as is the case with drugs. We’d like to be able to develop a prescriptive test using a finger prick of blood that would be able to identify those who are predicted to have the optimal or the highest level of responsiveness to plant sterols. So we would be able to tell who can benefit from plant sterols, who can benefit from fish oil, from fibers, and then those also who need a drug, who really will have to go on a pharmaceutical intervention.
RM: That’s quite a profile.
PJ: Well it is and it will take probably 10 or 20 years to get there but I think that’s what the future holds.
RM: In the meantime we can do things to naturally lower our cholesterol.
PJ: Absolutely. And I think we’ve discussed those different approaches. Plant sterols seem to be one of the champions and combined with other dietary agents such as fibers, soy, nuts, together with healthy lifestyles can result in one’s ability to fairly dramatically modify your own cholesterol levels without needing pharmaceutical Intervention.
RM: Thank you Dr. Jones.
Dr. Peter Jones discusses a number of ways to help lower cholesterol levels naturally. Find out what kind of dietary changes you can make to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and hopefully reduce the need for pharmaceutical intervention.
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