Sunday, November 8, 2009

250. Ouch.

High cholesterol runs in my family. So, despite the fact that I eat virtually zero saturated fat and regularly integrate "good" fats - like nuts, olive oil and avocados - into my diet, my cholesterol keeps climbing.

Last month, my doctor called me with the startling news of the huge increase in my overall cholesterol over the last year. 50 points. I went from 199 to 250 in just under 12 months. Whoa. She then ordered a breakdown and I fasted and did the necessary blood work only to find that I'm no better off with the "good" and the "bad" levels. She then suggested that I contact an internist and get myself on a statin. Soon.

Given the fact that I'm 38 years old and in very, very good health, I was reluctant to go this route. Do a google search on statins and you'll find many reasons to NOT take them. I began to research natural remedies to reduce cholesterol and came up with a list of foods to eat regularly. It looked my weekly grocery list: Oatmeal, nuts, beans, fruits, vegetables. Are you kidding me?

Next, I researched supplements and found some interesting ideas. Co-enzyme Q-10 is supposed to be "the bomb" in terms of lowering cholesterol and it has some nice added benefits such as: increased energy, brain function, and alertness. I'll take all of the above. Problem is Co Q-10 is one of those supplements that requires a huge financial commitment. The generic brands aren't readily absorbed into the body and seem to have no impact on cholesterol, whatsoever.

So I went to see my friends at Elliott's (how much do I love that store?) and posed the question to them. I was immediately steered toward the premium bottle of Co Q-10 that didn't cost quite as much as my mortgage payment, but the amount wasn't far off. At least they were have a sale - 10% off on supplements. I bought a 2 month supply with the idea of re-resting my cholesterol at the end of the year to see what impact - if any- it might have.

My dad also told me about a Costco product called "Cholest-off." He's been taking it for six months now and he's shaved nearly 50 points off his cholesterol. I'm planning on adding that to the regime, as well.

Health is a funny thing. You can exercise like a demon and eat straight from the earth and still wind up on the every-five-year-colonoscopy-AND-mammogram-plan with high cholesterol, to boot.

Times like these, I'm glad I pay the big bucks for my health insurance plan. But I'm still shaking my head in amazement over the 50 point increase from last year. Must have been that one omelet I had.

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