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Can I lower cholesterol without drugs?

An exciting study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (July 23, 2003) shows that a high-plant diet lowers blood levels of the bad LDL cholesterol as much as statin drugs do. Forty-six men and women with high blood cholesterol levels were in the study. Sixteen ate a special vegetarian diet, 16 consumed a standard low-fat diet, and 14 ate the low-fat diet and took 20 milligrams of Mevacor every day for a month. The vegetarian group showed an average drop of 28.6 percent in their LDL cholesterol. Adding the statin drug Mevacor to the high-plant diet did not lower cholesterol any more than the nearly 30 percent reduction achieved with the diet alone. The low fat diet lowered cholesterol by only eight percent. The high-plant diet included eggplant, okra, soy protein, almonds, barley, psyllium, and margarine containing plant sterols. All of these foods have individually been shown to have potentially beneficial effects on cholesterol.

Two important indicators of heart attack risk are blood levels of the bad LDL cholesterol and C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP is a blood marker of inflammation that appears to be even better as a measure of risk for a heart attack than blood cholesterol level. The high-vegetable diet lowered both of these markers as effectively as the popular statin drug, and far more than a standard low-fat diet.

May 1, 2006

May 19th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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