Has your doctor told you your cholesterol is too high? Are you now trying to decide what the best diet is to reduce your cholesterol levels? Have you been put onto a statin drug? Is high cholesterol and diet connected?
This post will give you a healthy alternative to reducing and stabilizing your cholesterol.
When it all started
High cholesterol and diet has been connected now for decades. It was in the 1950s that cholesterol started to be associated with heart disease. A solution needed to be found for the high incidence of heart disease which was rising at an alarming rate. There seemed to be strong evidence that cholesterol could be the culprit along with a high fat diet which caused the atherosclerosis and increased the risk of heart conditions. This was the start of the recommended low fat and low cholesterol diet which is still advocated today in our modern world.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance known as a lipid. It is taken in by the body from the food we consume and is synthesized by our cells. It is a necessary component of all tissue and cell membranes and is vital for such hormones as testosterone, estrogen and progesterone, as well as the stress hormones. It is converted to vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight.
Cholesterols have different densities
It was total blood cholesterol that was considered as an indicator to monitor health but now we know that there are different types of lipids in our system. Research discovered that cholesterol was attached to other components of fat and protein which formed cholesterol lipoprotein complexes. These are now classified according to their density of high, low and very low density.
Good and bad cholesterol
High levels in the blood of LDL (low density lipoproteins) and VLDL (very low density lipoproteins) are associated with hardening of the arteries. These are often called ‘bad cholesterol’. HDL (high density lipoproteins) are called the ‘good cholesterols’ which are beneficial and actually transports fat out of the arteries, preventing the formation of plaques.
Blood levels of HDL that are too low are considered a marker for heart disease. TG (triglycerides) are also another type of fat which increases the risk of heart disease so they are put together with LDL and VLDL. We hear about ‘high cholesterol’ a lot but as you can see, there are different types and this simplification is a little misleading.
The high fat diet
There is evidence that a high fat diet in both animals and people have a negative effect on the arteries and the heart. But did you know that there is strong evidence that those with a magnesium deficiency that also consume a high fat diet will have a higher likelihood of arterial damage. This is because magnesium alleviates injury caused by the harm from excess fat. Magnesium is actually in control of how and when cholesterol is produced.
Way back in the mid 20th century, it was reported that magnesium supplements could reduce high cholesterol levels in laboratory animals. A few years on it was suggested that a combination of high fat in the diet and low levels of magnesium could be responsible for the higher levels of cholesterol found in those Australians who had immigrated from Europe as against the levels of magnesium in native Australians.
Several clinical studies since, have confirmed this hypothesis, with results of 18 studies on humans showing that taking magnesium supplements can normalize cholesterol levels. The results showed total cholesterol dropping by up to 23%, LDL cholesterol dropping by up to 18%, TGs dropping by up to 42% and HDL cholesterol levels rising by up to 11%.
Research mostly ignored
Magnesium and cholesterol research has in the main been either ignored or dismissed for one reason or another. The positive results of these studies have not been dissemminated to the medical fraternity which means that medics rarely prescribe magnesium for elevated cholesterol levels. This is either because they are ignorant of the facts or they would rather prescribe a pharmaceutical drug which the pharmaceutical companies will obviously be pushing and giving medics incentives to prescribe.
How does magnesium control cholesterol?
Magnesium controls a crucial step in the enzyme driven process that stops or starts production of cholesterol. Cholesterol is produced after a series of reactions that start with the conversion of a compound known as HMG-CoA to a compound known as mevalonate which is a fatty acid derivative. Mg-ATP (magnesium activated adenosine triphosphate) deactivates the limiting enzyme HMG-CoA reductase inhibiting activation of mevalonate. With adequate magnesium levels, the regulation of this enzyme can stop or decrease the production of mevalonate, therefore regulating the amount of cholesterol production depending on the body’s needs.
Cholesterol is important
If there is a magnesium deficiency, the conversion of HMG-CoA to mevalonate is not controlled therefore continual cholesterol production can give rise to atheromas, fatty deposits in the arteries. This is why the body regulates production of cholesterol because it is needed for many processes not least the sex hormones and the adrenal corticosteroids as well as vitamin D. The enzymes necessary for these process are activated by magnesium. So, if there is too much cholesterol, it can be harmful and conversely if they is too little cholesterol, it can be just as harmful. It has to be regulated and it won’t be without magnesium.
So what will the doctor prescribe?
Well, statins of course. Statins are excessively prescribed for patients who have high cholesterol but at the same time, have never had a cardiac event. Studies investigating the use of statins with a data pool of 65,000 plus people showed that no benefit was gained for patients who had never been diagnosed with a cardiovascular disease. In fact for some, taking statins may do more harm than good and the question is asked. Why are so there so many patients on statins when they’ve never had a stroke or heart event? Why prescribe this drug, with its unpleasant side effects, if it doesn’t prevent heart disease? Some speculate that it could have something to do with money! God Forbid!
Let’s compare statins with magnesium
- Both statins and magnesium target the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase but magnesium also targets LCAT. Now LCAT stands for Lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase which is an enzyme that actually converts LDL cholesterol into HDL cholesterol and magnesium activates this enzyme. That means that the action of magnesium actually increases HDL (good) cholesterol whilst decreasing LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- Statins actually inhibits or poisons HMG-CoA reductase, but magnesium naturally regulates and controls it.
- Both statins and magnesium reduce LDL. Statins sometimes raises HDL but magnesium naturally raises HDL while reducing LDL.
- Both statins and magnesium prevent clot formation, except magnesium does it naturally.
- Both statins and magnesium reduce inflammation but again magnesium does it naturally.
- Statins and magnesium also both slows and/or prevents atherosclerotic plaques from forming. Magnesium will do this naturally with no side effects.
- Statins raise liver enzymes past normal. Liver function has to be checked regularly with statin use. Magnesium does not raise liver enzymes.
- Statins can cause a nasty condition called myopathy which is a disease of the muscles. Magnesium actually prevents myopathy.
- Statin drugs have many side effects. Magnesium has no side effects.
And the health benefits?
Results of 16 research studies, 8 on statins and 8 on magnesium produced the following results.
- Statin drugs: 17-22 percent drop in overall mortality, 24-28 percent drop in heart disease mortality and 13-45 percent drop in heart disease events.
- Magnesium: 37-80 percent drop in overall mortality, 71 percent drop in heart disease mortality and 49-76 percent drop in heart disease events.
How the body treats statins
A statin is a drug and since the body will treat it as a toxin, the body will do its best to eliminate it in various ways depending on whether it is water soluble or fat soluble. In any event, it will be excreted from the body at various rates in a few hours or a few days. So to keep the statin working it has to be taken continuously on a daily basis. If not the enzyme it targets will not be inactivated. Purposely putting a toxin into the body should be a last resort. If there is a natural remedy, why not use it!
How the body treats magnesium
Because magnesium is an essential and natural nutrient, the body will not be trying to eliminate it but more conserve it and store it for later use. It still has to be consumed daily through water or food or by way of supplementation. If the body perceives levels are low, it will do its best to keep vital organs and processes, such as the heart supplied with this vital nutrient the lack of which can actually cause sudden cardiac arrest.
Magnesium does not have to be processed by the liver because it’s not a toxin and will be excreted by normal processes if there is too much in the body. Because it is a nutrient rather than a drug, it has no side effects other than diarrhoea if taken in too big a quantity at once.
So how about your diet?
If your doctor advises you to review your diet, that’s good advice. But don’t get hung up over fat. There are many good fats out there including organic coconut oil and a high quality extra virgin olive oil. If he says your cholesterol is too high, look at taking a magnesium supplement.
Eggs are full of nutrients
Don’t be frightened of eggs. They’ve had a bad press in the past but have been completely exonerated. They are the finest source of nutrients you can eat as long as they are at least free range and at best organic. Don’t forget what the egg has to have within it. All the nutrients to produce a living creature that can run as soon as it comes out of the egg. Use your common sense with your food intake. Don’t eat junk food, don’t consume fructose corn syrup, don’t drink sodas, don’t use transfats and keep your sugar consumption low. Don’t use artificial sweeteners except stevia, which up to now, has not shown to have any adverse effects.
If you’ve been told your cholesterol is high, don’t panic, use a good quality magnesium supplement like magnesium chloride solution or magnesium citrate. Don’t buy cheap supplements, they’re cheap for a reason. Your cholesterol levels will soon be stabilized and you can go about your daily life without stressing over cholesterol. You will also be protecting yourself from a plethora of other diseases and conditions, have a look around this site and you’ll see what I mean!
Lastly, if you are prescribed statin drugs and you have never experienced a cardiovascular or heart event, question your doctor as to why. You are now more informed, try informing him and the best of luck!
18 thoughts on “High cholesterol and diet”
July 2021 I had a cardiac catherization (1) stent:
Then in Nov. 2021 i had a defibrillator implant. i am told I have disease in my cardiac vessels. I am seeing a Lipid specialist. She put me on pravastatin (10) mg (1) a day at night…and while i was in the hospital St. Elizabeths in Boston they put me on Ezetimible (10) mg. (1) a day. I am on VIT D3 (3000) at day (1) baby asprin..plavix (75) mg a day carvedilol (blood pressure) 6.25 mg (2) day -(1) morning-(1) night and Losartan (100) mg. a day. Also on alprazolam (2) mg. ..have been taking this for over 20 years. I am very tired all the time..have ‘brain fog’ an have muscle ache and pains. Should I add Magnesium and COQ10 to this mixture…what is statin myopathy. If adding Mag. & COQ10…should I discuss this with my dr. By the way testing on 4-2022 came out very good..ahe was very pleased. Any information you can give me would be most appreciated
Hi Rubyann, that’s quite a list of medications and procedures you have! If you haven’t read the linked articles to High Cholesterol and Diet, please do and please take note of the difference between taking a good quality Mg supplement and a statin. Have you had a heart event, what was the diagnosis for the stent procedure I wonder.
Look, if you’re tired all the time, you have muscle aches and pains plus the brain fog, your body is telling you something. I suspect you have mitochondrial dysfunction apart from what you have listed. Without healthy mitochondria, you will not be at your fittest. Check out this article https://magnesiumandhealth.com/the-function-of-mitochondria/ and while you’re at it take a look at the little video at the top right of my page explaining the importance of keeping your Calcium and Magnesium in equilibrium.
Remember, MDs do not learn about nutrients, they are trained by advocates of the pharma industry, so you know what will take priority when giving you a treatment for your ailments. I suspect your doctor knows very little about natural treatments, you know, the nutrients you had in your body from birth. If these are depleted, you will get sick. Your body does not appreciate foreign chemicals. That’s why you have to keep taking them! The best course of action is to find out where you are deficient nutritionally. Seeking the advice of a MD who is also an ND would be a good move. After all, you are entitled to get a 2nd opinion, it is your body!
Whatever you decide to do, I would stake my life on the fact you are probably seriously Mg deficient. As well as that, you probably are consuming too much Calcium, making your Mg deficiency worse. Despite the test you had in April which your doctor is please with, you are still sick with fatigue, brain fog and worryingly muscle pains. Hopefully your doctor is checking your liver enzymes regularly https://magnesiumandhealth.com/statin-drugs-and-side-effects/
As we get older we have trouble converting CoQ10 into ubiquinol. Taking a ubiquinol supplement could be beneficial. Checking liver function is vital if you are on statins. Here is another article on statins and cholesterol https://magnesiumandhealth.com/what-is-high-cholesterol/
Read these articles and get yourself informed. Find more articles but make sure they are independent and not done by pharma. If you want to go back to your doctor and ask him/her to get you off the statins, do so but some get a little sniffy about being told about natural remedies so tread carefully and get him/her on your side. Be diplomatic! If he/she doesn’t want to know, get yourself another doctor! It’s your body we’re talking about and only you know how you feel. Get yourself educated in the problems you’re suffering and learn what you’re deficient in. By the way, another really important mineral to take is Selenium which statins also clobber! Good luck and take charge of your health!
What is the best type of magnesium to take for lowering cholesterol and muscle aches and for whole body
Hi Rosemary – please see my article on What Is Mg Chloride It will explain the absorbability of different Mg salts and the meaning of the Stability Constant Value. If you are on a statin, I would change that to a good quality Mg Chloride. Don’t forget, statins have side effects, not least the problem with statin myopathy which is an iatrogenic condition that damages the muscles; this is entirely related to statin intake. Elevated liver enzymes and disrupted liver function is another side effect. I would presume that you doctor regularly checks your liver enzymes if you are on this drug.
Statins are one of the biggest money spinners for pharmaceuticals. But this is being taken over by massive profits the pharmaceutical industry will gain from trying to vaccinate the world population…yearly, with experimental vaccines.
Statin Drugs and Side Effects – The Truth, is another article giving you the other side effects of this drug.
I would advise you always check every prescription drug or experimental treatment that is proffered to you and your family. It is your responsibility to look after your own health, especially when those that produce these drugs have a more important consideration than your health ie, their bottom line!
Can magnesium help lower cholesterol in someone who has high cholesterol caused by genetics?
Hi Owen, have you got a genetic marker for high cholesterol after being tested? If not and it is something that seems to run in your family or your doctor has indicated you could be genetically predisposed to high cholesterol, it could be that you are Mg deficient and there is not enough Mg in your body to correctly adjust your cholesterol production.
Whatever the answer, Mg is critical for health. It will do you no harm to either adjust your diet to take in more Mg or cut down your Ca intake to equalise the balance of Mg to Ca (1:1 ratio is ideal). It is difficult to get this balance and that’s why so many benefit from taking a good quality supplement such as ReMag or Ionic Mg because it is nearly always that Mg is deficient and Ca is taken to excess.
Topical application is also good but sometimes inconvenient. If you want to learn more about Mg and cholesterol go to this site and search ‘cholesterol’. It has a wealth of information and it is by far the best if you research your symptoms for yourself. My site has a lot of info but don’t take my word for it, check out other sites and read some books such as ‘The Magnesium Factor’ by Dr Seelig or ‘The Magnesium Miracle’ by Dr Carolyn Dean.
I love your site and it is very informative and especially for me because I had no idea about cholesterol and magnesium. Now, I am so much more aware and I am going to change a few of my eating habits. Thanks to you and your site, I really appreciate it Chessie.
Thanks for your comments. Ches
Hi Chessie. I like your post about the connection between diet and cholesterol. I knew a lot, but also learned a lot. As for magnesium, i figured I do not have it enough in my diet so I started using magnesium topical sprays. I dont have a cholesterol issue(I think) but use it as an energy booster. Tell me, what is the daily requirement for cholesterol control and for boosing mood an energy levels? Thank you.
Hi Nikola and thanks for your input. The RDA (recommended daily allowance) for magnesium is approximately 300-400mg per day but it ranges depending on the source of the RDA. For me, I take 600mg of Mg Chloride solution per day and I weight in at around 160 lbs. I put the days dose in a litre of water and drink it throughout the day. This is also good for keeping yourself hydrated. This dose is apart from any Mg consumed through food. It is a case of upping your dosage slowly until you reach a level that suits you. I would start at around 300 – 400mg and if you feel no difference up it gradually over the next week. Don’t take large doses in one go, always spread throughout the day and always be aware of any stress you are under as stress depletes Mg considerably. If you work out and exercise a lot, take a look at Magnesium and Working Out and be sure to keep your levels up. Good health to you and yours. Ches
It was heart wrenching to read your About Me page; but I am happy you are over the hump.There is need for an international debate about Health Education. We can do so much better and save a lot of money if health education was taught from early. A great selection of research material,but I would much prefer natural foods rather than supplements.Is it OK to share complete articles or do you have to seek permission, or is acknowledging the source adequate?Thanks for sharing. Stay well.
Hi Courtney and thanks for your comments. By all means share the info acknowledging the source. We need to get as much out to the public as we can so they can take control of their health. I agree with you about natural foods but with magnesium particularly, it is very difficult to gain enough of this vital mineral through food alone, mainly because of farming practices and the consumption of junk food which is lacking in magnesium. Also the predisposition to consume excess calcium, magnesium’s antogonist partner, keeps the balance of magnesium to calcium too low. This is a lot of the problem, not the deficiency but the balance of the two minerals which should be as near 1:1 as possible and this is so difficult with our modern diet. Ches
Although i am aware of cholesterol and the discrimination in good and bad, i didn’t know that eating eggs it’s ok! The other thing i learn is the therapeutic effect of magnesium in stabilizing the levels of cholesterol in a way that is more effective- you mentioned that it increases HDL (good) cholesterol whilst decreasing LDL (bad) cholesterol. That’s good to know!
Wish you best,
Thanks for reading the post and your input and comments. Yes, eggs are a great source of nutrition as are seeds and nuts and magnesium will help to stabilize your cholestrol. But, it is also a good idea to dump the junk food, sodas and artificial sweeteners like aspartame. Ches
As someone who is very much into health, I did not know magnesium had such a positive effect when it came to cholesterol.
I love my eggs so it is good to hear that I don’t need to fear them since nowadays you feel you need to stay away from everything.
I usually try to make sure I eat as healthy as I can to maintain good health. Thanks for this very informative article!
Hi there Ralph and thanks for your comment and input. Magnesium has a positive effect on nearly every kind of condition and disease out there. That’s because it is used in nearly all of our bodily functions including cardiovascular, neurological, brain function, pulmonary, muscles, bones, you name it magnesium will be necessary for it. That’s why a magnesium deficiency is so problematic. I’m pleased you’ll be back eating eggs now! Ches
I had no idea about cholesterol until I read this article. I obviously don’t suffer from a high or low cholesterol. It’s good to educate yourself on these matters and eat the right foods to try and stay healthy. I’m glad to learn that eggs are okay because I love eggs. What would be the best oil to fry your eggs in? I have heard that virgin olive oil is not good for you when heated. Is this true?
Hi Celeste and you are right about virgin olive oil, it should not be heated. Coconut oil (organic) is definitely the better oil to use for higher temperatures but there is a consensus of opinion that frying anything is not good. But living without a fried egg could be difficult, for me anyway. I use only organic coconut oil when I need to fry.
Thanks for your comment and input. You’re still fit and young, make sure you stay that way ie. fit and feeling young even when you’re as old as me! Ches