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Cholesterol Control Without Drugs

Cholesterol Control Without Drugs

Q: I don’t want to take statin drugs for my cholesterol problem. What do you suggest?

A: The statin medications really are a marvel of modern medicine; however, as a physician I personally weigh the decision very carefully before starting a medication that a person may very well have to stay on for the rest of their life.

As you know, it is possible to lower your cholesterol with a combination of diet and exercise. When it comes to diet, you know to avoid processed foods and foods that are high in fat, but most people overlook the fact that adding whole grains and more fiber to the diet can also have significant impact.

If you are carrying a little extra weight, losing as little as 10 pounds can make a big difference in your cholesterol levels, and exercise is one of the best things you can do to elevate the levels of HDL–the good cholesterol.

Sometimes high cholesterol levels are a result of our genes and not just of our diet, and if this is the case, no matter how diligent you are, you may not be able to get your cholesterol numbers down to the recommended range. If this is the case, a medication may be necessary. If you prefer more natural alternatives, recent studies suggest that red rice yeast (found in most natural food stores) along with diet and exercise can be just as effective as a statin.

Learn more:
The Latest News on Managing Cholesterol
Take Charge of Your Cholesterol
Health Heart Action Plan

Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting

Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at

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Dr. Brent

As an undergraduate, Dr. Brent Ridge majored in public health and environmental science, studying the way the state of the natural environment impacts our health choices. As a physician, he specializes in the field of aging. Send your health questions to Dr. Brent at


+ add your own
11:51AM PDT on Aug 9, 2013

Thank you for the important information.

10:27PM PDT on May 12, 2013

thank you

2:47AM PDT on May 9, 2013


2:30AM PDT on May 9, 2013

Apparently rice yeast contains monacolins which are a HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor., One of these is callled "monacolin K," is a potent inhibitor of HMG-CoA reductase, and is also known as mevinolin or lovastatin (Mevacor®, a drug produced by Merck & Co., Inc).

Lova statin is also found in oyster mushrooms.

So whats the difference if one gets a cholesterol lowering drug from yeast, or from a standardised pharmaceutical product?

7:03PM PDT on Mar 27, 2013

noted in spite of the latency created in part by "outbrain"

2:07AM PST on Jan 4, 2013


9:59PM PST on Jan 21, 2012

Ultra simple, don't eat animal fat, and it wont kill you. Heart disease, High blood pressure, even diabetes can be cured in a matter of weeks by adapting a meat free diet.
The best food to eat is the food that we were designed to eat in the first place.

10:55AM PST on Nov 29, 2011


1:02PM PDT on Jul 30, 2011

Thank you

9:22AM PDT on Jun 26, 2011


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