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


Bryna Pizzo
Bryna Pizzo3 years ago

Thank you for the important information.

Michael H.
Mike H3 years ago

thank you

Val M.
Val M3 years ago


Angelo M.
Angelo Morella3 years ago

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?

Terry V.
Terry V3 years ago

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

Tanya W.
Tanya W4 years ago


Eddie C.
Past Member 4 years ago

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.

gary c.
Gary C5 years ago


Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Sameer P.
Sameer P.5 years ago