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Old 08-14-2012, 03:28 AM   #21
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Thanks for this very informative post. I am glad the niacin is working for you. Do you still have the muscle pain?

I think we should always try non-dangerous stuff if we have issues to address. I would hate anything that made me throttle back exercise, as I have loved it my whole life, and in some regards have a self-identification with it.

Ha
I still have a little neck pain. Can't tell if it's a residual effect of the statin or another problem.

Non-dangerous is certainly better, but often we cannot tell. One of the ill-effects of defensive medicine as practiced in the US is that doctors have a strong interest in limiting themselves to the most widely used treatments, such as statins. I have never heard of a doctor that recommended niacin. Mine didn't. From the doctor's point of view any treatment that varies from the standard of the day puts him at greater risk of a liability lawsuit. This is not merely conjecture on my part, but the explanation that this doctor himself gave me when I announced my intention to stop the statin. "So," I asked him, "you want me to take a pill to protect you from a lawsuit?" And then I changed doctors and medication.
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:07 AM   #22
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... But beef was my main protein prior to the change, and fish is now. For example, yesterday I had salmon salad for lunch, and salmon patties for dinner.

Today I had a sardine salad for lunch, and will have an albacore steak for dinner. I also have mastered making curries with shrimp or scallops or squid, and with various whitefish such as rockfish or cod or haddock.

...

Regarding chicken, a lot of bloggers and gurus talk it down because of omega-6, but I don't know of any reason to think this is meaningful, and chicken is a lot cheaper than fish or shellfish. Certified Wild American shrimp is always at least $12/#. ...
A diet primarily of fish and seafood is very much in line with the "aquatic ape" theory of human evolution. If it is true, then our genome is very much optimized to that diet. As you are finding, it works for many (most?) people.

Regarding chicken, omega 6 content is the issue (plus the lack of fat). If you have an optimal omega 6 - omega 3 ratio without supplements, then avoiding chicken is probably overkill.
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:22 AM   #23
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Ha. Did you continue eating some red meat during this period or did you drop it all? How about butter?

And finally, what about egg yolks? I read a about a recent Canadian study finding egg yolks were as bad for arterial plaque as smoking. That is something I plan to ignore (my family seems immune) but is an issue for DW. Eggs (and bacon) are a big source of my protein/fat.
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:22 AM   #24
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I would like to share my personal “quest” with cholesterol. I have been “diagnosed” with high cholesterol for many years and have been on various regimens to control my cholesterol. High cholesterol runs in my family. I always have exercised regularly and have never had a weight problem. My total cholesterol without any medications is usually 275. Early on, prior to widespread use of statins, I tried a vegetarian diet for one year. After that year, I was excited to have my blood work completed and much to my chagrin. My result was 275. I am no longer a vegetarian. I still watch my diet and still avoid most high cholesterol foods, eggs being an exception. I tried psyllium and still use on a regular basis with no effect. My brother was prescribed Lipitor and had good results and suggested I take a statin as well. My doctor prescribed Lipitor (10MG) for me as well. My cholesterol came down to 218. I increased my exercise level and my HDL went up about 10 points. I told the doctor about some minor joint pain related to Lipitor. He changed to prescription to 20 MG of simvastatin. My cholesterol was now below 200. Everyone was happy except my DW, she did not like me taking meds and was nagging me to quit taking those pills. I decided to humor her and stopped taking the simivastin. I was having severe joint pain which I attributed to “old” age (55). After two weeks all my joint pains were gone as well as and some other “old age” pains of which I did not even realize were related to statin. Random muscle spasms I was having were gone. My cholesterol went back up. My doctor called with results. I explained my cure and he suggested niacin. After using niacin for several months, I had my blood work completed and with niacin my cholesterol was 211. The problem is that niacin aggravated my occasional gout condition. After doing more research I found that this is a known side effect of niacin. (Doctor never mentioned this). After doing more research on this forum and others I became more aware of the effects of sugar and processed foods. (Dr. Lustic and others). I have eliminated the vast majority of sugar and processed foods from my diet. After several weeks, I lost 5 pounds, which prior to this I could never loose no matter how hard I tried with more exercise and lower intake of foods. I have also noticed my blood pressure is 7 to 10 points lower. I never had a blood pressure problem, high was 125/80 for me. I was 112/75 during my recent annual physical. I feel great and have not had any gout issues, only time will tell for sure. I know there is a link between alcohol and gout, but have refused to give up my occasional beer and wine. (You have to draw the line somewhere). My conclusion at this time.
1) Avoid statins
2) Exercise will increase HDL, but only to a point
3) Reduce sugar and processed food consumption (I could still reduce further)
4) Niacin seems to help reduce cholesterol, but need more time to confirm

Still not sure if gout was related to sugar consumption, but have not had any major attacks since reducing sugar.
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:21 AM   #25
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Ha,

Congrats on the good progress with your numbers. As to the red meat, were you eating the leanest cuts? While it would be hard for me to entirely eliminate red meat, I do try to eat more chicken, turkey and salmon, but all in all, I've always had a problem getting enough daily protein into my diet.
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Old 08-14-2012, 02:04 PM   #26
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Niacin has been working well for me for the past 5 years in keeping my lipids in the optimal/acceptable range along with diet restrictions and exercise.
I'll second the niacin advice. DW was taking a statin and getting some of the worst S/E. A little research on the web uncovered that many people do as well on niacin as they do on statins alone or statins + niacin. It's worked so well for her, that she's been able to lower her dose in half.

The worst S/E of niacin (for most) is the niacin flush, but that's got an easy fix. One aspirin or 500 mg. vitamin C taken 1/2 to 1 hr. before the niacin will counter the flush (but not the benefit).

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Old 08-14-2012, 02:44 PM   #27
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I wonder if the guys taking niacin could mention the dose, and the form. Just regular flushing niacin?

@ Don- I eat lots of egg yolks, and always have usualy with normal cholesterol numbers. I really didn't plan to cut out on red meat until very recently- I just started out cutting down on dairy, and mainly I always eat more fish starting about April until mid-October because fish is cheaper and we have the summer salmon runs. I attributed most of my LDL improvement to more regular exercise, and summer fish replacing a lot of meat.

Since meeting the guy who cut his total C from 330 to 170 about one month ago on almost no red meat I decided to see what I could do with this also. So I have really just gotten religion maybe 3 weeks ago.

I think the next particle test will show what is possible for me with continued exercise, and more fish and chicken and less red meat.

@ DFW-when I ate red meat more, I paid no attention to lean cuts. When we eat low carb, most of us crave fat. I still eat pork rinds. Only now I don't butter them, just dip them in Canola mayo. Butter tastes better.

Ha
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Old 08-14-2012, 03:45 PM   #28
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I always thought NMR was the same as MRI, with the name changed to avoid the negative reaction to the words "Nuclear Magnetic Radiation".
MRI is based on NMR, but is enhanced by adding gradient magnetic fields to allow for spatial identification. NMR only identifies the quantity of a targeted molecule type in a homogenous sample. MRI adds the ability to have spatial recognition which allows for 3D images.

Think of dividing the sample into cubes of some dimension and then you identify the quantity in each individual cube. Put them together and you have the image.
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:38 PM   #29
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MRI is based on NMR, but is enhanced by adding gradient magnetic fields to allow for spatial identification. NMR only identifies the quantity of a targeted molecule type in a homogenous sample. MRI adds the ability to have spatial recognition which allows for 3D images.

Think of dividing the sample into cubes of some dimension and then you identify the quantity in each individual cube. Put them together and you have the image.
Excellent - thanks for the explanation.
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Old 08-14-2012, 08:03 PM   #30
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MRI is based on NMR, but is enhanced by adding gradient magnetic fields to allow for spatial identification. NMR only identifies the quantity of a targeted molecule type in a homogenous sample. MRI adds the ability to have spatial recognition which allows for 3D images.

Think of dividing the sample into cubes of some dimension and then you identify the quantity in each individual cube. Put them together and you have the image.
Is the sample used just a spot of serum on filter paper, or serum in a tube, or ?

They are able to characterize type of particle and
average size, max and min size, etc.

Could you also explain this?

Ha
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Old 08-14-2012, 08:11 PM   #31
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I wonder if the guys taking niacin could mention the dose, and the form. Just regular flushing niacin?



I think the next particle test will show what is possible for me with continued exercise, and more fish and chicken and less red meat.

Ha
Here is some info on niacin...

Lowering Cholesterol with Niacin/Nicotinic acid? - Cholesterol Information Produced by Doctors For Patients Experiencing High Cholesterol Levels

It is the flushing kind and should be of the form nicotinic acid, there are other formulations. You can get it online from Pilgrims Pride. It really seems to work.

Have you looked at your triglycride/HDL ratio ? I have were this is a very good indicator as to the LDL particle size. Less than 2 and you should have "fluffy" LDL. Just curious if that matches your particle test results.

Something else to look at is red yeast rice

http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/r...ice-000323.htm
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Old 08-14-2012, 08:15 PM   #32
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"Nuclear Magnetic Radiation"
D'oh! Just caught your original quote which wasn't correct (pulled from my restatement but originally by Alan), NMR stands for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (not radiation). It's based on the natural frequency (Larmor frequency) of the molecule, which is proportional to the strength of the magnetic field. MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. Since the Larmor frequency is proportional to the field strength, varying the field strength allows for the excitation of only a subset of the targeted molecules. Many imaging protocols and signal processing for efficiency lead to the ability to create the images.

OK, probably TMI for the ER forum, but if you're interested there's enough info to do a search.
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Old 08-14-2012, 08:46 PM   #33
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Is the sample used just a spot of serum on filter paper, or serum in a tube, or ?

They are able to characterize type of particle and
average size, max and min size, etc.

Could you also explain this?

Ha
Well, I'm not actually capable of designing MRI protocols, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn once.

A significant advantage of MRI compared to other imaging techniques like x-rays is the ability to distinguish soft tissue.

The imaging protocol is designed to look for a specific molecule with a particular resolution of whatever is in the field. There are many protocols and they are custom designed to look for whatever the physician suspects may be a problem, or wants to rule out. Breast cancer? Torn knee ligament? Brain function response (fMRI)?

Molecules in a magnetic field have a natural frequency known as a Larmor frequency which is proportional to the magnetic field strength. These frequencies are in the MHz range. In the case of MRI for humans, since the body is made up substantially of water, hydrogen is in abundance and what is typically searched for.

The MRI protocol consists of varying the magnetic field in 3 directions, emitting an RF signal, and measuring the RF response. The design of the sequence and the strength of the static/local field all control the end resolution.

Specific imaging protocols are selected based on what's being searched for. There are different weights (T1, T2, etc.) as well. While we think of diagnostic imaging for people, it is used on other things, inanimate objects, etc. What can I say, it's a specialized field and I just scratch the surface, apologies to anyone who reads this and knows more than I and finds errors.
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:46 PM   #34
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I wonder if the guys taking niacin could mention the dose, and the form. Just regular flushing niacin?
Ha
I take 1500 mg of enduracin (from endur.com) each night before going to bed. Enduracin is a form of immediate release niacin embedded in a wax matrix for timed release. The product has been around for 50 years or more and was used by Dr. Parsons who did the major study on niacin in the 70's that showed reduced mortality.

When the 1500 mg dose was effective I tried lowering it to 1000mg, but the cholesterol bounced right back up. I have since read that 1500 mg is the typical threshhold for an effective dose. Enduracin like other forms sometimes produces a warm flash. I would say once or twice a year it is enough to be very noticeable, but it is not really a problem for me.

Enduracin is cheap. A month's supply costs me about $8. There is a prescription form called Niaspan. Some forms, such as "inositol hexanicotinate" have no flush, but also have no effect on cholesterol levels.

Parsons wrote a book on niacin that is worth reading although a little dated now, "Cholesterol Control Without Diet."

Immediate release niacin is also effective, but then you have to take it several times a day.
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:49 PM   #35
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Something else to look at is red yeast rice

Red yeast rice
Red yeast rice is just a statin. If I were going to take a statin I would only take pharmaceutical grade, not red yeast rice.
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:04 PM   #36
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Have you looked at your triglycride/HDL ratio ? I have were this is a very good indicator as to the LDL particle size. Less than 2 and you should have "fluffy" LDL. Just curious if that matches your particle test results.
Thank you for the link rbmartin. Yes, my small particles are almost nonexistent, and my triglyceride LDL ratio is less than 1/2. Nevertheless, I had and still have a pretty high number of particles (almost all large.) Recent data from a study called ( I think) "The Framingham Offspring Study" seem to show that large LDL particles are still plenty small enough to penetrate the arterial wall, and it is the total number of LDL particles that is controlling.

Recently I had an opportunity to speak with a rep from Liposcience in my Doc's office, and he explained this information and the studies.

@Khufu and oldphd, thank you for your information.

Ha
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Old 08-15-2012, 06:32 AM   #37
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On this niacin vs stain question why would I take niacin instead of statins unless I already tried and had problematic side effects from statins and wanted to try another drug? Niacin is, after all, just another drug. Here is a description of side effects from a Mayo site:

The flushing can make your skin redden and possibly feel warm to the touch. While annoying, this flushing isn't harmful. If you have flushing, talk to your doctor about taking an aspirin shortly before you take your niacin. Aspirin can counteract this flushing effect. Also, avoiding hot drinks and alcohol can decrease flushing. Versions of niacin with reduced flushing effects also are available by prescription.
Other possible side effects include:
  • Upset stomach
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Liver damage
  • Increased blood sugar
However, your doctor may be able to find the right dose and form of niacin that minimizes side effects

Most people don't notice side effects from statins especially at low doses. Most people do experience flushing with niacin and need to treat that effect to be satisfied with the drug. For Ha the safest approach would appear to be the dietary changes he has made if the LDL reduction holds up over time.

Edit: and why the insistence that the flushing isn't harmful? Has that been carefully studied or just assumed? Something significant is going on here.
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:40 AM   #38
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I think the next particle test will show what is possible for me with continued exercise, and more fish and chicken and less red meat.
Ha
Do you have to get these tests from the doctor's office? I would like to experiment with what works and doesn't work for me and my cholesterol level, but the idea of runing to the doctor's office to constanly get tested is a negative. Still, I suppose if one must to it to be healthy, then one must do it
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Old 08-15-2012, 10:41 AM   #39
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I read the posts here, very interesting and thanks to Ha for starting this. I think genetically I tend to high cholesterol. What has worked for me:

1) Mediterranean diet: lots of chicken, fish, vegs, fruits.
2) Glass of wine per night. Maybe I'm kidding myself on this one.
3) Exercise: at least 20 miles running per week.
4) Doctor suggested Red Yeast extract (and he's not into alternative medicines as a rule). This reduced total cholesterol by maybe 20 to 30 points. Have taken for years now. Apparently there are some "natural" statins in this.

The above has given be a good cholesterol ratio and acceptable total cholesterol.

I eat plenty of chocolate based sweets, my downfall perhaps.
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Old 08-15-2012, 10:57 AM   #40
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4) Doctor suggested Red Yeast extract (and he's not into alternative medicines as a rule). This reduced total cholesterol by maybe 20 to 30 points. Have taken for years now. Apparently there are some "natural" statins in this.

The above has given be a good cholesterol ratio and acceptable total cholesterol.
Even more than niacin I would wonder why not just take a low dose of lovastatin since that is what this stuff allegedly contains?
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