Q. I lowered my bad cholesterol from 147 to 119 over several months by eating an avocado a week and taking two lecithin capsules a day. I found the avocado recommendation on your website. Thank you!

A. Avocados used to be considered forbidden fruit because of their high fat content. Research now suggests that the monounsaturated fats in avocados help lower serum lipids, including LDL cholesterol (Canadian Medical Association Journal, Dec. 14, 2010).

Lecithin is a complex of fatty substances that occurs naturally in foods like soybeans or egg yolks. It isn’t clear how well it lowers cholesterol. Although some animal studies seem promising (Life Sciences, Oct. 13, 2000), there isn’t much human research. One study does suggest, however, that soy-derived lecithin can prevent the re-absorption of cholesterol from the intestines, resulting in lower blood fats (Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, Sept., 2000).

We offer a number of natural approaches to lowering cholesterol in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. You’ll find a cholesterol-lowering smoothie as well as suggestions on walnuts, vinegar, oatmeal, grape juice, fish oil and cinnamon.

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  1. ladyliza

    Here is what my doctor recommended for lowering cholesterol naturally: Pantethine, no flush niacin. I just started the lecitin and avacado remedy someone here mentioned but too soon to know if it works.

  2. PG

    I have not tried to lower cholesterol, but a recent blood workup showed that my total cholesterol is 120. I find this alarmingly low. I have to take Metamucil every day for diverticulosis and I eat cheerios every morning. I also eat little meat. Just don’t care for it. My LDL is 53. I have never taken a statin and never plan to do so. The only pill I take is for thyroid. I am 70 years old.

  3. Linda

    They said their “bad” cholesterol (LDL), rather than total. I agree if they were talking their TOTAL numbers, no reason to mess with 147! :)

  4. Kate M

    My method is one avocado per week.

  5. nathan7500

    Black grape significantly reduces my high cholesterol but it has no effect in reducing the LDL. I’ll try avocado. How many avocados per day?

  6. David

    I’m really happy to read about the experiences of other commenters who have tried or are trying natural alternatives to statins. I believe that statins are overprescribed and carry a higher risk than is let on. And yes, we do need some cholesterol; it’s a critical hormonal building block, among other things.

  7. Virginia

    You misread. 147 was NOT their TOTAL cholesterol number… it was just their number for their LDL. One should strive for a total of below 200mg/dL TOTAL cholesterol, with the HDL level, being 60mg/dL and above, whereas the LDL (bad cholesterol) being 100-129md/dL as the ideal.

  8. Kate M

    I lowered the LDL from 149 to 109 in six months with weekly avocado. I get 20mgm of Niacin in my B-Complex tabs. I refuse statins and similar drugs. My chief problem is finding a commercial multivitamin source without all the metallics and minerals that I don’t tolerate. I’m forced to get Vits A, C, D,
    E, and foliate in separate bottles.

  9. a.s.

    3x500mg ‘slo-niacin,’ 3x500mg krill oil, 3x100mg ubiquinol. total cholesterol now 167; down from 245+/- & no muscle pain or weakness w/5-days/week workout. ’nuff sed.

  10. Juliet

    My LDL ran between 120-130. My triglycerides were low because of taking fish oil and my HDL is on the high end of normal because I eat a healthy diet. I have struggled my whole life with marginally high LDL. I have taken psyllium tablets and that was somewhat helpful.
    My new doctor suggested no flush Niacin 500mg. twice a day. My LDL now runs between 85-92. I was so amazed with such a significant change that I asked my doctor if he was sure that it was my blood. I have had 3 lipid panels in the last 1 1/2 year since I started the niacin and my total cholesterol is below 150 and my LDL remains very good.
    I saw another doctor who suggested that I discontinue the niacin because of a lack of effectiveness. I pointed out that it is very effective for me and I wasn’t about to stop it. Before I started the niacin, one of my doctors suggested that I try a statin drug but I did not want to risk the side effects. I believe that the niacin has been as helpful as a statin drug would be without the risks of side effects.

  11. abigail

    Are there benefits from cooking with avocado oil or using it in salads?

  12. ARP

    Would this work with familial high cholesterol? Have elevated cholesterol and ldl but hdl is 85. Have tried statins and have reactions to all. Because of the high numbers I am being strongly advised to try Lescol and really would like to lower the numbers some other way.

  13. ladyliza

    I have been told that non gmo powdered lecithin is the best, but pills are so much easier to take. 2pills/day is what the gal tried and it worked with the avocado.

  14. DS

    Why do insurance companies go along with paying for drugs to lower cholesterol when all-cause death is lower in people with higher cholesterol?
    For Mary, I think the original entry said that avocados lowered the “bad” cholesterol, which is what people call LDL. Now I am reading that it’s not BAD, but I don’t think 119 is too low for LDL, just for total cholesterol.

  15. Sue S-P

    I am extremely interested in this article since I am constantly advised to take a statin drug for lowering of my high cholesterol numbers. I have no other health factors that might lead to heart problems, and am concerned with the side effects of statin drugs. What dosage of Lecithin is advised?

  16. dr john h abeles

    The writer said the ‘bad’ cholesterol was 149, not the total cholesterol, as you have assumed….I agree that too much attention to total cholesterol as as these subfractions is being emphasized —and that over aggressive lowerung is ill advised –and that inflammation and its markers (reactive proteins, homocysteine etc) are better targets for nutritional intervention and diagnosis of arterial atheromatous disease…

  17. fbl

    I agree with Mary. Your cholesterol shouldn’t go below 150. That is the magic number that a number of enzymatic reactions in the body need. 200 is what I’ve set my goal for..

  18. Hilda C.

    Please discuss the side effects of niacin in the treatment of high cholesterol. I have high cholesterol that is genetic, and have had no luck taking statins… (muscle pain and mental fogginess). After starting a regimen of niacin, I am experiencing muscle pain and feelings of depression. Oddly enough, I have had no trouble with flushing, but have experienced chills and goose bumps. (This is niacin otc, not Niaspan)

  19. Mary

    Why would anyone want to lower their cholesterol below 147? 119 is too low. Low cholesterol has been linked to depression and other health problems.

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