Bauman College Community Forum

Open Forum => Nutrition Talk => Topic started by: SallyM on May 09, 2009, 06:47:03 PM

Title: High LDL cholesterol in Vegan diet
Post by: SallyM on May 09, 2009, 06:47:03 PM
I have spoken with several different clients that have high cholesterol while maintaining a Vegan diet.  Since cholesterol only comes from animal products and they have eliminated all animal products, why is their body still producing cholesterol (LDL)?  What is the best advice to lower cholesterol in cases like this?  Sally
Title: Re: High LDL cholesterol in Vegan diet
Post by: jodi f. on May 10, 2009, 06:37:32 AM
Hi Sally,

What do you mean by high cholesterol? Total? HDL? LDL? Have they had VAP tests (Vertical Auto Profile)? This test breaks lipid readings down even further to discern particle size and other fractions. Important test for those who test high.

How old are these people? Cholesterol tends to go up with age, especially for women when they enter menopause.

Low thyroid also notoriously elevates cholesterol. If a vegan isn't obtaining enough protein to sustain her/his particular and unique needs, it can affect thyroid hormone production, since the hormone is made directly from the amino acid tyrosine, plus iodine. Also, all of our steroid hormone production begins with cholesterol.

Cholesterol levels don't have much to do with with how much cholesterol you eat. The liver produces whatever the body needs if there's little intake in the diet. And if high cholesterol levels are a person's only risk factor for heart disease, it probably isn't an issue at all, especially for midlife women. More important test results to look at would be cardio CRP and Homocysteine. There are also, less-performed labs.

Cholesterol is a healing substance and generally gets elevated from some kind of inflammatory process. One of the most ubiquitous is that which comes from chronic over-production of insulin in response to high carbohydrate intake. (Another is menopause, as estrogen is anti-inflammatory.)

People's bodies respond differently to diet. There's no such thing as a "good diet" if the eater's metabolism isn't suited to it. Vegetarian diets are all high in carbohydrates, simply because most vegetable proteins--beans--are high carbohydrate foods. If a vegan is also cutting down on fat--oils, nuts and seeds--that person is then most likely trying to fill up on carbs and carb-rich proteins. Some people do better on higher, denser-protein diets. For these people, eating high quality animal proteins and fats can actually lower cholesterol. You can look at the work of William Wolcott ( The Metabolic Typing Diet ) and Kristal and Haig (The Nutrition Solution: A Guide to Your Metabolic Type) for more information about this.

I highly recommend Uffe Ravnskov's book, The Cholesterol Myths, for an in-depth look at what cholesterol is, how it works, and why we've all come to believe that certain readings are bad. This, and some of the articles on the Weston A. Price foundation's website,, are eye-opening.

Title: Re: High LDL cholesterol in Vegan diet
Post by: ConnieD on May 24, 2009, 02:25:32 PM
I have recommended the cholesterol lowering protocol outlined in the The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine by Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno with good results.  They have outlined the comparative effects of four natural compounds on cholesterol and triglyceride lipids.  The four compounds are niacin, garlic, gugulipid, and pantethine.  Gugulipid showed the greatest decrease in both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol--24% and 30% respectively.  Of interest, garlic showed an increase in HDL cholesterol of 31%, and pantethine a 32% decrease in triglycerides.       
Gugulipid is the standardized extract of the mukul myrrh tree, native to India.  The two active components of gugulipid are Z-guggulipid and E-guggulsterone.  The dosage of gugulipid is based on its guggulsterone content.  Clinical studies have demonstrated that gugulipid extract, standardized to contain 25 mg of guggulsterone per 500 mg tablet, given three times per day is an effective treatment for elevated LDL and total cholesterol levels.  No significant side effcts have been reported with purified gugulipid preparations, but crude gugggul preparations such as gum guggul are associated with side effects like skin rashes and diarrhea. 
For your information, The German Commission E, an expert panel that sets dosage requirements to allow for therapeutic claims in Germany, requires that products deliver the equivalent of 4,000 mg of fresh garlic (not aged)--roughly one to four cloves.
And the dose for pantethine--not to be confused with pantothenic acid--is 900 mg per day.
Having said this, I should mention that I always recommend dietary guidelines first.

Hope this is helpful.
Title: Re: High LDL cholesterol in Vegan diet
Post by: jodi f. on May 25, 2009, 05:52:31 AM
Coni, that's really interesting. Gugulipid is one of the most-recommended herbs for hypothyroid support, and low thyroid function will cause elevated cholesterol levels and is a well known cause of heart disease.