Trick Question: How Do You Lower Cholesterol Naturally?

The other day, I received a request from a writer working on a story about how to lower cholesterol “naturally”. His questions are reprinted below, together with my reply.

Q. What are your thoughts on taking supplements as part of a cholesterol-lowering plan?

Q. Which ones do you like, and why?

Q. Are they safe? What are the risks?

Q. How do supplements fit in with traditional cholesterol-lowering methods like statin drugs, diet, and exercise?

Sounds reasonable, right?

Here’s my answer:

Dear Writer,

I’m delighted to help you with your story, which is clearly about using supplements and foods to lower cholesterol.

But here’s the problem…

I am a firm believer that lowering cholesterol is the least important thing you can do for heart health.

In fact, I am the author of a book called, “The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart Disease and the Statin-Free Plan that Will”.

So I wonder if I’m the right person to be interviewed about how to lower your cholesterol since I’m on a mission to correct the impression that lowering cholesterol matters a whit.

As I said on the Dr. Oz show, trying to prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol is like trying to reduce calories by taking the lettuce off your whopper.

If you want to talk about supplements for heart health, I’m your man. If you want to talk about strategies to prevent heart disease, I’m your man.

But if you want to talk about how to lower your cholesterol, or what supplements to use as part of a “cholesterol-lowering plan”, I’m probably not your guy.

To me, that’s like asking a general in the armed forces, “What’s the best way to invade Portugal so we can stop Al-Qaeda?”

Al-Qaeda isn’t in Portugal. And cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease.


Jonny Bowden

The writer replied: Let me rethink my slant on the article. I’ll get back to you on that.

Well, at least that’s some progress!

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  • S.R.

    I’m visting your website to find info on familial hypercholesterolemia. I wish you had a search feature. Can you comment whether this is a real problem or not?

  • Johny,

    Thanks for your excellent blog and writing, as a person who has worked in the medical and pharmaceutical industries for 20 years I’m very familiar with the difficulty in changing the established “gold standards” of medicine, even in the face of real clinical studies refuting it.
    I’m currently reading the Cholesterol Myth and it’s is excellent.

    Question: my HDL cholesterol has been hovering around 38 -45 mg/dl for years, I’ve been eating nuts everyday for snacks, avocado’s and using Olive oil when possible, exercising 3X a week. Any other suggestions for pushing up that all important HDL?

    Thanks and keep going – we need more real- fact based- information in the health world.


    Dave McMahon

  • High cholesterol itself does not cause any symptoms; so many people are unaware that their cholesterol levels are too high. Therefore, it is important to find out what your cholesterol numbers are because lowering cholesterol levels that are too high lessens the risk for developing heart disease and reduces the chance of a heart attack or dying of heart disease, even if you already have it.

  • Heart disease is the #1 killer. However, traditional heart disease protocols–with their emphasis on lowering cholesterol–have it all wrong. Emerging science is showing that cholesterol levels are a poor predictor of heart disease and that standard prescriptions for lowering it, such as ineffective low-fat/high-carb diets and serious, side-effect-causing statin drugs, obscure the real causes of heart disease. Even doctors at leading institutions have been misled for years based on creative reporting of research results from pharmaceutical companies intent on supporting the $31-billion-a-year cholesterol-lowering drug industry.

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