Healthy Cholesterol Support Protocol from the Emerson Ecologics Medical Education Team
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Supporting Healthy Cholesterol Levels
Heart disease, a term that encompasses multiple cardiovascular conditions, is the leading cause of death in the United States. Cholesterol accumulation which develops into arterial plaques can contribute to coronary heart disease (CHD). Managing healthy cholesterol levels through diet and lifestyle is usually the first line of defense and prevention.
Lifestyle habits that directly contribute to CHD include smoking, excessive alcohol use, and physical inactivity, so it is important to encourage patients/clients to quit smoking, reduce alcohol use, and engage in regular physical exercise.
A plant-based, whole-food diet like the Mediterranean diet, that limits sugar, refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats, as well as vegetarian and vegan diets are foundational to reducing and reversing risk of heart disease. It has also been well documented that a diet high in plant foods and fiber is correlated with lower cardiovascular disease. Diets that include at least the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, as well as legumes and whole grains provide good sources of fiber, however, many Americans fail to incorporate these foods (or enough of them) into their daily intake.
A high fiber diet contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, but it is soluble fiber (meaning it is soluble in water) found in foods like oats and barley, fruits and vegetables, which forms a gel like substance in the presence of water and has been shown to interfere with the absorption of cholesterol from foods. Fermentable soluble fibers include pectins, beta-glucans, guar gum, inulin and fructans, which additionally serve as nourishment for a healthy microbiome.
While food sources of fiber are the priority, adding a dietary fiber supplement is a common way to ensure a patient has at least 8 g/day of soluble fiber working against cholesterol accumulation.
Numerous studies have shown the protective effects of dietary fiber on reducing risk of cardiovascular disease. When choosing a fiber for heart health, look for oat fiber, psyllium fiber, flax and chia seed powder, acacia, guar gum and pectins which provide a higher percentage of soluble vs insoluble fiber. A typical fiber product providing at least 7 out of 10 grams of fiber as soluble fiber is better for heart health.
How to support healthy cholesterol balance is one of the most common questions asked of the Emerson Ecologics Medical Education Team– so they assembled a Healthy Cholesterol Support Protocol based on the latest science and research, exclusively for the Wellevate® community. Log in to your Wellevate account today to see the full protocol in addition to over 100 other protocols, provided by today’s leading integrative experts and thought leaders. Don’t have a Wellevate account? Visit www.wellevate.me to get started.
Jenkins DJ, et al. Soluble fiber intake at a dose approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for a claim of health benefits: serum lipid risk factors for cardiovascular disease assessed in a randomized controlled crossover trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 May;75(5):834-9. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/75.5.834. PMID: 11976156.