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As everyone knows, I had my gallbladder out in late June.  

Because of this, I had to limit my intake of fats quite a bit to avoid what I like to call an Unpleasant Digestive Episode.  This means almost no deep fried food (the occasional French fry or doughnut is about it), low fat or fat-free dairy products, very little red meat, and checking the fat grams on just about everything I buy.

Thanks to this regimen, I've lost ten pounds and seen my triglycerides drop about twenty points, which is great...

But my LDL cholesterol went UP about twelve points, putting me over the magic 190 threshold of "very high" that means I need to lower it.

Now, how this happened when I was cutting fat from my diet like a good little girl I have no idea.  All I know is that it did happen, and I need to do something about it to avoid an Unfortunate/Potentially Fatal Cardiac Episode.  So when my doctor put me on 20 mg. of simvastatin (generic Zocor), I did as I was told.

Didn't work so well.

I knew that statins can have some nasty side effects - a friend of mine had such awful ones that she finally gave up after trying four different kinds and being in so much pain she could barely function - but I knew several people who were already on them and had had no problems.  Alas, that was not the case with me.  One dose was fine, but after the second dose I had classic statin-intolerance symptoms:  muscle pain (primarily in my legs but spreading to my arms and shoulders), weakness, coldness and cramping in my quads and calves, a migraine that all but had me sobbing in pain, and confusion/fuzzy-headedness that required me to ask my co-workers for helping taking the minutes at a weekly admin meeting.  It was just awful, and after looking up the side effects on the medication, I called my doctor and discontinued the medication immediately.

This was about a month ago.  I've switched to a more Mediterranean-style diet (whole grains only, more fish, no red meat at all, plenty of almonds even though they can and do trigger Unfortunate Digestive Episodes, zero deep fried food, a bowl of oatmeal every morning) and am heading back to the gym as of tonight.  I suspect that the rise in LDL cholesterol may be my body's reaction to losing my gallbladder, since the triglyceride drop sure indicates that I'm doing something right.

Problem:  my doctor wants me to go back on the statins as of December.

Now, she's not putting me back on a full dose.  She's told me to try a pill per week for a month, then add another pill per week every three weeks until I'm taking one a day.  This is called "titrating" and is an accepted way to see if someone can build up a tolerance to a medication, and given my cholesterol levels I can see why she wants me to do this.

HOWEVER.  Given how strongly, and how quickly, I reacted to the simvastatin, I am skeptical as to whether this will even work.  Add in that I've been doing some research and have found that statins can raise the chance of Type II diabetes by nearly 30%, and that close to 20% of patients have the muscle cramps, weakness, pain, and migraines that I experienced, I have to ask if this is even worth it.  I realize that having high LDL may shorten my life, but being in constant pain (and worse, being unable to think) and risking getting a chronic disease like diabetes for a few extra years doesn't necessarily strike me as a good trade-off.

One more thing to know:  I've tried both fish oil and flaxseed oil to lower my cholesterol, and each time I've had such horrible headaches I had to stop.  Worse, my attempt at simply eating more fish (primarily tuna since I despise the taste of salmon) may also be causing headaches, since the last couple of times I've had tuna I've had yet more migraines.

So...does anyone have any suggestions?  Has anyone else who's had gallbladder surgery experienced a rise in cholesterol?  Are there alternatives to surgery?  To statins if medication is necessary?


6:22 PM PT: Thanks to everyone who responded.  I got some great ideas about diet and exercise, and most important of all, I did what I should have done and called my doctor -

Who called me back a couple of hours later, listened to my concerns, and promptly put me the lowest effective dose of another, much milder, medication.  She agreed that I probably overdid it on getting rid of fats, told me to hit the gym three times a week (minimum), and told to take the new meds every other day to see if can tolerate them.

If I can't, we'll try something else.  Either way, I'm greatly heartened by how willing she was to discuss alternatives.

Thank you all SO MUCH for your advice and your comfort.  I really appreciate it!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Goodness what a mess (6+ / 0-)

    blessings for a workable and comfortable solution.  Those side effects are not friendly.

    I've added supplements I've read can help with cholesterol, but I haven't had my cholesterol tested since I've been on them yet:  Pantothenic Acid & Pantothine.

    "The plan is to allow those things that had been proposed over many years to reform a health-care system in America that certainly does need more help..." ~Sarah Palin

    by MsGrin on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 09:02:42 AM PST

  •  My aunt with celiac disease (6+ / 0-)

    has trouble with statins because so many medications contain gluten.  She says red yeast rice worked for her, but I have heard it's no longer available in the US.

    I have also heard that red pepper is good for cholesterol (and general heart health).  I like cayenne, myself, and have been eating more of it than I used to, but since my health is generally excellent, I can't say I've noticed any difference - and I started doing this AFTER my last bloodwork, so I won't know if it's having any effect till next February.

    Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

    by loggersbrat on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 09:05:30 AM PST

    •  Oh, yes. The reason I heard about red pepper (8+ / 0-)

      is that my secondborn's father-in-law had seriously elevated cholesterol and found online that red pepper and garlic were good for that and started putting them into everything except his breakfast cereal (Lucky likes red pepper and garlic a whole lot).

      That was the only change he made to his diet and at his six month check-up, his levels were normal.

      Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

      by loggersbrat on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 09:08:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  All of the alliums are heart healthy - adding (6+ / 0-)

        garlic and onions (and shallots and leeks, if you have access) are a good idea for lots of things.

        Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

        by Wee Mama on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 09:46:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  my dad did the same thing with garlic - amazing (4+ / 0-)

        difference!  foods - we ARE what we eat!  and to be healthy, we have to stop eating "prepared" foods and go back to cooking and preparing fresh ourselves!

        (when was the last time anyone read the 'ingredients' of the prepared food we buy?  i do - now - religiously!)

        EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

        by edrie on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 11:40:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •   (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ... FYI, I do add cayenne pepper & garlic powder to my breakfast mix. just saying.

        But note also people:

        While "More studies are needed before doctors can recommend taking statins solely for Alzheimer’s and cancer, however do note that ... Statins also may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s …"

        ...and you may be too young to worry about the big AZ now, but
        really is the step by step additional increase in Statin dose not a simple and reasonable approach, as your MD advised?

        I tried it and am back on simvastatin @ full dose. Yes I am still in pain, but its persistence, while I was off of the statin, led me to conclude that my pain was coming from another cause.

  •  Tuna Contains Mercury So Nobody Should Eat (6+ / 0-)

    a lot of it. Oily fish include wild salmon, and sardines. Many people like salmon. If you don't like sardines, consider the big tins of large salmon sold in Mexican food sections of stores. You can break them up into dishes like chili or paella, anything that has a lot of flavoring, and you won't taste the sardines.

    See what other people think; I'm not educated in this but is 190 for cholesterol so high that you need immediate medication, or does it represent more of a long term risk that would give your lifestyle changes time to bear fruit?

    If you have trouble with almonds I wouldn't think you should eat much of them. Digestive trouble will cause inflammation and inflammation is now know to seriously complicate the heart/stroke risks from cholesterol. Some people think it's more important to minimize inflammation than cholesterol. That would include dental health and preventing or curing gum disease.

    I'll be interested to read the discussion.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 09:06:13 AM PST

  •  Had my gallbladder out in 2008. (5+ / 0-)

    Since then my cholesterol has held steady (within the healthy range), EXCEPT that the ratio of bad cholesterol to good has changed somewhat (an increase in the bad kind).

    My doctor doesn't have me on any medication for it at this point but is monitoring my levels on a regular basis. Meanwhile I try to eat as healthily as I can.

    Best of luck to you!

    There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

    by slksfca on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 09:06:18 AM PST

  •  Apples? (7+ / 0-)

    A colleague of mine (an MD) had problems some years ago and had good luck with similar dietary switches, but really emphasized the soluble fiber: oatmeal, like you, but also apples. Lots of apples. His lunch every day was six apples (small; maybe 3 large would be similar?). Skin and all, just skipped seeds and stems. It's apple season right now, and assuming you have no other problems that would preclude this, couldn't hurt to try!

  •  I've been using niacin and it seems to work. (10+ / 0-)

    I take a dose that produces a slight flush which I find uncomfortable so I take it just before sleep.
    It's a B vitamin so it's pretty safe.
    After the horror stories that I've heard about statins and your side effects, I'd change doctors before going back on them. Or at least get a second opinion.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 09:10:17 AM PST

  •  I don't take statins (5+ / 0-)

    I don't take anything, which astounds some and merely confuses others.

    However, my spouse takes simvastatin and I wish I knew whether it has anything to do with the mental haze we often must contend with-- or if it is something else, maybe merely no longer being a spring chicken.

    I must be dreaming...

    by murphy on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 09:15:20 AM PST

  •  My wife is using krill oil instead of statins (6+ / 0-)

    Seems to be working - and that is one medication she does not have to take...

    There are some studies showing lowering of LDL and increase of HDL.  But for her it was enough of a reduction to allow her to request successfully for elimination of statins.

    James L. Petigru, SC Unionist: "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum."

    by SC damn yankee on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 09:18:39 AM PST

  •  I'm facing this soon (4+ / 0-)

    I've been having a lot of gall bladder issues, and am worried that the Dr is going to want to take mine out too.  The pain is intermittant and quit tolerable...if I switch to a "no gall bladder" diet could that migitate the pain enoug that I wouldn't need it removed?

    Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

    by lostboyjim on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 09:19:37 AM PST

  •  I had a very similar experience with the same (9+ / 0-)

    statin and it lead to a long and woeful journey.  It took me many months to recover.

    My personal advice, since you asked, is to stay the hell off of the statin and work on your lipids via diet and exercise.   I got my LDLs into normal range by a basically vegan diet.  I eat occasional dairy when I can't avoid eating out.  

    Do you have a licensed nutritionist available for consultation?  That might help.

    In my own view, I am willing to live with a less than perfect lipid profile.  I am not willing to take statins.  

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 09:24:13 AM PST

  •  What about Metamucil tablets? (6+ / 0-)

    Or the Costco generic ones (much cheaper).  I take six of those every day (3/3) because I don't want to take a statin.

    You can't just add any fiber; it does matter which type and Metamucil has the right kind, psyllium, a soluble fiber. Make sure you drink plenty of water when you take them. You can also increase foods with soluble fiber in your diet, but it can be hard to eat enough of them.

  •  Eat oatmeal. (6+ / 0-)

    Not the hypersweetened instant stuff.

    3/4 cup (before cooking) quick oats, every morning. Toss in some raisins, milk, and brown sugar.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 09:25:56 AM PST

  •  My understanding right now is that (8+ / 0-)

    transfats are the cholesterol raisers- any pre-packaged food may have hidden transfats, most sugary foods are a high risk.  The red meat prohibition is being reconsidered.  Sugar turns to acid in the bloodstream and roughens the inside of blood vessels, giving them reason to hold onto cholesterol molecules.  It's pretty complex and so far every nutritional guideline widely held turns out to be dangerous to our health.  I suggest a doctor of Chinese medicine or a medical homeopath.  My sister is on the Paleo diet, part of building her immune system during chemo.  It would freak most doctors out, bacon and steak and eggs are highly recommended, no grains, no beans, no sugar, low-glycemic veggies.  She's 60, her blood tests show she's 30.  She's also about to be declared cured of cancer- zero indications in any testing- from Stage IV 18 months ago.  She credits her homeopath and oncologists who cooperated with him.  I just thank a loving universe I'm not losing another sister!  

    Look outside the box, experiment, cut sugar out.  

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 09:30:38 AM PST

  •  Sorry I can't help (4+ / 0-)

    I'm one of the lucky ones who can take simvastatin without problems.  I did however, pass out when taking lisonopril.  My head bounced off the floor.  Good luck in your quest.

  •  WHICH statin? What dose? (4+ / 0-)

    I researched statins a few years back when my doctor first prescribed one for me. I have gone back and forth over whether I actually take it.

    (1) Some statins have different rates of various side effects than others, including risk of diabetes. High-dose statins are associated with some increased risk of type 2 diabetes, but cognitive decline associated with diabetes is actually helped by some statins.

    (2) It's clear that overall morbidity and mortality from all causes is lower among people taking statins. There is some question whether this is due to the statins, or due to the fact that people on statins by definition are under the regular care of a doctor.

    (3) How serious are you about exercise? At least one study shows exercise capacity diminished by statins. But if you're not ACTUALLY seriously exercising, this is probably not a consideration.

    My research is not really up to date, and I HAVE NO MEDICAL TRAINING. Do your own Googling. I suspect the real answer may be trial and error: take one statin for a few weeks or months, see what happens, and if necessary switch to another one.

    Best to you!

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 09:34:59 AM PST

  •  Have you tried no-flush niacin? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, slowbutsure

    I take that in conjunction with simvastatin, and it seems to work well.

    Discuss that with your doctor.

  •  Sunflower oil (4+ / 0-)

    is said to lower bad LDL. I use a bit on salads or on the rare occasion I fry something, like catfish. Sunflower oil is easy on the system also.
    Garlic and red peppers are suppose to be good for lowering bad LDL.

    El pueblo unido jamás será vencido. The people united will never be defeated

    by mint julep on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 09:45:50 AM PST

  •  Read this book "Enter the Zone" by Dr. Barry Sears (3+ / 0-)

    It is around 20 years old now but still worth reading. You will understand a lot more about how powerful your diet choices are in controlling blood chemistry. Drugs should be avoided if at all possible. Especially those that make you feel sick.

  •  Red rice yeast (3+ / 0-)

    Reportedly lowers LDL

  •  Niacin (3+ / 0-)

    Try niacin

    From the article:

    The safest, most effective, and cheapest treatment for high cholesterol is a vitamin that costs 7 cents per pill, according to a new report from Orthomolecular Medicine News Service (OMNS), a nonprofit research group in Wichita, Kansas.

    Vitamin B3—also called niacin or nicotinic acid—has been safely used for 60 years to control cholesterol, with some 42,000 scientific papers in PubMed describing its benefits and effects.

    “Unlike statin drugs, which mainly reduce LDL cholesterol, niacin is a very safe, effective treatment for all lipid issues, improving levels of both good and bad cholesterol and triglycerides, ” says Bradley Bale, MD, medical director of the Heart Health Program for Grace Clinic in Lubbock, Texas.

    One landmark study published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that at therapeutic doses, niacin boosted HDL by up to 35 percent and cut triglycerides by as much as 50 percent.

    "[W]e shall see the reign of witches pass over . . . and the people, recovering their true spirit, restore their government to its true principles." Jefferson

    by RenMin on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 10:01:26 AM PST

  •  Hard position here (13+ / 0-)

    There are many doctors who read Daily Kos. But,
    I suspect none of us are going to be eager to make recommendations for you specifically. You aren't our patient,  we don't have a full story, we can't ask follow-up questions, we don't have a physical exam, and we don't have labs. We would consider it inappropriate to give medical advice in this situation. I know this stinks. Those of us who have strayed into giving advice in such situations in the past have probably regretted it. (I have.)

    Do note that there is a great deal of incredibly bad advice being given in this thread. Really bad advice.

    If you don't trust your doctor to discuss this situation fully with you, ensuring your understanding of the situation from HER perspective, ensuring that she understands the situation from YOUR perspective...then trying to recommend a plan that is the best match for BOTH, then you should strongly consider switching doctors if this is at all possible for you. (Or you can decide that on balance, you still want to see her because the good outweighs the bad. In any event, please let her know if you are not taking prescribed medications or if you are trying other nonprescription therapies. Some are not as safe as you might think. "Natural" doesn't automatically mean side-effect free or interaction-free.)

    Some docs are not good fits for their patients. It happens. If you don't feel like you can trust your doc, or you feel like she isn't listening to you and trying to work with you, then switching may be the best bet. The next doc I meet that hasn't had a patient switch due to irreconcilable differences will be the first one.

    The plural of anecdote is not data.

    by Skipbidder on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 10:07:24 AM PST

  •  You might check out Zetia + something (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCalSal, RiveroftheWest, slowbutsure

    I am a biochemist but not an MD, so take this as just anecdotal advice to consider and talk over with your doctor. But I had a similar background, tried every statin under every regimen for the last 13 years. My last regimen was the newest statin, pitavastatin, I tried as little as 0.5 mg/week and still had severe muscle and joint pain to the point I couldn't walk. It would take many months to recover from each episode after quitting the statin. I really tried and you should too- statins are the best medication for reducing LDL-C, if you can tolerate them.

    Some background- I eat a low cholesterol diet and take 1.2 grams of fish oil a day. Originally diagnosed with mixed lipidemia, very high triglycerides (TAG) and LDL-C, with normal HDL. I recently had the highest small LDL-particle count (>4000) at the clinic that they had ever seen (as measured by NMR, I think it was so off scale that it was beyond the range of measurement). I can't remember my total cholesterol right now but it has been higher than 300 mg/dl in the past.
    But with that last statin I started combining with 10 mg Zetia (ezetimibe)  and my TAG went low and I finally got down to a tolerable LDL-C level. But had to go off the statin and ezetimibe alone helped but was not enough to reduce my LDL-C to an acceptable level. TAG was still good. I had no problems at all with Zetia, which blocks cholesterol uptake in the gut. Some clinicians might tell you this only blocks cholesterol from food, but that is not quite correct, it will also block reuptake of cholesterol  that is secreted by the liver in bile (your liver still secretes bile even though you don't have a gall bladder). Of course, your liver will probably decide to just increase synthesis of cholesterol in response to Zetia, which is going to be the primary source of LDL-C if you are on a low cholesterol diet. The combo of Zetia and a low-dose statin might be very effective for you. It was for me while it lasted.

    But I can't handle even low dose statin so right now I am combining Zetia with 135 mg delayed release fenofibric acid (FA) (generic available). My clinician is doubtful this will work since I have already reduced my TAG with fish oil and Zetia, and FA works by reducing TAG and VLDL (which can be converted to LDL). But pasted below is a link to a clinical study showing combo Zetia and FA works as good as a statin. I will get a new blood workup in mid-december and if you message me I'll let you know my numbers.

    A better second choice might be to just try the Niacin, by itself or combined with Zetia. Clinical studies have shown this is quite effective. I have avoided the niacin route (as of now) because I am concerned about the flushing and GI erosion that it may cause. But if my above combo doesn't work, I will be trying Niacin and Zetia.

    Unfortunately, cholesterol and lipid metabolism is a very complex subject (I teach it to med students), and it is difficult for the average person to get a grasp on why their blood lipids are off and what all the drugs do. If you are having trouble with standard therapy, you may benefit from reading some primary medical literature at:

    Increased exercise should always be included - not just drugs. But it is important to get your LDL-C down, so you don't have to write a diary like Meteor Blades did today.

    Hope this helps!

    Here is that Zetia- FA article:

  •  Canned tuna can have a lot of mercury; I would (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    not eat it often.  I suggest lots of beans, vegetables, fruits and rice to make a complete protein.  And get your fasting cholesterol tested again - mine varies a lot.

    ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

    by slowbutsure on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 10:45:31 AM PST

  •  I haven't had gallbladder issues (4+ / 0-)

    yet. But, my doctor put me on simvastatin (Zocor) and it was great for lowering my cholesterol, but greatly reduced my QoL. My legs ached terribly and made me so miserable, that I stopped taking it, with the doctor's approval.

    After a few months, she put me on pravastatin (Pravachol) and that has been just fine. None of the side effects that I had with simvastatin. It didn't lower my cholesterol as much, but it's still well below 200. It is also slightly cheaper (less than my regular $5 Rx co-pay)  and there's anecdotal evidence it may reduce the odds of diabetes. The same study concluded that simvastatin might increase one's chances for diabetes.

  •  advice asked, advice given (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, FarWestGirl

    Find a different doctor, different medical group, different hospital, maybe different state. They are not the same at all. Beware of a doctor of good faith, she will kill you, she will kill her family, she will kill herself.

    Have you found any double-blind scientific experiment that concludes eating cholesterol turns into cholesterol in the bloodstream? I haven't. If you do, better read it and try to check who performed it for whom, whether a drug company hired it. Right now, you seem to believe an egg shows up automatically.

    Have you checked who set this 190 you are worried about and why and what the measured consequences of missing it by a little are in reality? Would not hurt to check. You will find it's only an educated approximate guess not taking in your personal risk factors, because the med sys will not determine your individual ones, too expensive, does not fit medical system.

    A lot of advice given by doctors is not truly expert but fantasy, for examples advising patients to drink eight glasses of water per day, which their mother told them, and who read it on a poster of the wall of the lunchroom when they were kids. "Don't eat salt if you have high blood pressure" is another too broad medical trope from doctors, and nurses, although about 1 in 5 persons are salt tolerant, and you do well to have salt for your kidneys, peritoneum, and skin to function in keeping you well. In the end, you have to decide for yourself whether to trust your doctor.  With the internet, you are no longer helplessly dependent.

    Doctors are quite often as ordinary as a sock. Find a different doctor seriatim till you get help. And good luck, you will need it. Advice asked, advice given.

  •  Cut my cholesterol #'s in half... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... by religiously taking a combo of red yeast rice, niacin (no-flush), beta sitosterol plant sterols and policosanols.
    In 6 months. I eat a lot of apples too. Blew the doctor who wanted to put me on Zocor's mind. I'm not a doctor and I'm not giving medical advice, just passing along what worked for me. One other thing, I don't eat at fast food joints at all anymore.

  •  Read this before you make a decision (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, FarWestGirl
    I personally recommend reading "Overdosed America" by John Abramson, M.D. I think drugs should be a last resort and not casually prescribed as many doctors do, especially as I've known people that were seriously damaged by side effects. Also read this article about the size of LDL particles related to risk:
    Re Skipbidder's comments, we don't know all your risk factors, etc. but after having such a terrible experience with Simvastatin, I know I wouldn't take the same medication again and would definitely find a new doctor.

  •  fish oil! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Amarin has a pure fish oil capsule (Vascepa)that they have demonstrated lowers LDL.  But you don't need to buy their prescription capsule - you can get the same in fish oil supplements.  Also, FDA is in the process of denying approval to Amarin for broader indications until they prove that lowering LDLs lowers cardiovascular risk. Yes, you read that right - there is some doubt about it.  IN any case, just say no to statin drugs - there are well known problems with them.

  •  On salmon (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I used to dislike it too. It turns out that what I didn't like was farm raised atlantic salmon that had been sitting in a refrigerator a few days. Very fresh wild-caught pacific/alaskan salmon has a much milder flavor. You might find it as delicious as I do. Of course, it is also expensive.

    Farm-raised salmon has a terrible fatty acid profile anyway, so it's worth avoiding.

    You might try (farmed) tilapia. You can get it flash-frozen in bags which makes it quite easy to work with. I personally avoid the product of China option but that is straightforward. The flavor is very mild and it is easy to cook deliciously.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 01:13:12 PM PST

  •  Each person is different. (3+ / 0-)

    If you have a bad reaction to a drug, you probably shouldn't be taking it. I had problems with statins, got no help from my GP and ended up spending money out of pocket to go to an endocrinologist. She put me on a minimal dose of oestrogen, which sorted out the cholesterol problems in addition to a lot of things like mild depression which had been below the radar before. This may or may not work for you. A simpler solution might be trying an OTC supplement like Cholest-Off.

    "The 'Middle' is a crowded place - that is where the effective power is - the extreme right and left might annoy governments, but the middle terrifies them." Johnny Linehan

    by northsylvania on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 02:26:31 PM PST

  •  You might check out Cholestyramine (Questran). (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My docs put me on it to help deal with some troublesome digestive system symptoms that persisted after having my gall bladder removed. I was advised at the time that it might be something I would have to take ever after --- but turned out that I was eventually able to wean off and discontinue.

    Not advising you to try it, but offered as something additional you might explore and discuss with your physician(s).

  •  This is a long shot (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But I just returned from a scientific meeting which included a presentation on a substance (ursolic acid) derived from a very natural source (apple skins) that apparently has anti diabetic and pro muscle effects that are readily demonstrated.  Some studies in fact show good results on cholesterol levels.  In addition the compound in question, ursolic acid, has a very good profile - it is unlikely to be toxic.

    There are pills containing ursolic acid that are available over the internet.

    Or, you can eat 4 whole apples or their peels a day.  That should give you around 200 mg of ursolic acid.

    If nothing changes in a month or two - well, it didn't work.

    Good luck!

    ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge -- Charles Darwin

    by jotter on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 06:34:15 PM PST

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