All About Nutrition

Heart Health Questions and Answers

Lisa Nelson - Heart Health and Weight Loss ExpertVital Health Zone is proud to announce Lisa Nelson, who is our resident heart health and weight loss expert and who is available to answer questions about heart health and weight loss.

Lisa has a private practice and is available for distance consultation, via telephone or email, as well as consultation at her practice.

Lisa answers all your heart health and weight loss questions below:


Q:I am looking to lower my triglyceride and cholesterol levels without the aid of drugs.

My cholesterol levels went up on lipidil but my triglyceride levels were coming down. I had a lot of nausea and was exhausted all the time so I stopped taking it. My triglyceride level is 6.4 (should be under 2) and my cholesterol level is over 7 with only 1 point good cholesterol.

I only have one kidney as I lost the other with my spleen and part of my pancreas when I had a liposarcoma (cancer). My remaining kidney has about 50% function.

I use a product named Monavie Pulse which has worked to lower levels for many friends and associates but not for me. I take salmon omega, garlic and green tea extract. I exercise 4 days a week for half an hour at the gym and do at least one extra fast paced walk per week. I am well within my healthy weight range.

My doctor has me off carbohydrates except for cereal for breakfast and there is a small amount of sugar in my low fat, low sugar yogurt. I don't eat fatty food and only eat red meat once per month. I eat two serves of fruit per day and a lot of vegetables. Neither of my parents had heart problems. I have battled this problem for many years.

What other natural means can I try that won't harm my kidney?

Thank you.


A: Here are some tips for lowering your triglyceride levels:

1. Limit simple sugars. 

Unlike other types of cholesterol, triglycerides are affected by sugars you eat.  You need to limit foods such as soft drinks, candy, baked goods, syrup, table sugar, jelly, and honey.  A high intake of fruit juice can also raise triglyceride levels since juice contains a high content of natural sugars.

Does your doctor know you use Monavie Pulse? Is he in favour of your using it? I have a good friend that promotes this product. However, I do not recommend you use this in your situation. I encourage you to do a little trial and error. Discontinue to supplement for ~4-6 weeks and have your levels rechecked. It's very possible the drink is causing your triglycerides to be high.

2. Limit alcohol. 

If your triglycerides are borderline high or high risk, discuss your alcohol intake with your MD.  My recommendation for borderline high (200-500 mg/dL) is to limit alcohol to no more than 1 drink per day for women, 2 drinks per day for men.  One drink equals 12 ounces beer, 4 oz wine, or 1 ½ ounces liquor.  If your triglyceride level is high risk (great than 500 mg/dL) I recommend NO alcohol.  Again, discuss your situation with your MD.

3. Lose weight and/or maintain a healthy weight. 

Many times weight loss alone will lower your triglycerides.  Losing as little as 10% body weight could drop your triglycerides back to the normal range.

4. Choose a low-fat diet.

To achieve lower triglyceride levels, maintain a dietary intake of 30% or less of total calories coming from fat

A healthy diet for normal triglyceride levels should consist of whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and lean meat.

5. Increase your physical activity.

Boosting your activity can lower your triglycerides up to 40%.  If you're not currently active, talk to your MD before starting an activity program.  To reduce triglycerides, be physically active at least 30 minutes on 3 or more days each week.  The more activity the better.

All the best,

Please note that the information provided is for educational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Consult with your medical physician regarding appropriateness of using supplements in your healing process.


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