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Gluten and High Cholesterol

Cholesterol Lowering Medications and Gluten – What you should know

Gluten can cause an elevation in cholesterol levels leading to the prescription of a class of drugs known as statins. Common examples include Zocor, Lipitor, and Crestor. Unfortunately, these medications can contribute to a variety of health problems. The following video discusses what you should know…

Why Using Cholesterol Drugs Will Never Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease…

The medications used to lower cholesterol cause nutritional problems that increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. In essence, medicating cholesterol is an exercise in futility. Consider the diagram below:

cholesterol drugs scam

Natural Options to Reduce Heart Disease Risk

  1. Take 2-3 grams per day of omega 3 fatty acids. You can also get these essential fats from grass fed beef, cold water fish, and chia, and flax seeds. These fats help to regulate the thickness of your blood and they also help your body regulate excessive inflammation. Additionally, they have been shown to elevate HDL (good cholesterol) and reduce triglycerides (fat in your bloodstream).
  2. EXERCISE – research shows that as little as 10 minutes of exercise per day can increase muscle tone, help with weight loss, and reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and many other chronic degenerative disease. For an easy to follow 10 minute home workout plan, go here <<<
  3. Consider the use of Niacin (otherwise known as vitamin B3). This B vitamin is more effective than any drug at reducing heart disease risk. It works so well, pharmaceutical companies created a prescription version of it. The down fall to using high doses of vitamin B3 is the “Flush” effect. This at higher levels this vitamin will flush the skin and creating a warming sensation over the body. Many people find it uncomfortable.
  4. Stop Eating all grains. The TRUE gluten free diet is the best plan to get this done. If you aren’t familiar with it, I encourage you to check out the Glutenology Health Matrix to get started.

Gluten is a common cause of high cholesterol

In my clinic, I commonly see patients with high cholesterol. Going gluten free for many of them leads to dramatic reductions. I have seen 100 point drops in some patients. The irony in this is that many doctors and nutritionists will recommend whole grain as a treatment recommendation. You see the same recommendations coming from the TV. Honey Nut Cheerios, Shredded Wheat, etc – all being pushed to help drop cholesterol levels. It is estimated that anywhere between 3-30% of the U.S. population has a problem with gluten sensitivity. It would be appropriate for health care providers to take note and demand a change in the generic recommendations being given. It would also be prudent for the government to take note and make drastic changes in the food guide pyramid, as it is the tool being used to teach our children about proper nutrition. Learn about the high cholesterol myth here <<<

41 Responses

  1. My husb is symptom free from polymyalgia rheumatica after going gluten free. I guessed that I was also sensitive during the course of working hard to 70 lbs. over 3 years. Each time I’d eat any grain product, my weight would go up 3 lbs. overnight and not come back down without weeks worth of effort. I’m now a grain free, dairy free Paleo eater and my immune system is finally calming down. No more UTIs, canker sores, cold sores, or Keratosis pilaris. Thanks Dr. Osborne for being a GF warrior (I’m one too)

  2. Last August I self-diagnosed and went on a gluten-free diet. Because I live in Mexico and didn’t believe that a gastroenterologist here would be up on the latest on celiac/gluten intolerance, I just went on the diet and felt better almost immediately, GERD disappeared along with other symptoms. Then I discovered Dr. Peter Osborne and this site. Is it too late to be tested for celiac and gluten intolerance. At the least, I believe I’m gluten intolerant. Please reply. Thanks.

  3. I have fibromyalgia, too. I had celiac symptoms from the age of THREE, but diagnosed myself finally at the age of 52 (seven years ago). Doctors were clueless that whole time.

    I used to take 50 mg of 12 hour release codeine twice a day for five years, just to take the edge of the horrific pain.

    After two weeks on a gluten-free diet I was able to stop the codeine.

    When the pain came back two months later, I went on an elimination diet and found that I can’t tolerate any food high in lectins (gluten is one lectin), which includes all grains (rice is a grain, too), eggs, dairy (yogourt seems okay in moderation), legumes (which include soy and peanuts) and nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, pepper, eggplant). Lectins cause me to have joint pain, migraines and buckling joints.

    I also can’t tolerate foods high in salicylic acid, which includes almost all herbs and spices, honey, most oils (I use lard instead), all fruit except for peeled pears, most vegetables. Foods high in salicylates cause me to have horrible muscle pain (even my skin hurts when I eat those). Oh, and I forgot to mention ASPIRIN! It is pure salicylic acid. If I ever have a heart attack, aspirin would finish me off. 😉

    My sister in Germany is obviously gluten intolerant. She had both the blood test and the biopsy, and both were negative. Her doctor says she can’t possibly Celiac disease! He is WRONG, and I have told her so. But without proof beforehand, she absolutely will NOT give up her favourite foods and go on an elimination diet. So, she is sick and keeps suffering instead.

    My youngest daughter had a blood test as well which was negative. She was a teenager at the time, and wouldn’t go gluten free if she didn’t have medical proof that she had to. Fortunately she has smartened up in the meantime and is gluten free and feels much better without gluten!

    1. I took the 23 & me health test. Can get pricy but they do give a discount on occasion. Best thing I ever did. It showed I have one of the two DNA genes that show Celiac disease. It also stated that most people show the same. Any Celiac disease test will come out negative because you don’t have both genes. I’m sure you are right about your sister in Germany. By eliminating gluten, she will feel much better. I did.

  4. This, very much. I’ve been staying off ‘gluten’ (wheat, rye, barley) for years but still had problems. Esp with hives and rashes around my stomach and lower back area.

    When I stopped eating corn the rashes and hives quickly went away. No more constant sleepless nights trying not to itch constantly. No more need for allergy pills and steroid creams at night to help reduce and relieve the hive pain.

  5. I went to a health/weight loss course last week and the woman running the course had never heard of CORN being a problem for celiac patients. They actually recommend corn as a replacement for other grains containing gluten. Well maybe they need to do as much research as the common person.

    1. Natalie,
      I have double blinded all major allergy testing companies in the US. Elisa Act is the most accurate and reliable. I wouldn’t consider using any other test.
      Dr. O

  6. I would like to know if anyone else has gone gluten free and had their LDL cholesterol go down. I exercise every day, my HDL and triglycerides are great, but my LDL is very high at 196. I have tried everything and just started last week on gluten free. I am really hoping this will be the answer for my high LDL.

  7. Diane, I went gluten/lactose free this past May. My triglycirides have gone, my good cholesterol up and my bad cholesterol down. I do take 10 mg of Pravastatin daily. However, this is probabley the 8tholesterol drug I have tried. None of the others worked. Before going GF/LF I had digestive issues and do not believe I digested my medication properly. I feel confident the combination of both lowered my bad & increased my good. Going GF/LF has made a remarkable difference in my overall health. Sinus issues decreasing, nasal polyps shrinking, do not need my inhaler for Asthma near as much as before. Positive change.

  8. just want to say i just started gf cuz i have high choleseral and the gf bread is not bad ,stuff is exspensive but worth it .

  9. Lescol and Pravachol (Margaret’s choice above) seem to have less effect on muscles than other statins. CoQ10 supplementation with statins has mixed results, but it can’t hurt. Margaret’s symptoms mimic mine (ultra high triglycerides, nasal polyp surgery #2 after 20 years). Going to try Gluten free. Thanks.

  10. I love this:
    ==> raises blood pressure ==> causes muscle weakness ==> that leads to muscle pain ==> that prevents exercise ==> and leads to weight gain and elevations in cholesterol.
    however, we need to add:
    statins ===>decrease cholesterol===> decreased testosterone levels==>decreased lean muscle mass and increased obesity
    statins.===>decreased testosterone levels==>increased insulin resistance===> higher glucose levels===>higher risk of Diabetes

  11. Dr Osborne,

    I have tried to manage pain for years now and want to know that on those days that you have to take some medication for pain just to make it , what pain medicine is the least damaging ?

    Lori Brock

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  14. I’m gluten sensitive and always had cholesterol on the low end of normal. Last time on gluten it was 131. Two years after going gluten free (note I reduced grains overall as well as giving up gluten — also gave up dairy and ate more healthy meat and veggies) it was 165. Now I read that some doctors think that under 150 is too low. (Read that low cholesterol can keep you from absorbing enough nutrients.)

    So I think going off gluten raised my cholesterol but in my case it looks like it was a good thing.

    Any research on this?

    1. Going gluten free doesn’t necessarily raise cholesterol. Often times those going gluten free increase their intake of animal and plant based saturated fats. This can contribute to an increase in cholesterol.
      Dr. Osborne

  15. My cholesterol was 275 my doctor put me on a statin 10mg I’ve been working out eating right so is gluten good or bad I work out every day

  16. My daughter is 9 and was diagnosed with high bad cholesterol and high triglycerides but has the best diet in the house. She has a lot of stomach issues with puking after eating a lot of things but really doesn’t eat very much red meat or anything real fatty. She also has some very rotten gas that she says if she holds it in it hurts her tummy. I have Celliac’s Disease and have had her tested and it was negative but I feel like they may be related is that a legitimate reason to have followed up on and how do I go about having it followed up on when they don’t seem to want to revisit it?

    1. Jamie,
      You concerns are very valid. Traditional testing for celiac disease can be very misleading, and is often inaccurate. One of my patients had more than 10 biopsies over a 20 year period before the diagnosis of celiac disease was confirmed. In essence, she suffered for 20 years because doctors did not do their due diligence. This article might be helpful on this topic.
      I would highly recommend that you have your daughter genetically tested for gluten sensitivity. It is an easy, non-invasive way to get an accurate answer.
      All the best to you and your daughter,
      Dr. Osborne

      1. I was diagnosed with Celiac 15 years ago. I tried niacine and red yeast rice. My cholesterol and and triglycerides were still high so the doctor recommended atvorstatin. After a year of increasing muscle pains and almost unable to walk I stopped it.I have never felt better. Went for blood work 6 months later and all levels are high again. What should I do?

    2. Please look up the blood test or genetic test for Familial Hypercholesterolemia – High cholesterol in children can be a symptom simply from this test which is very dangerous if left untreated.

  17. Hi, I was tested for Celiac about 3 months ago after dealing with digestive issues for about a year and migraines for years. The test was negative. It seemed that my issues were connected to pastas and wheat based foods. So I cut these foods out. My digestive issues cleared up. After the test I was told I wasn’t with in the category of the disease but would be in the sensitivity. So I went GF. My cholesterol was high but not in the levels above guidelines 225 to be on medication. That was last year. I just went in now and it jumped to 252. Is this normal for GF. Can it be reversed and stay GF?

  18. This is very informative. I was diagnosed with celiacs about four years ago and a little over a year ago I started getting lazy about makng sure that I was eating gluten free and then gradually i went back to eating gluten. Now for the first time in my life I have high cholesterol and high triglycerides. The doctor wants to put me on meds.

  19. I have been gluten free for 3 years mainly for skin irritation and rashes. There is improvement however I still have breakouts. My cholesterol is so high it is off the chart and I cannot use statins due to the negative side affects. Any advice as to what could be contributing to either issue I have mentioned? Thanks

  20. Diagnosed 15 yrs ago with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis with little to no information given. Was told to take levothyroxine without food but no mention of hot coffee affecting absorption. Fast forward to 1 year ago, having gained over 130 pounds despite following what was suppose to be a healthy high fiber grain diet with “healthy vegetable oils”, it all came to a massive illness when my body finally had enough and my autoimmune disorder took over. Depression, weight gain, multiple thyroid nodules, stiff achy joints, chronic pain…then the stomach bloating and diarrhea started to the point where I was heading towards not being able to work. Gastroenterologist did help by using probiotics and digestive enzymes to reset my gut flora. Worked with a doctor that suggested I might be celiac and need to try to eliminate gluten! First step and this made such a difference! Eliminated gluten before I was tested and would not reintroduce for any reason on the face of this earth! I still had intermittent problems and discovered with my autoimmune thyroid it was causing leaking gut syndrome! Eliminated grains and really started to get my life back! Still had episodes where I would be hit with debilitating symptoms…next was dairy! Wow, now I could live my life again. Getting to the “root cause” was essential. Everyone would say how can you eat such a strict diet and my reply is how can I not when I eat the wrong foods I am down for 3-7 days with excruciating symptoms! Almost one year down this new road and lifestyle and have lost 35lbs slowly without even trying to diet! In fact, I eat better than I ever have in my life. Organic fresh fruits and vegetables, grass fed beef, chicken, pork and wild caught fish! Still have some strange triggers I haven’t figured out like a full blown reaction to spaghetti squash and new potatoes in the past few weeks. It’s about time to have full testing so I truly know what NOT to eat. The AIP lifestyle is great but the elimination and reintroduction is not worth it! Thought my cholesterol would lower by now, some slight improvement, but learning that the fat that is leaving my cells goes to the blood stream so not uncommon to have slight increase in cholesterol during first months of weight loss! OK, so hang in there and keep on going! Without glutens, grains, processed foods, sugars, dairy…I know this weight will not be back. When I walk I feel like 15 years of pain and suffering have left and my joints are now feeling better that 20 years ago…hence the removal of all items causing an immune reaction. Have even eliminated gluten from makeup and such! Chemicals and preservatives are killing this nation! Changed shampoo to all natural without artificial fragrances & chemicals and for the first time in years my thinning hair now has shine and IS growing back healthy and fuller. Even eliminated hair spray (so hard as have been using for years but my husband was wise enough to keep saying why do you breathe in that stuff). It’s a hard road by a good one…getting my life back! Only wish I had know 15 years ago what I have learned over the past year and I would have never even gotten here. Maybe someone suffering from these symptoms (especially if you have thyroid issues which or exponentially growing in this country) will read this and start on the true road to healing. Thanks for great websites like this that have helped ME on my journey.

    1. Wow Karla!!
      Amazing story! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I am so glad you found real answers through diet and lifestyle.
      Here’s to continued health!
      Dr. O

  21. I stopped having any gluten for close to three years due to digestive issues. Still don’t eat it. My cholesterol is higher than it’s ever been. I have tried all the dietary advise, flax, healthy fats, etc etc. It continues to go up and heart disease runs high in my family so, yes, I am starting on a statin.

  22. I went gluten free 14 months ago due to a Celiac diagnosis. My cholesterol levels rose dramatically, particularly LDL. My total cholesterol immediately went from 190 to 220 in a short period of time. And now, a year later it is 216. Only my LDL is high, triglycerides are very low. I think I will get the test that measures small vs large particle cholesterol, as this appears to be important.

    40 years of Celiac resulted in my body making adaptations. Now it’s compensating for the lack of gluten. And by the way… Gluten/Celiac gave me Osteoporosis which in turn gave me multiple fractured vertebrae.

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