The Conclusion of A Daughter’s Journey to Help Save her Mother’s Life: Results – 106 drop in LDL Cholesterol

November 1, 2012 – The results are finally in  . . . Cecile dropped an amazing 106 points in her LDL cholesterol in 3 months taking Nutrim®.  She took the challenge and followed through and had success.  This journey has sparked something inside for Cecile that is motivating her to make additional healthy lifestyle changes that not only affect her cholesterol levels and heart health but, also  her health in general.  Watch the video as Cecile reveals the following:

  • Amazing Before and After Cholesterol Test Scores from the Home Access Test kit and Her Latest Doctor’s Visit
  • Improved Lifestyle Changes Promoting her Overall Health-Quit Smoking!
  • Ways Cecile Used Nutrim®

As we now wrap up the beginning of Cecile’s journey to lower her cholesterol naturally by using Nutrim® – 100% natural oat β-Glucan super food, you can’t help but wonder what’s next . . .

I’m not just talking about my mother, because in this last video, she spells it out pretty clear that she intends on taking Nutrim® whether I am employed with the manufacturer or not.

But honestly, what IS next?  You may be reading this, holding your recent high cholesterol test scores, thinking this very same thought.  And I’m here to relay a message: “There is really no excuse.”

The words below are taken from an editorial article published in our company publication, Inside Nutrition (Winter 2012),  by one of our company’s executives, John Hunter:

We want to lose weight but only if we can do it by eating whatever we want whenever we want it.  We’re eating whatever we want whenever we want it.  We’re addicted to sugar, salt, and fat.  Our attitudes are similar to a child who stomps his feet and says, ‘I don’t wanna drink my milk.’ Yet, secretly, we hate the way we look, we hate the way we feel and we’re terrified of getting old . . . heart disease, cancer, and, (possibly the worse of all), dementia.

Despite all of this time, most of us keep telling ourselves that there is time. ‘Everything will be alright if I start next week, next month, next year, after my daughter graduates, after I get that raise . . .’

 Sorry, pal, time has run out.

 With what we know today about food, life-style and nutrition, there is absolutely NO REASON, (and yes, he’s shouting), for any of us to continue doing what we’ve been doing to ourselves. Good nutrition, knowledge of what will keep you healthy, and prevention are more easily attained today than at any point in our history.  We’re idiots if we don’t take advantage of [these] opportunities.  

Do you remember what I talked about in our very first blog together introducing our Nutrim® Video Series with Cecile? The clock’s ticking, so don’t let time run out like it did for my father because honestly, “There IS no excuse.”

cholesterol results chart

Cecile's Cholesterol Test Results Indicate 106 Drop in LDL "Bad" Cholesterol

Week 2: Lowering Cholesterol Naturally using Nutrim-My Mom Cut Out Her Sleeping Pill

September 6, 2012 – My mom’s overall experience with Nutrim is shaping up as she perks up with LOTS of energy after experiencing a minor pitfall during week 1.  She is shifting out of her comfort zone of just mixing the Nutrim powder in liquid by testing out other quick and easy ways to get her daily 2 scoops. Find out the other ways my mom tried Nutrim this week by watching below!

Cecile’s Nutrim Benefits this Week:


It’s only week 2 and She’s shouting Nutrim from the Rooftops!

I was completely shocked when week 2 came.  My mom insisted on knowing ways she could recommend Nutrim to friends, co-workers, and family members.  She didn’t need a low cholesterol test score to help her move forward in full-force sharing her recent positive experiences with our product, Nutrim.  Nevertheless, improved cholesterol test results are sometimes the necessary motivator for people to share their story, but not with my mom.  The increase in energy, regularities of her bowel movements, and lack of after-taste is what keeps her moving forward with this product.  She also continuously mentions how “champion race horses eat oats too”!

My Mother Believes Water is Connected to Weight Loss

In addition to lowering her cholesterol naturally, a small struggle she has been facing stems from being able to cut down (and cut-out caffeine) in an effort to up the water in her diet.  As a teenager, I found it hard to reconcile myself with “mother knows best”!  But lately, it’s been hard to ignore my mother as she continues to go on about the importance water and its benefits–transports nutrients throughout our body.  These constant reminders  from her make me realize that drinking diet soda does not equal weight loss.  Just some food (or drink) for thought!  Since starting Nutrim, my mom has been trading in the cans of Diet Coke for a water bottle and Nutrim2Go tablets.

Nutrim Surprises Her by its Versatility

In the video, my mom talks about several ways she has personally tried Nutrim.  She has mixed it in juice, coffee creamer, yogurt, and eggs.  As mentioned in her first week, she dove into using a heart-healthier version of butter.  Nutrim was originally developed by the USDA as a fat-replacer so adding it to butter makes sense.  My personal goal in support of my Mother’s Nutrim journey is to try and encourage her to substitute Nutrim for ingredients like flour, sour cream, butter, and mayonnaise.  I believe that the more times she fits Nutrim into her day; the more successful her next cholesterol test will be.

A Daughter’s Journey to Help Save her Mother’s Life

August 10, 2012 – July 2008 was unlike any summer month I had ever experienced. After agonizing for almost four long weeks, I was being rushed into emergency surgery from the Hospital’s ER with the diagnosis of an aggravated hernia. I didn’t realize it at the time, but recovering in a hospital was the least of my worries.

My mother, sister, and boyfriend had all been to visit me in the ICU, but there was one visitor missing.  Hours passed before I discovered who my next ICU visitor was . . . the Kankakee County Coroner’s office??? My hospital room was the last number dialed on my father’s cell phone, which emergency workers fished from a car wreck boiling down the last memories of my father to a voice heard over a 2 minute phone call.  He was calling to say that he was driving down to see me and visit his grandchildren. That phone call would be the last time I would speak to my father – EVER.

The Daily Journal reported “the driver [being] southbound on I-57 near the Bradley-Bourbonnais interchange at 12:09 p.m. when the vehicle crossed the median strip, crossed the northbound lanes, ran through a fence and hit a crane” (“Two Killed…” 2008).

Later, it was revealed that what took the life of my father was not the accident itself, but what transpired seconds before the accident took place.  Charles J., 57, suffered a heart attack that caused him to lose control of his vehicle (Byrns 2008).   Yes, a HEART ATTACK!  The coroner’s prognosis completely blind-sided our family. And yes, we knew for years that our father was not a true picture of health.  However, there was never any indication of heart disease, other than knowing that his father had died of a heart attack at the golden age of 50. My father’s primary cause of death, as indicated on his death certificate, was Atherosclerosis.  I learned that you could develop this condition due to: elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, high blood pressure, and cigarette smoking.

Last month marked, the 4th “angel-versary”, of my father’s horrific passing from Coronary Heart Disease.  When I landed a job working at FutureCeuticals Direct in 2011, and found out that they were on the brink of expanding the distribution of their heart-health product, Nutrim, which helps lower cholesterol naturally; I knew this had to be a sign from above.  With one parent gone, I only have one left—my mother.  This weekly video series will document a Nutrim–beginner’s journey–starring my mother, Cecile.

To listen to Cecile’s story, watch below.

Video Highlights:
Name:  Cecile
Gender: Female  Age: 58
Marital Status:  Widowed (4 years)
Occupation:  Nurse, (30 years)
Youngest of 5 siblings (1 male, 4 females)
Cholesterol Total: 265; LDL:183; HDL: 61
Gained 22 lbs over past year; weighs 220.

Family History: 
Mother died at age 57 – suffered from chronic hypertension– issues with cholesterol unknown.
Father at age 79 – died of massive heart attack with no prior heart conditions known.
1 Brother; age: 65- 2 yrs ago suffered a 5 bypass coronary; 90% occluded due to high cholesterol.
1 Sister; age: 62 currently suffering from chronic hypertension on-going for the past 20 years and has a history of high cholesterol.

 Cecile’s Personal Goals while taking Nutrim: lower cholesterol naturally, lose weight, gain energy, avoid side effects and be able to live a long life without taking prescription meds.

Citation:
“Two Killed in Interstate 57 Crash.” E-Editions. Daily Journal, 1 Aug. 2008. Web. 25 July 2012. <http://daily-journal.com/archives/dj/display.php?id=424991>.
Byrns, Bill. “Grassy Medians Meant to Contain Accidents Have a Fatal Flaw.” E-Editions. Daily Journal, 6 Sept. 2008. Web. 25 July 2012. <http://daily-journal.com/archives/dj/display.php?id=424991>.

Other Issues With Atherosclerosis

Know Your Blood-Flow

Atherosclerosis can narrow arteries and decrease blood supply to just about any part of the body.  The plaque of atherosclerosis can also become unstable and burst, causing a complete loss of blood to an area.  A loss of blood to the area can cause major damage or even cell death.  While you really don’t want this in any part of your body, there are a few parts to be especially worried about.

Cholesterol Can Hurt More Than Your Heart

When this loss of blood flow happens in the brain it is called a stroke or TIA.  Strokes can cause sudden death.  They can also leave someone mentally or physically impaired.   In the heart, loss of blood-flow can cause a heart attack.  This can also cause sudden death or loss of strength to the heart.  The loss of function in the heart is known as heart failure, which is a debilitating disease that is on the rise. 

Low Cholesterol Helps Your Whole Body

Atherosclerosis can also cause a decrease in blood flow to the legs.  This is known as peripheral artery disease.  This can cause pain and fatigue in the legs that increases with activity.  Atherosclerosis can also cause kidney failure and erectile dysfunction.  Obviously, this disease is one to avoid.  What many people don’t realize is that prevention of severe cases is very possible.  By following a low-cholesterol, heart-healthy lifestyle from a responsible age, atherosclerosis can be avoided.

Heart Disease Gets an Early Start

The Earlier You Start, the Better

Atherosclerosis and the problems it causes get an early start in life.  Cholesterol starts depositing in the arteries of Americans at an early age.  A study in 2003 looked at the arteries of 17 and 18 year old being assessed for the Austrian army.  The signs of atherosclerosis were already present in these young men.  This study concluded that the development of atherosclerosis begins early in life.

http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/108/9/1064?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=austian+army&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT

This means that waiting until later in life to make lifestyle changes is not the best course of action.  While it’s never too late to become healthy, living a long life of healthfulness is the best option.

Obese Children Show Signs Even Earlier

A more recent study presented to the American Heart Association showed that obese kids had arteries that looked like those of someone 30 years older.   The researchers of this study noted the importance of exploring the effects of weight loss and healthier lifesyle decisions for these children.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_71522.html

These studies point to an important fact: heart disease is progressive.  Since this is a long term issue it takes good choices every day to avoid atherosclerosis and its side effects of heart disease and stroke.  Living healthfully from a a young age is a great way to avoid atherosclerosis.  However, if you’ve waited a little longer, don’t feel like it’s too late.  Healthy habits are a good idea of any age.

How Does Too Much Sugar Affect Heart Disease?

Sugar and Insulin

When we eat sugar it is absorbed into the body and makes its way to the bloodstream. The bloodstream then carries the sugar to the cells of the body. When a large amount of sugar is in the bloodstream, the body releases a large amount of insulin. This insulin drives sugar into the cells to be utilized for energy. After a long time of exposure to sugar the cells may become “resistant” to insulin.

The Effects of Sugar

If the cells do not accept insulin, sugar can build up in the bloodstream. High levels of sugar in the bloodstream are toxic to the body. High blood sugar will make changes in the body that make it more difficult for the arteries to open up and can increase the rate at which blood clots.

Sugar will also begin to combine with other substances in the blood, like protein and LDL cholesterol.
When sugar combines with proteins in the walls of the arteries, it can make the arteries more susceptible to atherosclerosis.

Blood Sugar and Your Cholesterol

If sugar combines with LDL cholesterol, it can cause it to become oxidized more easily. Oxidized LDL is much more dangerous than regular LDL and is more likely to build up in the arteries and cause atherosclerosis. LDL levels in diabetics are not that different from nondiabetics, but this oxidized form of LDL can play a greater role in the progression of heart disease.

Diabetics, those that have chronic high blood sugar, also tend to have low HDL “good” cholesterol and high triglycerides. 

Keeping Healthy

Part of the strategy to control your risk for heart disease should involve a restriction of foods that can spike blood sugar levels. We know candy, pop, and pasteries are not good for blood sugar, but refined flours can also have a negative effect on blood sugar. There are also many sources of hidden sugar in foods so make sure to check your labels.

So, You Just Found Out You Have High LDL Cholesterol

Understand the Importance of LDL Cholesterol

If you know someone who has suffered a heart attack or stroke, then the words “You have high LDL cholesterol” from your doctor may have some meaning to you. For the rest of us, the words “high cholesterol” may not conjure up many thoughts or images. Even if you know what cholesterol does in the body, it may not be self evident why high LDL cholesterol should be concerning. While having high cholesterol may not be a death sentence or a guarantee that we will be on medications for the rest of our lives, it does merit concern.

High cholesterol levels can lead to atherosclerosis, which in turn can lead to heart attack and stroke. Heart disease and stroke are the number 1 and number 3 causes of death in America. Heart attacks and stroke can cause some major problems to survivors, as well.  The aftermath can range from small debilitation, to major impairment, to death.

The Positive Power of Oats

All that being said, it is important to remember that atherosclerosis is a progressive state and needs to be addressed by consistent long term changes. There are many lifestyle and diet changes that are recommended to help stop your cholesterol from continuing to rise.  There are also a number of options that can be beneficial for lowering cholesterol. One of the main dietary changes being proclaimed today is the incorporation of soluble fiber from oats to the diet.

In clinical studies soluble fiber from whole oat products has been shown to lower cholesterol. The National Cholesterol Education Program wrote an authoritative document on cholesterol (ATP III).  It recommends dietary changes such as incorporating soluble fiber from oats, lower saturated fat intake and lower cholesterol intake.  It also covers weight management, medication, and other approaches to lowering cholesterol. This document covers a number of other dietary and lifestyle changes that are important to the high cholesterol issue.

Know the Facts

Becoming informed should be your first step in addressing high LDL cholesterol. Ask your doctor for all the information they have available to them.  Also ask about how you can influence your cholesterol through diet and lifestyle choices. Become familiar with organizations like the American Heart Association and the National Cholesterol Education Program. We will also be diligent researchers and provide you with information that is both practical and accurate to help you on your journey to lower LDL cholesterol levels.  It’s our promise to do our best to keep you informed and to help you continue to live a full life, even after cholesterol test results.

ATP III Cholesterol Goals and Risk Factors

These are the levels that are set by the ATP III. They are based on the risk for heart disease found in various studies. Understanding these gives you a notable upper-hand in the fight against high cholesterol and heart disease.

(In mg/dL)

LDL Cholesterol  HDL Cholesterol     Total Cholesterol Triglycerides
<100 Optimal < 40 Low < 200 Desirable < 150 Normal
100-129 above optimal > 60 High 200-239 Borderline High   150-199 Borderline High
130-159 Borderline High      > 240 High 200-499 High
160-189 High                                       > 500 Very High
> 190 Very High       

 

 


As we stated in the previous post the main target for whether or not cholesterol therapy is recommended is based on your LDL cholesterol score.

LDL Target Goals

  • Risk Factors LDL Goal (in mg/dL)
  • CHD or CHD Equivalents < 100
  • Multiple Risk Factors (2 or more) < 130
  • 0-1 Risk Factors < 160

CHD Equivalents – As shown in the chart above these modify your LDL Goal

  • Currently having a disease that involves atherosclerosis in other parts of the body (leg, neck, etc)
  • Diabetes
  • A combination of other risk factors that put you at >20% risk of having CHD in the next 10 years.

Risk Factors – These also Modify your LDL Cholesterol Goals

  • Cigarette Smoking
  • High Blood Pressure (>140/90 mmHG or on High blood pressure medication)
  • Low HDL cholesterol (<40 mg/dL)
  • Family History of Early CHD (Father or brother who had a heart attack before age 55 or a mother or sister who had a heart attack before age 65)
  • Age
    • Male:  > 45
    • Female:  > 55

 

What’s the Connection Between Cholesterol and Coronary Heart Disease?

Cholesterol’s Connection to Coronary Heart Disease

The main issue that arises from high cholesterol is coronary heart disease. The risk is especially high when your LDL is high.  This is essentially a disease of the arteries that bring the heart nutrients and oxygen. Atherosclerosis is the culprit behind coronary heart disease.

Atherosclerosis Furthered By Cholesterol’s Plaque

Atherosclerosis is a narrowing and hardening of the arteries that feed the heart. Most of the narrowing is caused by the depositing of cholesterol.  These cholesterol deposits are known as “plaque.”  Plaque around the artery can continue to grow and can lead to a decrease in nutrients and oxygen delivered to the heart. Over time, the narrowing can become so severe that the supply of nutrients and oxygen is insufficient to meet the heart’s needs. The plaque surrounding the artery can also become unstable and rupture, causing blood to clot in the region.  This may cause a complete or nearly complete cut off of blood flow to that region of the heart resulting in a heart attack.  You can think of this process like a kink in a hose.  Little or no oxygen or nutrients are delivered to that section of the heart and can cause death to the cells of that region of the heart.  In more severe cases the heart attack can result in death.

While some factors are unavoidable (like genetics), there are ways to prevent really severe cases.  A healthy lifestyle from early on can lower your chances of plaque build-up.  Lifestyle changes later on can help to restore health to your heart.  Look into your lifestyle choices.  Forming healthy habits can make all the difference, and it doesn’t have to be hard.

Coronary Heart Disease Is a #1 Concern in America

A similar process can happen in the brain as well, causing a stoke.  Atherosclerosis is the major contributor to both of these diseases, which are the number 1 and number 3 killers in America today. The American Heart Association has a great slide show that gives you a more in-depth view of how atherosclerosis work.  Just remember, it’s possible for you to be in control of your health.  Communicating with your doctors and reassessing some of your lifestyle choices can make a big difference.  Keep in mind that heart health doesn’t have to be hard.

Cholesterol Basics: Where’s the Bad Stuff Coming From?

Cholesterol.  The word itself evokes fear in the “heart” of Americans.  There is some validity behind this fear considering cholesterol is believed to contribute to arteriosclerosis, e.g. hardening of the arteries.

Cholesterol is produced by the body to help transport fat from the liver after it is absorbed into the body.  Some cholesterol, though, comes from food.  Most food-based cholesterol is often LDL.  LDL cholesterol travels to the cells, where it can cause damage and build-up.  HDL is carried away from the cells to the liver where it can be excreted.  Most of your body’s natural cholesterol is HDL. It is considered beneficial to have better HDL numbers and lower LDL numbers in cholersterol blood tests.

Get to Know Cholesterol

Arteriosclerosis is the the main contributor to cardiovascular disease and stroke, the number 1 and number 3 killers in America.  So what is cholesterol and is it a defect of the body that we make it? Understanding the answers to these questions can help us dispel some of our fear of cholesterol and give us a more well rounded understanding of how to approach the cholesterol issue.

Why Is It Important?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is produced by animals for a number of different functions in the body. It is the precursor to hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and cortisol, which are all valuable hormones.

We need cholesterol for the production of vitamin D in the body. We also use cholesterol to help stabilize the cell walls that surround each cell in our body. We need to think of the cells in our body as flexible, with a little bit of give to them. It may help to think about the difference between a sponge and a stone, or our skin and our bones. Our body likes to regulate how much give each cell has. Cholesterol is the key. Too much and our cells stiffen, and too little and our cells lose the ability to keep their form.

You can begin to see why too much cholesterol can lead to “hardening of the arteries.” This is not the whole story, but it helps show some of cholesterol’s role in heart disease and stroke.