It has been two years since I last wrote about my cholesterol levels in 2020.
Before I start, this is not a sponsored post so I don’t get anything for writing.
It just felt to me like many people are affected by cholesterol issues.
Diet, work, stress, lifestyle, etc – many things affect it.
Figured it might be a good time to do a little update since I have recently gotten my blood tested.
Blood Test Results
First, let me show the blood test results that I have done since 2017. I find that it gives a good indication of the progress with time.
Interestingly, there are two different type of measurements (mmol-vs-mg) so I did a little conversion based on what I could find online. Might not be 100% accurate.
Health Promotion Board has the below recommendations for the following cholesterol levels as optimal for both men and women.
Discussions regarding the topic of cholesterol can be rather divisive, and it is my personal opinion that having things in moderation works well in most cases.
If you have done blood tests for cholesterol, you will remember the wordings being used is rather vague e.g. desirable, optimal and it doesn’t state outright what is “good” or “bad”.
Nothing in this blog post is medical advice, although you can reference my personal experience and consider your options.
Based on my most recent blood test result, it looks like the cholesterol issue is currently under control compared to back in 2017, and I’m happy to keep it that way.
My dad has had cardiovascular medical issues so I can probably assume I’m at risk hereditary.
Grateful and thankful that total cholesterol is down, LDL is down and numbers are going in the right direction.
In fact, the results hit the “desirable” range for every single marker.
Cholesterol and Us
There is nothing “wrong” about cholesterol. It is a fat-like substance that our body naturally produces.
It’s needed for a variety of functions, including the formation of cell membranes and production of certain hormones, vitamin D and bile acids.
Lipids (fat) such as cholesterol are insoluble in water and therefore carried throughout the body by special proteins called lipoproteins – low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
HDL protects against heart disease and stroke because it carries excess cholesterol circulating in the bloodstream back to the liver where it is broken down and eliminated i.e. “good” cholesterol.
If there’s an excess of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream, it gets deposited on the walls of arteries, creating a build-up known as plaque i.e. atherosclerosis. This is not good.
Nevertheless, focusing only on cholesterol is an oversimplification and there are numerous studies suggesting other factors could play a bigger role.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs is a multi-billion market, just so you get where I’m coming from.
If we had relied on this particular marker instead, then all of my lab tests results from 2017 till now would have been classified as “ideal” due to my high HDLs and low triglycerides. (refer to the table above)
As mentioned, I continue to seek all things in moderation.
Safety concerns : CholesFree worked well
I was originally prescribed statins in 2017 but decided to stop it. The doctor agreed too.
Instead of relying on medication, we decided to focus a bit more on diet, exercise and supplements instead.
According to Novena Heart Centre, the active ingredient in red yeast rice is Monacolin K which is also known as lovastatin. Three placebo-controlled studies have shown that red yeast rice can reduce total cholesterol by up to 16% and LDL cholesterol by up to 24%. This degree of reduction is equivalent to lovastatin drug dose of 20-40mg.
Red yeast rice is exactly what’s contained in CholesFree by Eu Yan Sang – the ingredients are red yeast rice 620mg and fermented natto 30mg (containing 20,000 fu/g Nattokinase).
One point to highlight is that Eu Yan Sang partnered with Nanyang Polytechnic to build the first TCM research laboratory in the nation, resulting in Zerotox, a patented method of extracting impurities from herbs. This is important because red yeast products can contain a impurity/contaminant called citrinin, and that’s why I trust Eu Yan Sang over other brands I’m less familiar with.
At the end of the day, supplements work differently for different people.
The instructions on the box is to take 1-2 capsules twice daily after meals. For my case, I’m taking just 1 capsule in the morning after breakfast, and 1 capsule at night after dinner for maintenance, and it works well for me.
No Side Effects for me
Personally, I don’t encounter any side-effects as a result of taking CholesFree.
In general, gastrointestinal problems like bloating, gas, and stomach pain are some of the most commonly reported side effects of red yeast rice which is the main ingredient of CholesFree.
Also, recall I mentioned the active ingredient in red yeast rice is Monacolin K which is also known as lovastatin, I try to be on the safe side by applying the same precautions as though I’m taking statins.
Obviously, I don’t take statins together with CholesFree since that would be kinda like double dosage.
One such example is possible liver issues (fairly rare) when taking red yeast rice. This makes a regular blood test (there is one that tests for liver) very useful, just in case. My test result was fine even after taking CholesFREE for a few years.
Another one is to avoid taking grapefruit, or grapefruit juice as they may interact with the supplement increase the risk of side-effects.
FYI, I do exercise regularly and try to have enough sleep and rest daily. I don’t control super strictly what I eat, but I try to minimize consumption of food that has excessive cholesterol.
I hope that by reading about my personal experience it has been useful or helpful to you, especially if you are also trying to manage cholesterol related issues for either yourself or your family members.
Most importantly, please consult your doctor before making any decisions pertaining to your handling of cholesterol levels. Also note certain individual profiles (pregnant, liver issues, etc) are not suitable to take CholesFree. Once again, nothing in this blog post is medical advice. I’m just glad to have found an option that has helped me to manage my cholesterol levels.
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Hello! I’m Kevin, Turtle Investor
At the age of 30, I am the Personal Finance Blogger who laid claim to a negative net worth of minus $25,755 – and decided to turn things around.
- Seven years later in 2019, I hit CPF Full Retirement Sum (FRS) of $176,000 without making a single cent of CPF top-up
- In nine years, I have added more than $1 million to my net worth
- I earned over six-figure in alternative income in 2021 in addition to my full-time job
I am married to a lovely wife and that means dual income with no kids. In my free time, I chase miles so that we can fly in business class. My hobby is making pocket change off this blog and sharing everything I know with you!