Success Stories from our members #1

Evidence-based clinical nutrition and integrative healthcare - Case Study: Discontinuing Statins After 17 Years

by Josh Gitalis Ba(H) CNP RNCP/ROHP

Evidence-based clinical nutrition and integrative healthcare

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Susan: High Cholesterol

I had been working with Susan on a number of other issues and I had mentioned many times the possibility of normalizing cholesterol with diet, lifestyle, and supplements.

Drug discontinuation: As a clinical nutritionist I am not legally permitted to recommend anyone discontinue their prescription medication. I do however work with a client to normalize their biochemistry, which often results in the client not needing the prescription anymore. I do this with cooperation of their physician or prescribing practitioner.

Susan finally decided that she was ready to do a trial to see if her cholesterol could, in fact, be controlled without pharmaceuticals.

Before embarking on this protocol, I wanted to assess the actual risk of Susan developing CVD. After all, this was her main concern which can sometimes be forgotten.

I evaluated a number of risk factors for cardiovascular disease (not all included below):

  • Obesity: Susan had a BMI in the healthy range between 18.5–24.9
  • Smoking: Non-smoker
  • Low vitamin D: In the optimal range (see below)
  • Low vitamin K: Deficiency not suspected from symptomatology
  • Exercise: Daily
  • Genetics: Father has CVD
  • Elevated C-Reactive Protein: Negative (see below)
  • Elevated Homocysteine: Not in optimal range of &<6mmol/L


The Functional Approach

I explained to Susan that although she exercised, ate a predominantly organic whole-food diet, meditated, and had few other risk factors, there were a couple of things of concern. First, homocysteine levels were high and this metabolite could compromise the repair and maintenance of the endothelial lining of the arteries. Second, since statins have been shown to have side-effects, I would help her achieve her goal of coming off statins.

The following recommendations were made in addition to her supportive dietary and lifestyle habits:

  • Fish oil
  • Niacin
  • Plant Sterols
  • Folic Acid (MTHF)

Within about 6 months cholesterol levels were normalized and Susan remains off statins.

Great work Susan!

(Please note: the above case study is only meant to show you the possibility of using functional medicine as a means of achieving optimal health. Not all details have been included. Before embarking on a health program, it is recommended that you seek the guidance of a competent health care practitioner.)

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evidence-based clinical nutrition and integrative healthcare

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