One of the most common problems encountered about two or three months after starting fish oil for cardiovascular health is one of the most distressing. You go to your doctor for a checkup, and your labs come back with higher LDL cholesterol readings. Sometimes your labs come back with much, much higher LDL readings.
Your doctor tells you that your venture into natural health and healing didn't work out so you need to take a statin drug. But do you?
Here's what laboratories don't tell you and that doctors sometimes forget.
Most medical laboratories don't actually measure LDL cholesterol.
Understand How LDL Levels are Measured
They estimate LDL cholesterol by measuring your total blood lipids, that is, all your various kinds of cholesterol and your triglycerides, and then guessing that what's not HDL or triglycerides must be LDL. Unfortunately, that's not necessarily the case.
Fish Oil and LDL Cholesterol Relation
When you take fish oil, your triglycerides go down. These are the "pre-fats" your body makes so it can store excess carbohydrates as fat. Your triglycerides also go down when you cut down the amount of sugar you eat.
Does Fish Oil Lower Cholesterol
If you make some positive resolutions for health, start taking fish oil and stop eating as much sugar, then your triglycerides may go down a lot. But when that happens, your estimated LDL number will go up, whether or not your actual LDL levels have gone up. (Read more about
Your doctor can order a test that measures the your real LDL numbers. It costs about US $500, and most national health insurance plans and American individual insurance plans don't cover it.
It's a lot better just to take a careful look at how well you are controlling your triglycerides before you and your doctor decide to try to lower your LDL with a statin drug you might not really need.