The problem. It is obvious that people who are unwilling to make the necessary dietary changes will not attain a safe cholesterol level of 150 or less. But it is not widely known that even people who eat a no-cholesterol diet may not be able to attain a safe level. A common scenario might be to start with a level of 250 and see this level decrease to less than 200, but go down no further. Why?

Research on this odd situation is sparse, so here are some possibilities to consider:

For those who have their cholesterol problem under control, consuming reasonable amounts of olives, avocados and nuts is probably not harmful and may even be beneficial. But the consumption of oils that have been isolated from the foods they are packaged in by nature, and thus concentrated, should certainly be avoided by everyone.

For those who cannot solve their high cholesterol problem (often called hypercholesterolemia) through dietary change, there is another option - the chemical control of cholesterol.

Dangerous prescription drugs. Many doctors prescribe drugs that lower cholesterol. Getting their customers to constantly return for prescriptions is a wonderful source of income for them. These drugs are called "statins." They cause liver damage and other serious problems. Studies show that these unnatural statins also inhibit the action of coenzyme Q10 in the body. And they can cost well over $100 per month.

Some of these drugs are:

Taking such products on a continuous basis is obviously dangerous. Here is just one of many similar stories:

Charles Young, of Pinole, California, began taking the prescription drug Baycol in March 2000 to reduce his cholesterol. Soon, he began suffering from leg pains, which rapidly worsened to the point that he could not walk. Young's physician did not recognize the cause of the leg pains, and prescribed only pain medication. Young's condition continued to deteriorate, and on April 10 he was admitted to the hospital. Within 24 hours of his admission, Young experienced complete kidney failure and was put on kidney dialysis. Subsequently, Young suffered a severe heart attack and died on May 24, 2000.

As events unfolded, the tragic death of Charles Young was one of multiple deaths and hundreds of serious injuries that have been reportedly linked to Baycol, known generically as cerivastatin. On August 8, 2001, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that Bayer Corporation, the manufacturer of Baycol, was removing the drug from the market because of reports of fatal rhabdomyolysis. The FDA received reports of 32 U.S. deaths due to severe rhabdomyolysis associated with use of Baycol, 12 of which involved concomitant gemfibrozil use.

Safer alternatives. There are many products on the market that claim to reduce cholesterol, but most of these products are of little or no value. Phytosterol supplements are becoming popular, and are said to block the uptake of cholesterol from the intestines. Even if this is true, they would be of little value to those on a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet. Furthermore, many plant based foods are good natural sources of these substances.

But there are two products that you SHOULD know about, Red Yeast Rice and Policosanol.