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Announcing the High Cholesterol Action Plan


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I’m excited to announce that the High Cholesterol Action Plan is now available.

It’s designed to help you cut through the confusion and hype about cholesterol, avoid unnecessary drugs and prevent heart disease naturally.

I created it not only for you, my readers and listeners, but also for your friends, family members and loved ones that have been diagnosed with “high cholesterol” and are wondering whether they should be concerned, what diet and lifestyle changes they should make, whether they should take the statin they are taking or were prescribed, and what the natural alternatives to statins are.

To thank you for your continued support, I am offering a limited-time 33% discount off the full price, so if you’re interested in this program make sure to sign up before the price increases next Tuesday night (9/18) at 11:59pm Pacific Time. I’ve also included a gift option on the order form to make it easy for you to share this important information with your friends & family.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the High Cholesterol Action Plan and get started.

I’ve recorded a special episode of Revolution Health Radio with a behind-the-scenes “sneak peek” of the program. I go into detail about what you’ll get out of the program, and what’s included in each module. You can listen to/download it below or in iTunes, or you can read the transcript at the end of this post.

I’m more proud of this program than anything I’ve done in my professional career so far, and I truly believe it has the potential to save lives. I hope that it makes a difference in yours.

Please share this with anyone you know that is concerned about their cholesterol, taking a statin or interested in natural prevention of heart disease.

RHR – Sneak Peek at the High Cholesterol Action Plan:

Full Text Transcript:

Steve Wright:  Hi, and welcome to another episode of the Revolution Health Radio Show brought to you by ChrisKresser.com.  I’m your host, Steve Wright from SCDLifestyle.com, and with me is integrative medical practitioner, licensed acupuncturist, and healthy skeptic, Chris Kresser.  How are you doing?

Chris Kresser:  I’m great, Steve.  How are you?

Steve Wright:  I’m doing well.  I’m pretty excited.  We have a special show today, don’t we?

Chris Kresser:  That’s right.  You guys might be a little surprised to see a back-to-back episode, but what I want to do today is give you a little sneak-peek, behind-the-scenes view of the High Cholesterol Action Plan, which is my new program launching today, which we talked about last week on the show.  And I also wanted to tell you about the special launch pricing that I’ve made available for my blog readers and radio show listeners.  The program is $97 today, and it’s gonna be that way for a week.  And next Tuesday night at 11:59 p.m. — so I guess that’s the night of the 18th — it’s gonna go up to $147.  So I just wanted to make you aware of that in case you want to take advantage of the special launch pricing.  Right.  Thanks for pointing that out.  That’s Pacific Time.  So 11:59 p.m. on the 18th it goes up to $147.

What to do if you’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol and don’t know what to do

At first, before we get into the sneak peek, I want to talk briefly again about who this product is for and why I’m doing it.  I know we covered that last time, but I still get a lot of questions about cholesterol and heart disease.  It’s one of the topics that people contact me about the most, both in my private practice and through Facebook and Twitter and email and all of the other social media.  And this product is really geared towards someone that’s recently been diagnosed with high cholesterol by their doctor and they may be uncertain about what to do.  Maybe they’re wondering about whether to take the statin that their doctor prescribed.  Or maybe you just started a paleo or primal-type diet and your cholesterol has gone up dramatically since then, and you’re wondering if that’s significant and what, if anything, you should do about it.  Or maybe you have a strong family history of heart disease or you have heart disease yourself or you’re at high risk of heart disease for any number of other factors, like perhaps you have metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance or high blood pressure, and you’re looking for ways to prevent heart disease naturally with nutrition and supplements and perhaps alternatives to statins.  Maybe you’re on a statin; you’re looking for ways to mitigate the potential for side effects and risks.

And in some ways, just as importantly or more importantly, my thinking for this product was for people with friends and family members in all of these situations that I just described, because one of the biggest challenges for me even has been when people come to me in my family or friends that I know and they ask me about this topic, it’s been really difficult to answer the question in any kind of concise way, and you really end up trying to unwind decades of conditioning and misinformation about this issue.  And there hasn’t really been a single resource that I could point them to that explained all of the important background information, that debunked common myths about cholesterol and heart disease, that took them through what we now know are the main causes of heart disease, which is different than what the mainstream paradigm is, and then moves from that more theoretical information into really practical stuff like what is a truly heart-healthy diet, which is of course different than what the American Heart Association recommends, what special considerations should you have even within the context of a healthy diet for protecting yourself from heart disease, and then what’s the deal with statins, do they work, who do they work for, how do they work, what the side effects are, and then what are the alternatives from a natural perspective for statins, and then taking all of that information and putting it together in a really clear, concise, personalized action plan.  There was nothing like that out there.  There wasn’t even a book that I could recommend for people.  There are a few decent books out there, but even now some of those better books are outdated because they don’t talk about some of the new information that we have about risk factors.  So because that wasn’t available, I just decided to make it myself, and I’m really pleased with the result, and I’m excited about making it available to all of you.

The way this course is structured is it’s delivered over a 9-week period, because there’s over 5 hours of video, hundreds of pages of PDF transcripts, 5 hours of audio, so it’s a lot of information, and I didn’t want people to get overwhelmed, and I’ve learned in teaching this material over time that the best way to deliver this kind of information is sequentially over a period of time.  So it’s a 9-week program, and each week I deliver a new module, so you get new videos and audio and PDF content, so you have plenty of time to watch it or listen to it, whatever your preference is, check out the handouts and the supplemental information, and then absorb it, think about it, go back and listen to it again if you need to.  I think that’s really a more effective way for learning this material.

So I’ll talk about each module.  There’s, of course, a page where you can check out this information and read it yourself, and that is HighCholesterolPlan.ChrisKresser.com.  But I want to go into a little bit more detail for all of you about what’s in those modules and what you’ll learn each week so you have a better sense of what the program is and whether it’s right for you.

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How heart disease develops

In the first week, we start the first module, which is how heart disease develops, and I had to split this into two weeks because it was too long to put in one module.  So in the first week, we lay the groundwork for the rest of the course by covering important basics about cholesterol, which a lot of people, including clinicians, don’t understand accurately.  And then we debunk some common myths about cholesterol and heart disease.  So we talk about what cholesterol actually is and how it’s processed in the body, how much of the cholesterol in our bodies comes from diet and how much is produced internally, and the answer to that may surprise a lot of you.  We talk about the different types of lipoproteins and their importance.  We talk about the myth of “good” and “bad” cholesterol, how that myth originated, and what we now know about that subject.  We talk about the two key factors driving the process of atherosclerosis and plaque formation, and we talk about the effect of dietary saturated fat and cholesterol on the level of cholesterol in the blood for most people and how saturated fat and cholesterol affects levels of cholesterol in the blood in people known as hyper-responders.  And those last two points, that’s probably 30% or 40% of the questions that I get about cholesterol and heart disease, is how saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet affects blood cholesterol, and I’ve learned a lot about this subject actually even in the last couple of years, so there’s some really new updated information in there that I hope will be helpful.

The four primary underlying causes of high cholesterol

In the second week, we continue part two of our discussion about how heart disease develops, and we cover the four primary underlying causes of high cholesterol, because remember, high cholesterol is not a disease; it’s a symptom of an underlying problem.  So we talk about what those four underlying causes or problems might be, and then we talk about the four main causes of oxidative damage, which is another risk factor in heart disease.  We’ll talk about why people with metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance are at higher risk for heart disease, and we talk about why some people with normal or low total or LDL cholesterol are actually at high risk for heart disease and some people with high total or LDL cholesterol are at low risk for heart disease.  A lot of people may not be aware of this, but about 45% of people who have heart attacks have completely normal total and LDL cholesterol, so we’ll talk about why that is and why you can’t rely on those two markers specifically to determine your risk of heart disease, and that’s a big problem because those are the markers that most clinicians are using still today.

How to determine your risk of heart disease

Then in week three, we get into the next chunk of content, which is how to determine your risk of heart disease.  I had to break this up into two parts again, as well, because it was a really long module.  So in week three, the first part, we talk about what the standard lipid panel that you get when you go to your doctor measures and what it can and can’t tell us.  We talk about the tremendous variability of standard and nonstandard lipid tests, what a normal cholesterol level really is, which you can determine by studying traditional populations that are free of heart disease.  We talk about the importance of LDL particle number in determining heart disease risk, and this is something I haven’t written or spoken about a lot on my blog or elsewhere yet, so there’s a lot of new information here about LDL particle number and its significance, which over the past two or three years has really become much more clear than it was previously.  And then we talk about why LDL particle size isn’t as important as we once thought it was, and this is something that I’ve really changed my perspective on and I’ve learned a lot about, again, even in the past three or four years to the point where I’ve had to take some articles down from my website because they’re just simply not accurate with what we know now.  A lot of you have probably heard of pattern A and pattern B and the idea that large, buoyant LDL is not a risk factor for heart disease and small, dense LDL is a risk factor, and some of you may have heard that from me!  What we know now is that it’s not quite as simple as that and that LDL particle size is actually not an independent risk factor, as we once thought it was.   So I’ll talk a lot about that.  We’ll talk about the significance of oxidized LDL as a risk marker and its limitations.  And then we’ll talk about the significance of inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein, Lp-PLA2, lipoprotein (a), homocysteine, etc., and who should get those tests.

In part two of that module, which is week four, we’ll go into a lot more detail about those individual inflammatory markers, and I’ll also talk about calcium scoring and whether I recommend that.  And then we’ll talk about other methods of estimating risk, which include the Framingham Risk Score and the Reynolds Risk Score, and I’ll discuss a holistic framework for determining risk that considers not only all of those risk markers, which we just discussed, but current diet and lifestyle as well.

The heart-healthy diet and lifestyle

Then in week five, we start our discussion of heart-healthy diet and lifestyle.  We talk about why diet, exercise, and weight management form the cornerstone of any heart disease prevention program.  I lay out my basic truly heart-healthy diet, and then I talk about the eight super-foods that boost your defense against heart disease.  I talk about how to lower blood pressure naturally without drugs, which is important because blood pressure and hypertension is one of the most significant risk factors for heart disease.  And then I talk about specialized dietary approaches for those with particular conditions like metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and then genetic conditions like familial hypercholesterolemia, because as I’m sure you’ve heard me say before, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to diet, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to a heart disease prevention diet.

The three principles of wise supplementation

In part two, which I guess would be week six, of that discussion, we talk about the three principles of wise supplementation, talk about basic heart-healthy micronutrients that I think most people should be taking and certainly people who are at higher risk for heart disease.  We talk about the importance of exercise in heart disease prevention, but specifically, I go into detail about the particular volume, intensity, and duration of exercise that’s been shown to be the most beneficial.  And I talk about how to incorporate activity into your daily routine, which I think is really important from a heart disease prevention standpoint.  And then the last, but certainly not least part of the heart-healthy diet and lifestyle section is a discussion of the significant, but seldom recognized role of chronic stress in heart disease and what to do about that.

The truth about how statins work

Then in week seven, we move into the statin module, and I discuss how statins work, which is actually not how most people think they work.  I talk about the efficacy of statins in different populations.  Now, this is really crucial to understand.  There’s a kind of myth out there, even amongst clinicians, that statins just work the same for everybody, but that’s absolutely false.  They have different effect in men under 80 without heart disease, different effect in men under 80 with heart disease.  They work differently in men over 80 with and without heart disease and in women of any age, both with and without heart disease.  So all of those populations respond in different ways to statins, and it’s really, really important to know that information when you’re evaluating whether you should take a statin or when you’re talking to a friend or family member about that, because they’re going to have different effects.  They even have different propensity to cause side effects in those different populations.  So, one of my main focuses in the statin module is to teach you how to critically evaluate statin claims and see through the propaganda and hype.  My purpose is not to tell you whether to take a statin.  It’s to educate you so you can make a really informed decision on whether it makes sense for you, based on the available evidence.  I do talk a little bit about the population of people that I think statins may make sense for.  I’m not 100% anti-statins.  I think there is a small population of people that may benefit from them, but even that depends, and I go into detail about that.  We talk about the primary side effects and complications of statins and the reason they tend to be underreported, which they are significantly underreported, and the studies show that.  And I talk about how to minimize the risks and side effects if you do decide to take statins.

Natural prevention of heart disease

Week eight is the module on natural prevention of heart disease, and I talk about the natural supplements that have been shown to improve lipid profiles and other non-lipid markers associated with heart disease.  As you would expect, all of these nutrients that we’re talking about are all evidence-based.  They’re only things that have peer-reviewed, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trials behind them or other equivalent high-quality evidence.  And then I spend some time talking about which supplements either don’t provide a benefit or may actually be harmful and, therefore, which ones you should avoid.

The step-by-step process for creating your own personalized High Cholesterol Action Plan

And then the last module, week nine, is where everything that we’ve discussed up until that point comes together, and I take you through a step-by-step process for creating your own personalized action plan.  And it’s actually laid out in a decision tree format, so you start at the top and there are some criteria that determine whether you go to the left or to the right, and then you get to another point and there’s some new criteria, and it just takes you all the way down through the decision tree, and then you end up in one of four treatment levels.  And then I go into a lot of detail about each of those treatment levels and what dietary things you should do, what supplements you should consider taking, etc., so that you have a really practical, step-by-step guide for determining what your risk is and then taking action once you know where you stand.

The program also includes a lot of handouts, like cheat sheets and worksheets and reference guides, one-page summaries of key concepts, recommended tests for heart disease and optimal ranges that you should be in as well as where to get these tests if you don’t have a doctor that you’re working with.  A lot of these tests can be obtained now without a doctor’s prescription, so I tell you how to do that.  There’s a handout for suggested supplements and doses.  One thing that I thought would be really helpful was doing a handout called Discussion Points for your Doctor’s Visit because a lot of people, once they learn this information, they want to be able to talk to their doctor about it.  So I’ve made a handout with some bullet points and ways to frame a discussion in a respectful way with your doctor, a summary of statin efficacy in all of the different populations, and then recommended supplements for each treatment level.  And then there’s some great bonus content, some interviews with experts, like Stephan Guyenet and Dan Pardi, on weight regulation and exercise and activity and sleep.  And then there’s a section for updates where periodically as I come across new studies, I’ll be either doing a little audio or a little video or a little written treatment that talks about what the study is and what it adds to the discussion.

I hope that gives you a better idea of the High Cholesterol Action Plan and how it might be able to help you and those you love protect yourself from heart disease and live a long and happy and healthy life.  So it’s HighCholesterolPlan.ChrisKresser.com, and of course, if you forget that, you can just go to my main website, ChrisKresser.com.  There will be a post up about the program today, and you can click over to it from there.  And if you are interested, don’t forget to take advantage of the special launch pricing from now until about a week from now.  And I hope you enjoy the program, and we’ll be back next week with our regular programming!

Steve Wright:  Well, that was a great overview, Chris.  I can’t wait to get my hands on my copy so that I can distill the information and pass it along to my parents.  So I do appreciate you putting together this program.  I know it’s gonna help a lot of people, and yeah, I’m excited for it, man.

Chris Kresser:  Great.  Me, too.

Steve Wright:  Cool.  Thanks for listening today to the Revolution Health Radio Show.  We’ll be back next week with our regularly scheduled broadcast, so stay tuned for that, and we want to thank you again for listening.

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Join the conversation

  1. Hey Chris

    Just a quick note to see how far along the line you are getting you Action Plan certified for CEU’s etc?

    The podcast you did with Robb Wolf was outstanding. Your views on LDL-P being more important that particle size resonated with me, I heard Thomas Dayspring talking the same ideas up on Jimmy Moore’s show.

    Problem, is, a LOT of people in the paleo/primal/low carb communities are really still focussing on particle size. Any chance you could provide the references for the studies you mentioned on Robb’s podcast in September? Thanks for all you effort and sharing on this and many other topics.

    • Hi Steve,

      Unfortunately, HCAP won’t be certified for CEUs in the foreseeable future. It would cost about $20-$25k which just doesn’t make sense financially.

      I’ll be writing a post on LDL-P soon, and it will contain the references you’re looking for.

  2. I am interested in directing my father to your Plan, but he lives in an area without high-speed internet, so I’m concerned that the video/audio portions will not be readily available to him. Is there a DVD/CD option available? My brother & his wife, I and my husband have all been Paleo for over a year now, with the men experiencing great improvements in health, and are having a hard time convincing him that his cardiologist may actually be wrong about prescribing him statins. Thanks for all you do

  3. Hi Chris, I am an osteopath in Australia, so my forte is in musculoskeletal medicine, however
    I am taking a further course in physiogenomics to aid diagnosis and treatment of many gene expression disorders…in the literature for the course they suggest that individuals with ApoE4 respond very poory to a paleo type diet rich in saturated fats, yet do better with low glycaemic index carbohydrate (as they are hyper-responders, or individuals with FH i guess…)
    You have written that the research points toward ApoE4 not causing damage by increasing LDL or triglycerides (which my course handbook thinks is the problem) but rather by increasing risk of oxidative damage because ApoE4 has crappy anti-oxidant properties….

    my question then is whether a diet low in fats and high in carbs would also promote oxidative stress in itself, as we know it does in other individuals, thereby being counter intuitive to the aim of decreasing potential for oxidative damage of the LDL particle?
    what would be your suggestions for carriers of the ApoE4 genotype in this case?

    this has been something that has had me in a rut, coming from a paleo lifestyle and mindset….i know these people tend to be hyper-responsive to saturated fat, however my thought would be that unsaturated fats are more quickly oxidised, and these patients are probably more liekly to encounter these sorts of fats when told to eat high carb…

    thanks for your time and sorry if the question is worded poorly…

    Josh Lamaro

  4. Hi Chris, am very keen to do your course on cholesterol but will be going overseas in a months time so won’t be able to start it until my return late November.I am also wanting to learn more to help my husband to avoid heart problems as it’s in his family but want to apply the information to myself as well.How would this work if it’s a personalized program as only one of us can afford the time and money at the moment to do it.

    • Jill: no need for you to buy two of them. You will both be able to apply the “personalization” features just by following the guidelines I lay out.

  5. Do you have a subscription rate for groups? I am interested in having this information available to our firefighters here in Fremont (Ca.). I couldn’t tell you how many of our folks would use it but we have 120 line employees.

  6. Chris, will folks who purchase have access to any updates that you may make in the future? For example, in your podcast on this subject, you mentioned that you used to recommend tracking particle size as an independent risk factor – but you’ve since revised your position. As your knowledge and understanding increase over time, I suspect you may want to update this action plan and I was hoping that folks who have access would also get access to this updated info. Is this your intention? BTW, you’re the man! Keep up the good work.

    • Ray: yes. There’s a section in the HCAP dashboard when you login called “updates”. That’s where I’ll post any new research and changes to my recommendations.

  7. Hello Chris,

    I’m interested in purchasing the high cholesterol plan while it is on special for $97 dollars. However, do you know if I purchase the high cholesterol plan at a discounted rate now, that I may complete the program at a later time? I ask because I have a busy schedule as a student and would like to complete each module at a pace I can keep up with. For example, could I maybe start module 1 a week from the purchase date, and then move on to module 2 three weeks from now?

    Also do you know if all the information will be available to review at a later (maybe months, or even years after completion)


    • Sorry Chris I just browsed the comment section and I think you answered my first question from an earlier post.

      • Yes, you can complete it at a later time. You’ll have ongoing access to the content; it doesn’t expire.

  8. I was anxiously awaiting the release of this product, but I need the information sooner than 9 weeks. I have an annual physical in 2 weeks, with the bloodwork appt. next week. Once I purchase the product, will I be able to get the list of bloodwork test I need to have done ASAP, or do I need to wait till the end of the weeks? My sister just went on Lipitor, and I am desperately trying to avoid that. I have been doing the Paleo diet since mid May, and don’t really know what to expect as far as my blood work goes. I’d rather not have to do the fasting bloodwork multiple times. I also wondered if I should have my EPA/DHA levels and vitamin D tested, so that I can tell if I’m supplementing too much or not enough.

    • You can get access to the content faster if you waive your right to a refund as I explained above. To do that, you’d purchase the product and then send an email to support requesting this.

  9. What date does the first module begin? I am glad to hear that I have as long as I need to complete the information. That was a factor is determining to commit to purchasing the Plan. Thank you.

  10. Hi, really keen to do the course. I live in New Zealand we use different measurements here for the tests, will there be a conversion of what the numbers means for ease of understanding?

  11. Are modules available at a faster pace than once per week? I have some … pressing … issues and I’d prefer not to wait.

    The Plan’s web page, in the section “The high cholesterol action plan includes:” implies that the multimedia, PDFs, and MP3s all have the same content (“the presentation”). Is that the case? I tend to be a reader, so if I just used the PDFs would I miss anything?

    • Steve: I’d consider making the modules available faster, but you would have to waive your right to a refund. If the entire program is available up front, there’s nothing stopping people from watching all of it and then asking for a refund.

      The PDF is a transcript of the video, so you’d get all of what I’m saying. However, I have a lot of charts and visuals throughout, so you’d miss those.

  12. I did not see you mention anything about getting a homocysteine test. I have been battling my doctor to stay off statins and read that the test is a better indicator of heart disease. My count is normal yet my cholesterol remains 280. People think I am crazy for not taking statins but I eat well and am training for my third marathon. Before I spend $97 on you program, I wanted to hear your thoughts on the homocysteine test.

    • I talk about homocysteine in the program. It is positively associated with heart disease, but the problem is that lowering homocysteine does not appear to improve outcomes. This makes it an unreliable marker for tracking CHD risk. Total cholesterol is also unreliable; there are other markers that are much better then either TC or homocysteine. I devote two weeks to exactly what tests you should get and why.

  13. Hi Chris,
    The course on Cholestherol sounds awesome! Thanks very much for putting it together.
    Please, would you clarify if the course can be downloaded and taken at our own time, or one needs to complete in one week? Also, what is the length of time for each module approx? Thanks again! Laura

    • You can take as long as you like to complete it. One module is released each week for 9 weeks, but you don’t need to finish it then; you continue to have access to the content. Each module is between 30-60 minutes long.

  14. Yes, I will do updates when important new information comes to light that would change my recommendations.

  15. Can a high cholesterol indicate that its conversion to pregnenolone is not happening? If so, what would be the cause?

  16. How, if needed, would you incorporate in this action plan new and or changed recommendations, etc? Have you accounted for that possibility in the product?

  17. The site seems to have some display issues on the Android version of Chrome — the right side is truncated.

  18. Chris

    Is there anything anywhere that you know of, with comparable discrimination and intelligence, about high blood pressure? Or will you be doing that at some point?

    Thx, Ian