I'm A Longevity Expert: This Helped Lower My Cholesterol In Less Than 6 Months
Before longevity expert Sergey Young, founder of the Longevity Vision Fund and author of The Science and Technology of Growing Young, pledged his personal mission to live to 200, he had a wake-up call: When he was 43 years old, his doctor told him that his cholesterol was sky-high. "It was 30% above the maximum allowed level," he recounts on the mindbodygreen podcast.
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Fast-forward just six months (yep, really!), and Young had reduced his total cholesterol levels by 25%. "I met with my doctor, and he was looking at me and said, 'Sergey, what have you done?' To my surprise, it was all changes to my lifestyle."
Below, Young explains exactly how he lowered his cholesterol in that six-month timeframe. Of course, everyone's body is different, so you might need a different plan of action—but, spoiler alert, his tips are pretty easy to implement and are stellar for overall health, anyway:
1. Leaning on a plant-based diet.
First up: Young tweaked his diet. A self-prescribed "red meat guy," he found that switching to a more plant-based diet was the catalyst for helping lower his cholesterol. "Lifehack No. 1 for me was a significant focus on plants," he says. Research backs up the shift, as well: In a study of more than 10,000 adults published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, following a more plant-based diet was associated with better heart health, which is linked to balanced cholesterol.
He doesn't cut out meat entirely ("I probably eat meat once every two weeks," he declares), but the bulk of his plate features a smattering of healthy fruits and veggies.
2. Targeted supplements.
We've discussed Young's favorite underrated supplements for longevity (see here for a refresher), but to support healthy cholesterol levels, he relied on good ol' omega-3s, specifically "a high-quality version at a high dose."
The science is a bit controversial (some research has found that fish oil supplements don't really have an effect), but this 2020 study in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology found that DHA was associated with a small but statistically significant decrease in LDL cholesterol. Not to mention, omega-3 supplements are linked to heart-health benefits at large.
3. Implementing more cardio.
Young recommends opting for some form of cardio every day, if you can. When he was trying to lower his cholesterol, he relied on mostly swimming, but now he sticks to 30 to 40 minutes of training (be it swimming, running, or HIIT) to get his heart pumping and keep his vascular system strong. And if you are partial to a dip, know that a study in the journal Metabolism found swimming improved body weight, body fat distribution, and LDL cholesterol levels in women aged 50 to 70 years.
"Any movement is good. Let's just make sure we integrate it in our daily and weekly routine," Young says. "It's up to you what particular style of exercise you like." Even a daily walk can do the trick: "The beauty of walking is that you don't need to dedicate a lot of time to it. You can integrate it into your healthy lifestyle," he adds.
For Young, changing up his diet, supplement routine, and exercise regimen helped finally kick his high cholesterol. You might not follow Young's exact advice to a T, but these three buckets can be helpful for supporting overall well-being, anyway. So who knows? You might reap some extra healthy benefits from his game plan: "Our bodies have this amazing capability to heal itself," he says. "If we treat it properly, we can do a lot to recover health-wise."