Guest Post: The Hidden Truths About Cholesterol and Statins by Adrienne Nicole,

I’m a big fan of searching for answers when I have a question, and a while back I was looking for information on how to help a client get better sleep, when I came across an article from  Check it out here.


Anyways, my readers, aka you, must have enjoyed the article because asked if they could write an article for my blog.  When they told me that it was about Cholesterol I was very interested because I have an interest in cholesterol’s relationship to testosterone production, it’s affects on heart disease (I have a family history of heart disease) and I like butter, steak, coconut oil and other high saturated fat foods.


Enter, Adrienne Nicole, a writer for



The Hidden Truths About Cholesterol and Statins

For years, the medical community has feared cholesterol. It has been regarded as the primary cause of common American disorders, such as heart diseases and obesity. Due to its reputation, certain types of foods have been demonized and labeled as hazards to health. Among these are eggs and other foods rich in saturated fats.

Every time high cholesterol is diagnosed – often around levels of 200 to 250 –cholesterol drugs called statins are prescribed to patients. According to research, statins are the second most prescribed medicine in the United States, and tens of millions of Americans are taking it. The more pressing matter is not only are adults taking this but kids as well.

First of all, false facts have been spread about cholesterol and statins for the past two decades. Instead of working hard to suppress the formation of cholesterol, people should understand that the body requires it to function well. Second, statins may be successful in inhibiting cholesterol production, but their adverse effects outweigh their benefits.

Before acting on your cholesterol levels, you must first understand what cholesterol does and why statins are not the answer to regulating it.

Why Cholesterol is Your Friend, Not Foe

Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance, 75 percent of which is produced by your liver. It is utilized by your body for the production of cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids that contribute to fat metabolism. At the same time, cholesterol plays an important role in the formation of your memories, and is key for your optimal neurological function.

Cholesterol levels that fall within 200 and 250 should not be the basis of high cholesterol. In fact, there are people who have levels within this range but are not at all at risk for heart disease. On the other hand, there are some who have “healthy” levels, which fall below 200, but possess an increased chance of having a heart attack. Health experts believe that unless your levels are 330 and above, you should not worry about high cholesterol.

While there are consequences with extremely elevated levels, studies show that low levels of cholesterol can bring about the following side effects:

  • Higher risk of depression
  • Increased suicidal tendencies
  • Increased violence and aggression
  • Higher chance of contracting cancer and Parkinson’s disease

The key is to keep your cholesterol levels at healthy range. In order to do so, you must avoid statins at all costs. There are now more than 900 studies proving the adverse effects of statins.

How Statins’ Side Effects Overshadow Their Benefits

As mentioned before, statins are a HMG-CoA reductase or cholesterol inhibitor. Specifically, they block the enzyme in liver that formulates cholesterol in your body. While these cholesterol drugs are successful in doing so, they disrupt several mechanisms in your body, as well as induce several unwanted effects on your body.

One of the major complaints reported due to statins is muscle problems. Cholesterol-lowering drugs affect your muscles by activating the atrogin-1 gene, which contributes to muscle atrophy. Common indications of muscle damage are muscle pain and weakness. If not dealt with, an advanced case of muscle degeneration called rhabdomyolysis can destroy your tissues.

Several other problems that are linked to statins are:

  • Polyneuropathy or nerve damage in the hands and feet
  • Acidosis
  • Immune system impairment
  • Memory loss and cognitive decline
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Pancreatic and hepatic (liver) dysfunction

Statins can also prevent the production of an important nutrient in the body called Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10. This coenzyme is actually important for your cellular energy production. It is produced in the same pathway that cholesterol is created. When you take statins, the creation of CoQ10 is also inhibited.

Statins also contribute to the rising of your blood sugar. Your liver also functions to convert excess sugar and grains into cholesterol and triglycerides. With the intake of statins, these sugars are then sent back to your bloodstream. Because of this, you become more at risk of diabetes or hypoglycemia.

How to Keep Your Cholesterol Levels at a Normal Range

The best method to maintain your normal cholesterol levels is to go natural. Integrating a healthy diet and proper exercise in your lifestyle is the most effective way to keep your cholesterol levels from becoming abnormal. This may require discipline and great effort, but it can also influence your entire physical, emotional, and mental health.

It is best to avoid processed foods rich in sugars and grains, as these contributed to a myriad of disorders. Add more heart healthy choices to your diet, such as grass-fed meats, raw eggs and dairy, avocados, raw nuts and seeds, as well as coconut oil and olive oil. Avoid frying your foods; instead, consume them raw.

Eliminate alcohol and smoking from your lifestyle. Exercise to keep your blood circulation regulated. This will transport elements of your immune system to various parts of your body, keeping your resistance high. Do not just include aerobics in your routine. Perform other activities, such as high-intensity exercises, strength training, core exercises, and stretching. Of course, it is important to have adequate rest periods when you exercise to allow your muscles to recover.


About the Author

Adrienne Nicole works as a writer for, the world’s most visited natural health site. Many of her relatives have been diagnosed with high cholesterol and other related problems, and she has recently learned that she too is at risk for these. Thanks to Dr. Mercola, she has learned effective strategies on how to keep both her physical and emotional health in optimal condition.






Adrienne’s article kind of follows the nutrition philosophy I have and teach my clients about, while also being blunt about how to reduce your risk for high cholesterol (discipline, natural foods, exercise, eliminate alcohol & smoking, avoid processed foods, refined sugars and V, cover your ears, grains), why cholesterol is good, why too much or too little cholesterol is bad and what the side of effects of taking statins are.


What did you think?

Be sure to click like on this article to give Adrienne some recognition for it and comment below to tell me what you think?  Do you agree, disagree, etc…


Yours changing lives,


Mike Alves

Newton Boot Camp

Newton Personal Trainer

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p.p.s.  comment below to share your thoughts




Self Image

Self Image

There are 2 areas I am rapidly learning about to help my clients achieve their goals. Nutrition is one and psychology is the other. I’m confident my strength and conditioning programs do what their designed to do and am working to master these other 2 areas.

Nutrition involves building a network of go to experts to send clients to or ask questions of, as well as learning answers to basic questions/problems and creating systems to ensure success.

Psychology is a whole other world. Here I need to get into my clients heads and understand what they’re thinking, why they do or don’t do what they do (wink) and how they see themselves.

I’ve got a handful of self improvement resources I’m utilizing and a current one is a book called Psycho-Cybernetics by Dr. Maxwell Maltz.

Dr. Maltz was an renowned plastic surgeon who was mystified how some patients could have instantaneous personality change after surgery and others would not. The others, would still see themselves as blemished even though the particular area of dislike had been improved. These patients could even view before and after photographs of themselves and still see no change.

Poor Self Image

Dr. Maltz discovered they had a self image problem that plastic surgery could not correct. I’ve only just begun the book (re-reading Chapter 2) so I can’t give a full review, but you may already see what I’m hoping to learn. I’m hoping to learn how to spot people who have a poor self image and learn how to instantaneously change it (or as soon as possible).

Upon dialog with my human blog inspiration client, Lisa, about this topic, I learned about Physiognomy (pronounced with a silent G). Physiognomy is the assessment of a person’s character or personality from their outer appearance, especially the face. The term physiognomy can also refer to the general appearance of a person, object or terrain, without reference to its implied characteristics. Basically not only do people judge themselves, but they also judge other people as well.

You: “Duh, Mike! I could have told you that.”

Me: O.K. You’re right. I guess I wanted to share the new vocabulary word.

Anyways, (I’ll get to the point now), I suspect if you can change a person’s or your own self image, not only will it be easier for you to make and accept lasting physical change, but you could potentially alter an observer’s perception of you.

Example: If your countenance or facial expression at rest is one of a frown, sneer or saddness, people may draw the conclusion that your a walking dark cloud and to choose to stay away from you. On the flip side if your countenance at rest is one of a subtle smile or mysterious look, people may draw the conclusion that you’re a happy, attractive or interesting person and be drawn to you.

Not that you judge (wink), but what is your first impression of these countenances?

So in conclusion.

Sometime in the near future I hope to become excellent at instantaneous and sustainable self image corrections for myself, my clients and people I come in contact with. I hope to use this to alter the physiognomies or first impressions of other people. This combined with superior nutritional, strength and conditioning programs should result in a whole lotta people who love themselves and their new bodies/lifestyles.

Your coach,

Mike Alves

Newton Boot Camp

p.s. Speaking of Love, check out what Flo loves.

Sent: Friday, July 10, 2009 9:42:36 AM
Subject: Yay Boot Camp!

Hey Mike,
As challenging and hard as it is, I LOVE boot camp!…I’m always surprised by how great I feel at the end of the hour, ready to go and energized for the day.

Just wanted to let you know. 🙂


Eat Fiber, Live Longer

I’m currently reading Dr. Walter Willet’s, Eat, Drink and Be Healthy classic and am amazed at all the nuggets he shares. I’m a performance guy, who loves to train hard and lives an active lifestyle, but reading this book has awakened me to many things, specifically eating to prevent disease. (ha, what a novel, yet simple concept)

I train my clients from the inside out, from the core so to speak, and I eat and talk about eating healthful foods. My usual point of view on nutrition is geared towards performance or cosmetic reasons, but this book takes it to another level. Disease prevention.

I’m from huge families and we’ve experienced our share of death and disease over the years while living an American lifestyle. To know how my family eats and lives and then to be a health professional and read this book is, uh…life changing. Most everyone knows that eating certain foods in excess are going to make you fat (or maybe they really don’t know), but imagine knowing that eating certain foods was going to kill you (as in ashes to ashes, dust to dust), require you to stick your body with needles everyday, require you to take pills so you could go #2 more easily and regularly, give you the opportunity to rave about your triple bypass surgery instead of your triple double in basketball or let you shave your head bald so you can drink nauseating chemical cocktails while feeling green without envy. Sounds exciting, right? Where do you sign up? NOT.

So, I just read about fiber and thought I’d share 4 great things fiber can do for you.

  1. Fiber regulates blood sugar by slowing digestion (helps control hunger & weight gain).
  2. High Fiber foods help prevent diabetes (no needle sticking).
  3. Fiber reduces your risk of heart disease by about 30% (no Armani Pace Makers or Louis Vitton Stents).
  4. Fiber prevents constipation and diverticular disease. (Screw the laxatives).

So basically, eat a bowl of rolled or steel cut oatmeal each day to lose weight, have high energy without the lulls, which stablizes your blood sugar so you don’t go into food coma, so you don’t get hungry again, overeat and become fat which leads to more problems, so you don’t become insulin sensitive, which would lead to a fun life of sticking yourself with needles because you have type 2 diabetes (not), so you reduce your cholesterol level which keeps your heart pumping strong for fun active living (think sports, adventures and “adult” activities) and maybe best of all because you take this for granted the most, you’ll have quick, painless and regular bathroom trips instead of taking pills or going to the hospital because you “gotta go” and you can’t.

Yours living the active life,

Your health & fitness expert,

Your ace,

Your coach,

Mike Alves

Newton Personal Trainer

Newton Fitness Boot Camp

p.s. registration closes July 3rd @ noon, for the next boot camp.

p.p.s. Get in shape this summer, not next.

p.p.p.s. sign up for Change YOUR Body Boot Camps now


I once worked in a grocery store and had 2 different managers. One was Dave, who always had what customers needed in stock and resulted in a loaded back room full of semi-perishable inventory.

The second manager, Tony, almost always had what customers needed in stock, but had a back room that was nearly empty except for weekly specials and some other popular items.

What did I learn? It’s not good to have stock going bad sitting on shelves and it’s far better to keep only very common items in stock and order less common items as needed.

How does this relate to health & fitness?

Today I ran sprints, ate a starchy carb breakfast. Trained a couple of clients and caught for a client (he punched & kicked, I caught). Then had a Krav Maga class. 2 Hours of total exercise, soaking wet hair, shirt, everything. I was hungry and low on energy.

Came home & realized this is bleed the cabinets, fridge and freezer week (like my manager Tony would do) from items that have been sitting for a while.

So…what do you do when you have low body fat, weight loss is not the issue & weight maintenance is and you need instant energy otherwise you’re going to bonk?

You make a shake. Liquid calories, simple carbs and protein = instant energy.

So I poured in 2 cups of water, 2 cups of frozen berries , 1 frozen banana, 2 tablespoons of wheat germ and needed only to add the protein. Uh…hmmm…er….shoot, I’m out. No egg whites, no protein powder, what to do? Well, to keep it simple I could go with legumes, nuts or canned protein. Well I’ve got enough carbs from the fruit & wheat germ so I don’t need legumes; I don’t want the fat from the nuts b/c I want quick digestion, not slow, so the winner is canned protein. Well…all I have left is about a dozen cans of tuna. TUNA?!!! Yup, tuna. Gross is what I thought too, but all I really cared about was keeping my energy up and recovering. In went the ingredients, I Hit #7 (blend), and well-la!Off with the cover and down the hatch.

Guess how it tasted? Yup. Gross!

What are the lessons learned?

  • Keep it simple.
  • If muscle building, weight maintenance, weight gain or performance are your goals, have a protein / carb shake within 30 minutes of your workout.
  • Sometimes it’s good to purge the cabinets of items that might go bad and to start fresh.
  • Sometimes you find yourself in a jam and need to remember the basics. For a post workout shake, its easy digestion, no fat, simple carbs & protein. To some degree the sources matter, but if it’s a liquid, not so much.

Your personal coach,

Mike Alves

p.s. turkey sausage, olive oil, cauliflower, broccoli, brown rice, black beans, fish oil capsule and two 16 oz glasses of ice water was my post workout meal.

Newton Boot Camps

Personal Trainer Newton

Performance Training Newton

Dinner with Dr. Halton

Last night I had the pleasure of hitting the town with my friends Bob & Tom. We met up for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory (sorry no desserts for any of us) and had great square table discussions on exercise & nutrition. This was the first time I had seen Tom since reading his new book, The Weight Loss Triad (read below to learn more), so I literally came with a list of questions.

Tom being the gracious professional and good friend that he is, kindly answered in detail each question.

Here’s my favorite thing he kept saying all night, “if you want to lose weight then don’t do this…and do do this”. There was no gray area whatsoever. It was simple. Follow this plan & you lose weight. Don’t do it & you may or may not. Pretty convincing and it came with science & personal experience to back it up.

Here are the questions I asked & basic summaries of his answers. Some will be shocking.

Q: Compete vs Incomplete proteins?

A: No big deal. Complete are obviously better, but your body will hold onto the incomplete proteins (for at least a day) until all the necessary amino acids are consumed.

Q: 3 Meals vs 6 Meals or Multiple Meals?

A: If you want to lose weight, stick to 3 meals. Increased meal consumption leads to increased chance for additional or excessive caloric consumption. He even cited the ADA’s new position statement.

Q: Bread?

A: If you want to lose weight, don’t eat it. Doesn’t matter the brand, the type, whole grain, etc…

Q: Pasta?

A: If you want to lose weight, don’t eat it. Doesn’t matter the brand, the type, whole grain, etc…

I believe the quote at dinner was, “dump it, if you want to lose weight”.

Q: Quinoa?

A: Yes it’s a complete protein, but it’s high glycemic like white rice, which raises your blood sugar & insulin levels. “Dump it, if you want to lose weight”

This one shocked me as I’ve been suggesting Quinoa as a “superfood” based upon Dr. John Berardi’s book Precision Nutrition to my clients as a “starchy carb” food to be consumed post workout.

Q: Starchy Carbs?

A: Oatmeal & Brown Rice as your grains, though from previous conversations, sweet potatoes can fall in the starchy carb category too (not grains).

Q: Swimming’s not a great exercise for losing weight?

A: If you want to lose weight and time is a consideration, swimming is not the best mode of exercise because you’re not weight bearing & something about building a superficial layer of fat to help regulate body temperature.

Q: Interval training?

A: He personally does it, likes it for its calorie burning effect when time is limited, but does not recommend it to the majority of his clientele, simply because they are not interested in performance and/or they are older & have increased risks for heart attacks, stroke, etc…and total cardio minutes (225-250 for women & 150-175 for men) are more important to him.

Q: EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) and it’s affect on metabolism?

A: Says it contributes to an increased metabolism post exercise, but is only 1 contributing variable to an elevated metabolism that can last up to 12 hours. Cellular repair from damage, digestion, thermogenesis, the breaking down of glycogen (stored carbs) & fat into energy are some others.

Here’s a little Dr. Tom approved intro to his book.

About The Book: The Weight Loss Triad presents a comprehensive weight loss strategy broken down into 3 key areas, Diet, Cardiovascular Exercise and Resistance Training. All three of these areas need attention for weight loss to become permanent. The program is based on Dr. Halton’s 5 years of doctoral research at Harvard University’s Department Of Nutrition as well as his 12+ years of experience helping people lose weight. Whether you need to lose 5 pounds or 100 pounds, you can attain your goals by following the principles in this program.

About The Author: Dr. Thomas L Halton is the owner of Fitness Plus, a nutrition counseling and personal training company based in Boston, MA. He is a graduate of Harvard University with a Doctorate in Nutrition. Dr. Halton also holds Masters Degrees in Human Nutrition and Exercise Science. He is a Licensed Nutritionist, a Certified Nutrition Specialist and an ACE Certified Personal Trainer.
Dr. Halton has been published in the nations leading journals, including The New England Journal of Medicine and The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. His research has been featured on CNN, CBS Health Beat, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, US News and World Report, Time Magazine, Newsweek, Men’s Health and dozens of other international media outlets.

The Weight Loss Triad is available for online purchase at

Check it out and if you have particular questions, comment below and I’ll see if “Dr. Tom” wouldn’t mind answering them for you.

Yours living the active life,

Mike Alves

p.s. The Weight Loss Triad, was simple to read & understand, a fast read, with great, ready to use action tips , without fluff or b.s. This will be your ultimate reference for weight loss as its researched based, practiced based (with clients who pay Big $$$ for results) and principle centered.