(1)actually it is not cholesterol (in any form) that is bad, but oxidized cholesterol which produces damage to blood vessel walls resulting in atherosclerosis, heart attacks, etc. Thus the importance of anti-oxidants e.g. vitamin c, vitamin e, etc (2)“slow release” or “no-flush” niacin (Inositol Hexaniacinate) is preferred to regular “niacin” for lowering cholesterol because it is less likely to damage the liver. Nevertheless (3)anyone taking any form of niacin should have their liver function studies checked, at least for the first few months. All this should preferably be done under a doc’s supervision. (if your doc is not cooperative then life extension foundation allows you to order your own blood tests). (4) Cy writes “the cholesterol profile seems to be the best determinant of your chances for a heart attack”. Actually 50% of people who have a heart attack have normal cholesterol. The other factors which probably explain these 50% are beginning to be known. There are a number of other factors which are at least as bad (if abnormal) as cholesterol e.g. homocysteine. If you take an extra 800 micrograms of folic acid in addition to a good amount of b vitamins (e.g. a “B-50”) your homocysteine will most likely be normal. Others factors are diverse and include CRP (c-reactive protein), fibrinogen, lipoprotein A and B, etc. Cutting edge docs are just starting to measure these (you can get your own measured e.g. LEF). Treating these if abnormal is a bit more tricky. However, inflammation is starting to be realized as a key component of heart disease (and quite possibly Alzheimer’s and many other chronic diseases). This is one reason that is it critical to get plenty of omega 3 fatty acids (e.g. flax oil, fish oil, salmon, mackeral, etc) which are anti-flammatory, and cut down on omega 6 fatty acids (except GLA) which are pro-inflammatory. Triycerides can play a role and if yours are elevated, then you probably need to cut back on carbs (this may not be an issue for anyone reading this mag).
TMG also is very good at lowering homocysteine.