Guidelines for reducing low-density lipoprotein without using statins include regular exercise and a diet rich in fiber, whey protein and omega-3 fatty acids with little saturated fats, according to Harvard Health Publications. In addition, some drugs that do not contain statins, such as resins, fibrates, niacin and ezetimibe, are also highly effective. While statins lower bad cholesterol and may reduce the risk of stroke, they may cause loss of concentration, nausea and liver, nerve and muscle inflammation in some people.
The peak LDL cholesterol level for healthy adults is less than 100 milligrams per deciliter, according to Harvard Health Publications. High and extremely high LDL levels, between 160 and 189 milligrams per deciliter and at 190 milligrams per deciliter or higher, respectively, increase the risk of strokes, heart attacks, osteoporosis, dementia and unstable angina.
Statins are the safest and most effective drugs to lower LDL in the short term, and doctors turn to them first as they work successfully for every six in 10 people. However, they are not as effective as lifestyle therapy over the long term, states Harvard Health Publications. Tips for improving unhealthy cholesterol levels include avoiding all forms of tobacco, exercising regularly, controlling weight gain and eating a heart-healthy diet that contains foods that lower bad cholesterol levels, such as soy protein and plant stanols.