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Statins or Natural Cholesterol Care

Pills to lower Cholesterol At the end of 2014 Federal health officials reported that more Americans than ever are taking cholesterol-lowering medications. And according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of adults aged 40 and older taking drugs for high cholesterol rose from 20% to 28% between 2003 and 2012.

Why? Statins have a very impressive track record of lowering the “bad “cholesterol i.e. LDL, sometimes by as much as 50%. However…. what about the real goal? i.e. reduction in the risk for heart attacks?

Unfortunately those results are not impressive at all. What’s worse is that statins can have serious side effects. Most statin studies don’t show a reduction in mortality. More often than not, they’re used for primary prevention i.e. to lower LDL in those who haven’t been diagnosed with heart disease.

Barbara H. Roberts, MD, of the The Miriam Hospital talks about this in her book,The Truth About Statins: Risks and Alternatives to Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs. She was interviewed by Bottom Line/Personal.

Dr Roberts poses the question…..Is LDL really the enemy?
 

“For decades, the public health message hasn’t changed. High cholesterol –particularly high levels of LDL cholesterol –leads to atherosclerosis, blood clots and heart attacks.

Yet many important studies, including the Framingham Heart Study, have shown that most patients who have had a heart attack have cholesterol levels that are nearly identical to those who haven’t. Also, many experts believe that HDL “good” cholesterol is a more important predictor of heart disease than LDL.”

She reports that statins can lower the risk for recurrent heart attack by a small amount in people who already have had one. In people who haven’t been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, the use for statins reduced the risk for heart attacks and other cardiovascular events by a paltry 1% to 2%.

Serious Side Effects of Statins

Dr Barbara Roberts M.D. book about cholesterol care with dietDr Roberts also addresses the side effects, some of which are serious…. like reducing blood levels of CoQ10, which is involved in energy production inside cells. Low CoQ10 has been linked to heart failure, hypertension, fatigue and “mental fog”.

The most common side effect of statin therapy is myalgia, or muscle pain.
The pain is usually mild, but the risk and the severity increases when taking higher doses.

Rhabdomyolysis is a severe form of statin-related muscle damage that can lead to kidney failure, which can be fatal.

She says that the side effects are an acceptable trade off when drugs truly save lives but she says this isn’t the case for the vast majority of patients who take statins.

She sites 2 exceptions:

  1. if you have high LDL and have had a heart attack….or
  2. if you have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease (or diabetes if you are a man), a statin can make sense.

She also recommends statins to patients who have had familial hypercholesterolemia, sky-high cholesterol caused by a genetic abnormality.

“I advise most patients to work on their diets before resorting to statins. Dietary changes can increase HDL and reduce triglycerides, which is more important than reducing LDL, says Dr Barbara Roberts.

Dietary Changes for Lowing Cholesterol

Here’s the diet she recommends. It’s based on the Lyon Diet Heart study that showed conclusively that heart attack patients who followed a Mediterranean-type diet, greatly improved their odds of never having another heart attack. They were eating more whole grains, vegetables, fruit and fish, and less beef, lamb and pork, among other factors. They were compared to those who followed a “prudent” Western Diet.

They were 56% less likely to die from any cause…65% less likely to suffer cardiac death…and 70% less likely to have a heart attack.

She comments that you might assume patients in the Mediterranean diet group had lower LDL. But that was not the case. She tells us that their LDL was roughly the same as that of people in the control group, which is further proof that you don’t need to reduce LDL to improve cardiovascular risks.

Asked why the Mediterranean diet was so effective? She says that some credit goes to olive oil and fish and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. The diet is also low in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids that we get from corn oil and other vegetable based oils. And also high in fiber.

Dr Robert’s other recommendations are:

  • Extra virgin olive oil that are is rich in phytochemicals.
  • Don’t worry about saturated fat, like, dairy fat, as its an effective way to increase HDL. It’s true that saturated fat raises LDL –but only the “fluffy” LDL particles that are largely benign.
  • Seafood a few times a week, like salmon and tuna a few times a week. It reduces the risk for cardiovascular disease.
  • Enjoy your wine.… no more than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 for women, has been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease. Red wine may be particularly helpful because it is high in antioxidants.
  • Say ‘no’ to “white” foods because simple carbohydrates like white bread, white rice, white pasta and some breakfast cereals cause a surge of insulin, which in turn increases the risk for cardiovascular disease.
  • Exercise … get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week like brisk walking, biking, and swimming.

“People want some kind of magic powder to sprinkle on their food to lower cholesterol, but the best alternative treatment is weight loss and eating better, exercise, and quitting smoking, which will give you the best results and may allow a person to avoid medications entirely,” says Alice H. Lichtenstein, MD, professor of nutrition at Tufts University and spokeswoman for the American Heart Association.

Aside from lifestyle changes that include dietary changes and regular exercise, which supplements are helpful? Take a look at Good Gut Solution’s Cholesterol Care Category. There’s a great, selection of effective supplements.

How to Keep Your Cholesterol Under Control When Traveling

VW Bus in front of Beach

Being on the go makes it hard for anyone to keep up with a healthy lifestyle, but just because you’re not on your regular routine doesn’t mean you can’t stay on target towards good health.

Cholesterol is one of the most difficult things to control when fast food, gas station snacks, and coffee shop baked goods are just a stop away. While these salty, sugary, or fatty foods may be easy for a long commute or trip, they’re no good for keeping cholesterol in check.

HDL (or “good” cholesterol) is needed to help process and remove LDL (“bad” cholesterol) from your body, so making sure you’re getting enough of the good stuff is essential at all times, especially when you’re running on all cylinders while traveling.

Here are some ways to keep your cholesterol under control when traveling:

Making sure to pack supplements will help you get the nutrients you need without having to scour gas station travel areas for fortified foods or vitamins. B vitamins are recommended to help control your cholesterol even when you’re indulging a bit more than usual, so keeping supplements on hand is a good idea.

You can pack enough supplements of niacin, known to help give good cholesterol a boost in the body, and B-12, which is used to help foster production of red blood cells, to get your through your trip.

Being able to manage your cholesterol means you have to keep both the good and bad in balance and instead of eating fish on the go, it’s much easier to take a fish oil capsule. Cod liver oil capsules, made by Nordic Naturals, provide the natural oil you need.

Additionally, you should also consider packing antioxidant supplements, like Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Antioxidants if you’re not able to eat enough raw vegetables to provide you with the nutrition you need.

Packing raw vegetables and fruit in a small, soft-sided cooler is one way to keep cholesterol balanced by controlling what kinds of snacks you’re eating. A pre-packed snack bag can stop the urges to buy unhealthy food from a gas station.

When it comes to missing out on your regularly scheduled fitness plan, you don’t have to allocate specific time for working out – just incorporate extra steps and walking into your day while you’re out and about.

In the end, one trip is not going to ruin a regularly followed health routine. So, if you’re proactive on a daily basis and make some of these small changes to your on-the-road routine, you won’t have to stress out while you’re traveling!

Image: Pixabay

Cholesterol Drug Not Living Up to Advertisement

A new study by cardiologists at The University of Kansas Hospital shows that the heavily advertised cholesterol drug ezetimibe (brand name Zetia; in combination with simvastatin: Vytorin) doesn’t provide all of the benefits suggested in the ads. The study appears in The Journal of Clinical Medical Research.

Ezetimibe is known to lower LDL cholesterol in many patients, but does not have well-defined benefits such as reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke or total mortality. Higher LDL levels are associated with greater risk for a heart attack. But the study involving 3,827 patients showed while ezetimibe did lower LDL cholesterol by 12 percent, it had no measurable effect on total mortality.

In one of the largest studies of its kind, Vacek and his researchers analyzed patient records going back eight years. The intent was to look at the effect of statins alone (such as simvastatin, lovastatin, and others) which work by reducing the production of LDL, the so called “bad cholesterol,” in the liver vs. ezetimibe, which works by blocking cholesterol absorbsion in the GI tract.

“It’s important to do studies like this. People take expensive medications that may have significant side effects, but may receive no benefit. Also the use of these drugs may detract from the use of others that are effective,” said Vacek. “Data such as this is key to cost-effective and outcomes based medical decision making.”

Ecology health center recommends a more natural aproach to help lowering cholesterol

ProOmega LDL

We recommend these products as part of the protocol:

Nordic Naturals Promega LDL – Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is an important step in the prevention of heart disease.Numerous scientific studies have shown that red yeast rice, a natural red pigmented yeast grown on rice, helps support healthy cholesterol levels that are already within the normal range.Based upon such research findings and human clinical trials, Nordic Naturals developed ProOmega LDL, a synergistic blend of natural substances that have been shown to support overall cardiovascular health.

Niacin

Niacin – Also known as nicotinic acid, niacin is an essential nutrient, positioned at the core of NAD/NADH and NADP/NADPH, which are major redox- active “electron storage” compounds. One or both of these “redox pairs” is involved in every major biochemical pathway. They participate in the trafficking of electrons as “reducing equivalents”, the electron packets that facilitate metabolism. Niacin is involved in the production of energy, detoxification and the normal regulation of blood sugar and cholesterol.

 

PolicosanolPolicosanol – is a well-tolerated mixture of long-chain aliphatic alcohols derived from sugar cane wax. and promotes:

– healthy lipid metabolism,

– triglyceride support,

– platelet function, and

– antioxidant protection for cardiovascular health

 

Source  Kansas City InfoZyne and Ecology Health Center

Copyright © 2017 Good Gut Solution.

Dr. Pamela Nathan DHM November 29, 2015