All Posts tagged cholesterol

Cholesterol and Statins

I don’t worry as much about people’s cholesterol level, I worry about their overall risk of heart disease. Too many practitioners are fixed on just LDL cholesterol and this leads to the overuse of statin drugs.

There are two common treatment approaches:

1) “Treat-to-target”–an approach that uses statins to force LDL cholesterol to less than 70 for high-risk patients and no higher than 130 for people not at risk
2) “Tailored treatment”–an approach that gives far less importance to LDL level, while weighing multiple risk factors to develop a variety of treatments including exercise, diet modification, etc.

Tailored treatment will prevent more coronary artery disease events while treating fewer people with high-dose statins.

Years ago, the Framingham Heart Study showed that total cholesterol levels below 160 caused heart disease problems to RISE! So it’s been well known for decades that low lower lowest is not good better best.

There is research on subjects in their 70’s that found elevated levels of total cholesterol were linked with REDUCED dementia risk in their later 70s. And elevated cholesterol throughout their 70s was associated with reduced dementia risk throughout their 80s.

Let’s talk about natural alternatives to the high cholesterol issue and reducing the risk of dementia as we age.

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Garlic has heart benefits

Daily intake of garlic may reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, says a researchers from Shandong University in China. Compared with placebo groups, garlic consumption is associated with a 5.4% reduction in cholesterol levels and a 6.5% reduction in triglyceride levels.

“Although the size of the effect is modest, garlic therapy should benefit patients with risk of cardiovascular diseases, as garlic may also reduce blood pressure, decrease plasma viscosity, etc.,” the researchers wrote in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

Garlic has been suggested to exhibit several health benefits, including inhibiting enzymes involved in lipid synthesis, decreasing platelet aggregation, preventing lipid peroxidation and increasing antioxidant status.

Garlic comes in different forms, including garlic powder (doses ranging from 600 mg to 900 mg per day), garlic oil (8.2 mg to 15 mg per day), or aged garlic extract (1.8 mg to 7.2 mg per day).

The most pronounced cholesterol-lowering effects were observed for garlic powder, while garlic oil produced the best triglyceride-lowering effects.

Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

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Soy protein helps improve good cholesterol

Supplements of soy protein, but not milk protein, may improve blood levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, and enhance the overall cholesterol balance, according to a new study in the  European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Forty grams per day of soy protein was associated with significant decreases in total cholesterol levels, compared to carbohydrate supplements, and improvements in HDL levels, compared with milk protein. “Our study is the first randomized controlled trial to compare the effects of soy protein, milk protein and complex carbohydrate on serum lipids,” report researchers from the University of Mississippi, Tulane University and Kaiser Permanente Southern California.

“There is increasing evidence that consumption of soy protein in place of animal protein lowers blood cholesterol levels and may provide other cardiovascular benefits. Our study provides additional evidence that consumption of soy protein in place of carbohydrate might improve the lipid profile,” they added.

Led by Dr. Jiang He from Tulane University, the researchers recruited 352 healthy adults with an average age of 47.7 to participate in their randomized, controlled trial.

Participants were assigned to receive 40 grams per day supplementation of soy protein, milk protein or complex carbohydrate for eight weeks in a random order.

Results showed that, compared with carbohydrates, the soy protein was associated with a 3.97 mg/dl reduction in total cholesterol levels and a 0.12 mg/dl reduction in the ratio of total HDL cholesterol.

In addition, compared to milk protein, the soy protein was associated with a 1.54 mg/dl increase in HDL cholesterol levels and a 0.14 mg/dl decrease in the ratio of total HDL cholesterol.

On the other hand, milk protein supplementation was significantly associated with a 1.13 mg/dl decrease in HDL levels, compared to carb supplements, added the researchers.

“Our study suggests that soy protein supplement reduces total cholesterol and total/HDL cholesterol ratio compared with carbohydrate, and increases HDL and reduces total/HDL cholesterol ratio compared with milk protein,” and “The effect of milk protein did not confer a significant favorable effect on any lipid measures compared with carbohydrate.”

I have many patients that I recommend UltraMeal protein shakes (medical food) to that can contain either whey protein, soy protein or rice protein. It all depends on the individual.

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High Cholesterol Treatment – Rice Bran Oil

Rice bran oil can lower bad (LDL) cholesterol. The study comes from Dr. Richard Tulley at Louisiana State University (LSU). “(The) oil lowers cholesterol in healthy, moderately hypercholesterolemic adults,” says Dr. Tulley. High blood cholesterol – known as hyperlipidemia – can damage heart health. That’s because it causes fat and cholesterol to build up in your arteries. Then plaques begin to form…they harden…blocking arteries as they do…and damage your heart. This is called atherosclerosis. Dr. Tulley’s new study shows that this oil can stop that from happening.

He conducted a 10-week study with 14 volunteers. The oil was added to everyone’s diet. In fact…it made up one-third of their total dietary fat. They compared the oil with another oil blend…which had a similar fatty acid composition. The oil reduced LDL cholesterol by seven percent. And HDL cholesterol stayed the same. Dr. Tulley says the results were positive given the short time frame. “Total cholesterol was significantly lower with consumption of (the oil) than with consumption of the control diet,” says Dr. Tulley. 

At the University of Rochester Medical Center, Mohammad Minhajuddin showed the oil lowers cholesterol in humans and animals. Minhajuddin’s latest work used an isolated compound from the oil to lower cholesterol in animals. Total cholesterol levels dropped by 42 percent. Bad (LDL) cholesterol levels dropped by a whopping 62 percent. The results were published in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology.

Rice bran oil contains gamma oryzanol. It’s a combination of sterols and ferulic acid. It’s already approved in Japan to treat high cholesterol. 

Rice bran oil is extracted from the germ and inner husk of rice. It’s suitable for high-heat cooking. Try substituting it for olive oil next time you cook on high heat. Olive oil should be kept on temperatures below 250 degrees.

Gamma oryzanol is available as a supplement…in capsule form. Studies show 300 mg daily of gamma oryzanol can lower cholesterol.

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Antioxidants update

Free radicals are believed to help many health problems and prevent heart disease, cancer and other disorders. Antioxidants are substances that protect cells against the effects of free radicals — molecules produced when the body breaks down food or is exposed to environmental toxins and radiation. I believe there are benefits in taking antioxidants especially in those with cardiovascular risks.

Vitamin C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10 and selenium produce multiple positive effects on sugar and fat metabolism, blood pressure and arterial flexibility (which allows blood to move freely through the body).

Reuven Zimlichman and his research team at Wolfson Medical Center in Israel randomly divided 70 high blood pressure patients into two groups. One group was given antioxidants supplements and the other took placebo capsules for six months. Those taking the antioxidants received vitamin C (1000 mg/day), vitamin E (400 i.u/day), coenzyme Q10 (120 mg/day) and selenium (200 mcg/day).

Tests at the beginning of the trial, after three months, and again after six months documented that patients in the antioxidant group had marked improvements in their cardiovascular health. Cardiovascular profiles and cholesterol panels were healthier. The researchers concluded “antioxidant supplements have the potential to alleviate atherosclerotic damage..”

“Antioxidant supplementation significantly increased large and small artery elasticity in patients with multiple cardiovascular risk factors. This beneficial vascular effect was associated with an improvement in glucose and lipid metabolism as well as significant decrease in blood pressure,” Dr. Zimlichman said in a statement to the media. “The findings of the present study justify investigating the overall clinical impact of antioxidant treatment in patients with multiple cardiovascular risk factors.”

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Are Whole Eggs or Egg Whites Better for You?

I know people are confused about eggs. Personally I always eat the egg yolks. That’s where the best nutrition is! Here’s the story: 

By throwing out the yolk and only eating egg whites, you’re essentially throwing out the most nutrient dense, antioxidant-rich, vitamin and mineral loaded portion of the egg. The yolks contain so many B-vitamins, trace minerals, vitamin A, folate, choline, lutein, and other powerful nutrients… it’s not even worth trying to list them all.

 

Even the protein in egg whites isn’t as powerful without the yolks to balance out the amino acid profile and make the protein more bio-available. Not to even mention that the egg yolks from free range chickens are loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Yolks contain more than 90% of the calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, B6, folate, and B12, and panthothenic acid of the egg. In addition, the yolks contain ALL of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K in the egg, as well as ALL of the essential fatty acids (EFAs).

 

What about my cholesterol?

 

When you eat a food that contains a high amount of dietary cholesterol such as eggs, your body down-regulates it’s internal production of cholesterol to balance things out. On the other hand, if you don’t eat enough cholesterol, your body simply produces more since cholesterol has dozens of important vital functions in the body.

 

There have been plenty of studies lately that indicate that eating whole eggs actually raises your good HDL cholesterol to a higher degree than LDL cholesterol, thereby improving your overall cholesterol ratio and blood chemistry.

 

In addition, the yolks contain the antioxidant lutein as well as other antioxidants which can help protect you from inflammation within your body (the REAL culprit in heart disease, not dietary cholesterol!), giving yet another reason why the yolks are actually GOOD for you, and not detrimental.

University of Connecticut study that showed that a group of men in the study that ate 3 eggs per day for 12 weeks while on a reduced carb, higher fat diet increased their HDL good cholesterol by 20%, while their LDL bad cholesterol stayed the same during the study.  However, the group that ate egg substitutes (egg whites) saw no change in either and did not see the improvement in good cholesterol (remember that higher HDL levels are associated with lower risk of heart disease) that the whole egg eaters did. 

 

 

 

 

I prefer organic free range eggs from healthy chickens that are allowed to roam freely and eat a more natural diet.

You should also know that groups of people that ate egg breakfasts vs groups of people that ate cereal or bagel-based breakfasts showed that the results of the study showed that the egg eaters lost or maintained a healthier bodyweight, while the cereal/bagel eaters gained weight. 

It was hypothesized that the egg eaters actually ate less calories during the remainder of the day because their appetite was more satisfied compared to the cereal/bagel eaters who would have been more prone to wild blood sugar swings and food cravings.

 

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Type 2 Diabetes & Statin Use

Last year, University of Glasgow researchers examined the results of 13 large statin trials that included more than 91,000 subjects.  Results showed that for every 255 patients treated with statins for four years, one would develop type 2 diabetes, apparently as a consequence of statin use.

About 20 million people take statins in the U.S. So, one case of type 2 diabetes for every 255 patients comes to well over 78,000 people who will develop or already have developed diabetes as a statin side effect. (And you can forget about the “four years” business because statin users are users-for-life.) 

For high cholesterol, I advocate therapeutic lifestyle changes – diet, nutrition & exercise. This is my first line of therapy for clients with high cholesterol and/or Type 2 Diabetes. First, lets see if we can control it with medical foods such as UltraMeal by Metagenics along with diet and exercise. I see statins being prescribed with resultant cases of muscle damage, kidney damage, liver damage, and cognition damage. We should put a stop to statin overuse, and prescribe the drug when appropriate and for the right reasons.

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Type 2 diabetics & diet

I have a lot of  Type 2 diabetic patients who are looking for ways to control it better. I have seen consistently good results with  low-carb Paleo diets.

I hear lots of  stories from patients who have total cholesterol around 200 – 250. There GP doctors want them to go on cholesterol lowering meds. I am not in favor of this because from what I read, higher cholesterol is associated with increased longevity (lowest all-cause mortality and not just on cardiovascular mortality) especially in women.

People need to understand that cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease; inflammation does and this is how statins, when they work, work. When I get clients on an anti-inflammatory diet (no sugar, grains, legumes,  and  the right oils) and using UltraInflamX or UltraMeal by Metagenics  it simply allows the body to go back to its natural, non-inflammatory state.

There are some pretty powerful statements made about this topic such as the ASCOT study, the largest randomized clinical study of statin effectiveness in women, found that the women who took Lipitor, developed more heart attacks than women in the group given placebo.  In this ASCOT study, 2,000 women were included among 10,000 patients having elevated blood pressure and at least three other cardiovascular risk factors.

Statins have only been shown statistically beneficial to men who have had a previous coronary event (statins reduce the rate of subsequent events).  This is why I’m still a believer in using UltraInflamX or UltraMeal along with diet recommendations.

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Understanding Fats

Good Sources of Sat Fats

Somethings are worth saying again –  fat is good for us.

Two good sources of fat are saturated (animal) fat and omega-3 fats.

  • Omega-3s – These are great for heart health. They protect against cardiovascular disease. They also helps to burn body fat. For good sources of omega-3s enjoy wild fish, avocado, olives, cod liver oil, Sacha Inchi oil, and nuts. I recommend you take supplements called EPA-DHA 720 by Metagenics www.DrJeffreyTucker.meta-ehealth.com  
  • Saturated Fats –These fats boost your immune system. They also help you to absorb calcium. Find it in grass-fed beef, raw milk, and raw butter.

You can find healthy sources of fat in these 9 foods: 

  1. Organic butter
  2. Olive oil
  3. Nuts
  4. Raw milk
  5. Cold water wild fish
  6. Grass-fed beef
  7. Free-range chicken
  8. Eggs
  9. Avocadoes

Vegetable oils that you cook with are fats that are highly processed to extend their shelf lives. Saturated fats come from nature, trans fats are almost always man-made. Eliminate the trans fats, they are not essential fats; nor do they promote good health. Margarine is produced at high temperatures which destroys vitamin E, and other nutrients in the oil. The final product contains trans-fatty acids.

Trans-fatty acids increase inflammation in the body (colitis, arthritis, muscle and joint conditions). 

I’m OK with butter. It does not contain trans fat. It’s also a good source of fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamin A, D, E and K. None of these essential vitamins are found in significant quantities in margarine.

Fats to Avoid

Bad fats are the omega-6s. They are needed for a balanced diet, but only in small amounts. You need a higher ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s in the foods you eat. You can avoid high levels of omega-6, by not eating grain-fed beef, processed foods, and vegetable oil. Avoid processed, packaged foods like potato chips, cookies, cakes, and bottled salad dressings.

Here’s a short list of foods which contain trans fats:

  • Hardened Margarines and shortenings
  • Bottled salad dressings
  • Mayonnaise
  • Fried fast foods
  • Corn chips
  • French fries
  • Fried meats like chicken and fish
  • Baked goods including biscuits, breads, cakes, cookies and crackers
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Lasting Weight Loss

Let talk about Fat:

My mother in law has cooked with olive oil her whole life. She was a very heavy lady until she had gastric bypass surgery. But she doesn’t have heart disease.  Her kids are healthy& robust. Her family appears to enjoy good health. My mom always cooked with butter instead of margarine. When the fad went to vegetable oils and hydrogenated fats, we tossed out natural saturated fats and embraced trans fats. This was a big, big  mistake.

Fat is an important part of diet. The simple truth about fat is: you have to eat fat to lose fat. I just need you to eat the right kind of fat.

Fat fell out of favor at the end of the 70’s. Once the 80’s hit, the government told us that animal fats caused heart disease. The Government Guidelines recommended we limit our saturated fat to less than 10 percent of our daily calories. Americans started buying low-fat products. However, over the next two decades, we have seen an epidemic of obesity and diabetes.

Now in 2010 the latest science is supporting saturated fats again. In the March edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition researchers attribute America’s obesity and bad health to carbs – not saturated fats. I believe cardiovascular disease or coronary heart disease is linked to too much carbs in the diet. Reducing saturated fat in the diet does not prolong life or lower the incidence of coronary heart disease. 

The real killer is trans-fatty acids, not saturated fat. Trans fat should be omitted from our diet, period.

I don’t care if my patients get about 50 percent of their fat intake from saturated fat. I want to see  “good” cholesterol (HDL) levels, and no problems with insulin resistance. High HDL is the most reliable way to prevent heart disease.

I recommend eating a diet with good-quality protein and good-quality fat.

Most of the nutritionist I talk to, recommend fats and oils for good health. Why?

Fats including the Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA-DHA 720) – a deficiency can lead to depression, dementia, lack of concentration and a host of chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Eat the right fats and you will:

  • Burn fat
  • Increase weight loss
  • Increase your metabolism
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Become more sensitive to insulin, which will balance your blood sugar

I recommend EPA-DHA 720 by Metagenics as a good source of omega 3 fatty acids

www.DrJeffreyTucker.meta-ehealth.com

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