Research done at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, involved 72 patients with blockages of at least one major cardiac artery. Half of them were told to take an aged garlic supplement twice a day, the other half a placebo.
After a year, CAT scans showed that those given the garlic had reductions of plaque in their arteries. The ones who took the placebo only got worse.
“Our study demonstrated the benefit of this supplement on both plaque changes over time and preventing new plaque formation,” said the lead researcher, cardiologist Matthew Budoff, M.D.
One effect of garlic is to lower blood levels of homocysteine, a marker for heart disease.
The study recommends taking 1,200 mg of garlic a day, split between morning and evening doses. Or, you can eat garlic in natural form, but it’s harder to measure the amount of nutrients that will give you.
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.
Grass-fed beef and other animal foods. As opposed to traditional, grain-fed livestock, meat that comes from animals fed grass also contains anti-inflammatory omega-3s, but in lower concentrations than coldwater fish. Free-range livestock that graze in pastures build up higher levels of omega-3s. Meat from grain-fed animals has virtually no omega-3s and plenty of saturated fat. Cooking tip: Unless it’s ground, grass-fed beef may be tougher, so slow cook it.
Olive oil. Olive oil is a great source of oleic acid, another anti-inflammatory oil. Researchers wrote in the October 2007 Journal of the American College of Nutrition that those who consume more oleic acid have better insulin function and lower blood sugar. Shopping tip: Opt for extra-virgin olive oil, which is the least processed, and use it instead of other cooking oils.
Spread Olive Oil on dark-green lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, and other salad veggies. These are rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants, nutrients that dampen inflammation.
Cruciferous vegetables. These veggies, which include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale, are also loaded with antioxidants. But they provide one other ingredient — sulfur — that the body needs to make its own high-powered antioxidants, such as one called glutathione.
Turmeric. This spice contains a powerful, natural anti-inflammatory compound, according to a report in the August 2007 Biochemical Pharmacology. Turmeric has long been part of curry spice blends, used in southern Asian cuisines. To use: Buy powdered curry spice (which contains turmeric and other spices) and use it as a seasoning when pan-frying chicken breasts in olive oil.
This relative of tumeric is also known for its anti-inflammatory benefits, and some research suggests that it might also help control blood sugar. Suggestion: Brew your own ginger tea. Use a peeler to remove the skin off a piece of ginger, then add several thin slices to a cup of hot water and let steep for a few minutes.
Garlic. The research isn’t consistent, but garlic may have some anti-inflammatory and glucose-regulating benefits and it may also help your body fight infections. At the very least, it won’t hurt and makes for a tasty addition to food. Kitchen tip: Dice garlic and fresh rosemary, and rub them on a whole chicken before roasting.
Green tea. Like fruits and vegetables, green tea contains natural anti-inflammatory compounds. It may even reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Suggestion: Drink a cup a day — or brew it like sun tea, refrigerate, and serve.
I’ve been upset about cholesterol lowering drugs for years. I want what’s best for you. My practice and the techniques I use are based on enhancing the nervous system through more natural alternative therapies. Cholesterol is integral to your cell membranes and is critical for nerve function. Every nerve in the body is covered in fat (cholesterol). Sixty percent of the brain is composed of fat (cholesterol). And cholesterol is vital for the production of sex hormones. Lowering cholesterol levels too much can have a very dangerous effect on brain and nerve function. From everything I read I believe that a healthy cholesterol level is less than 200 mg/dl and greater than 110 mg/dl. Some studies even suggest a cholesterol of 230 mg/dl is healthy. Strive for LDL less than 100 mg/dl; HDL for males – greater than 50 mg/dl, HDL for females greater than 60 mg/dl. I am now actually seeing patients on cholesterol lowering drugs with levels too low. Cholesterol is so important that your body does not rely on food sources alone.
How can you lower cholesterol without the use of statin drugs? These are the most consistent recommendations I have made that get results:
Most people are familiar with garlic as a cholesterol lowering substance. Allicin, the main biologically active ingredient in garlic, along with its associated chemical constituents, have been shown to lower total cholesterol. If you use a supplement, take 600 to 1200 mg a day divided into 2 or 3 doses.
UltraMeal Plus contains phytosterols – plant extracts that are sterols. These are types of compounds that bind to the bad fat when we eat, and take it out of body. They greatly reduce the production and absorption of bad cholesterol. UltraMeal Plus can be ordered from Metagenics.
Another one of my favorites is niacin, also known as vitamin B3. It has a tremendous efficacy. Niacin can raise HDL – the “good” cholesterol – by 15 to 35 percent, making it the most effective drug available for raising HDL cholesterol. In larger doses, niacin can reverse atherosclerosis by also lowering LDL and triglyceride levels.
Another substance that lowers cholesterol is red yeast rice. But it is not one of my favorites because it is really no different than taking Mevacor (a statin drug), and like other statins, it will interfere with CoEnzymeQ10. So, if you are taking a statin drug, I believe it’s absolutely mandatory that you supplement with CoQ10. This compound supports cardiac function and statin drugs block its production. Take 100-200 mg a day.
After several years of educating patients on the paleo diet and seeing the results on lab tests and body composition tests – I still highly recommend the paleo diet – low carb, minimizing fruits to a max of two per day, mostly sticking to only berries in small amounts, multiple servings of non starchy veggies, especially dark leafy greens, eating lots of protein from fish, meat, eggs, and chicken. I especially recommend wild salmon 2-3 times per week, grass fed meat only, a variety of nuts & seeds especially macadamia nuts, walnuts & almonds for snacks. I even want you to eat healthy fats: avocado, coconut butter, use coconut oil for sauteeing, or extra virgin olive oil. I would avoid dairy as much as possible.
In addition I recommend omega 3 fish oils (EPA-DHA 720) daily, liquid CoQ10 (NanoCell Q10), and UltraMeal Plus medical food shakes (www.DrJeffreyTucker.meta-ehealth.com)
Be sure your diet is high in fiber. Eating eight to 10 grams of soluble fiber a day lowers LDL cholesterol by about 5%. Oatmeal is a good source of soluble fiber. Also, soluble fiber supplements are available now (Metagenics has a good brand). Soluble fiber can also be taken as a weight loss aid. People who take a serving of soluble fiber in 8 oz of a calorie-free liquid 30 minutes or so before every meal tend to eat less. They lose weight without changing anything else.2-3
Of course exercise has so many benefits — maintaining function, controlling weight, lowering blood pressure, fighting depression, etc. — if exercise were a drug, it would be a blockbuster. Most people look for a pill instead of making healthy choices and taking action. Don’t be like them. Exercise is the best way to raise your HDL (the “good” cholesterol).
I have patients that are decreasing there overall cholesterol by double digit points in one month by including UltraMeal Plus medical food shakes. UltraMeal Plus contains plant sterols which have benefits in lowering cholesterol. I recommend using UltraMeal Plus as an adjunct to Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC). If TLC is not enough, then resort to formulas such as Cholarest SC and Lipotain. Insinase alleviates the underlying inflammation that interrupts the signal from the insulin receptor to the glucose transport vesicles to allow glucose into cells.