In an eight-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial involving 92 overweight subjects with mild high blood cholesterol levels, researchers from Italy examined the effects of artichoke leaf extract (250 mg, twice per day) on serum lipid profiles.
After eight weeks of treatment, subjects given artichoke leaf extract showed significant increases in beneficial HDL cholesterol with significant decreases in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol compared to subjects given a placebo. The study authors concluded that “these results indicate that [artichoke leaf extract] could play a relevant role in the management of hypercholesterolaemia, favouring in particular the increase in HDL-C, besides decreasing total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol.”
Rondanelli M, et al. Beneficial effects of artichoke leaf extract supplementation on increasing HDL-cholesterol in subjects with primary mild hypercholesterolaemia: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2013 Feb; 64 (1): 7-15.
I don’t care about what you have heard or read lately, these are the facts about these herbal supplements:
Echinacea has “Good scientific evidence for this use”:
- Prevention of upper respiratory tract infections (adults and children)
- Treatment of upper respiratory tract infections (adults)
St. John’s wort has “Strong scientific evidence” for treating “mild-to-moderate depressive disorder.”
Chamomile extract was better than placebo in reducing anxiety.
Milk thistle is effective in interfering with the life cycle of the hepatitis C virus.
Ginkgo biloba helps treat dementia, relieves claudication (painful legs from clogged arteries), and improves blood flow to the brain to reduce cerebral insufficiency (defined as poor concentration, confusion, absent-mindedness, anxiety, etc.).
Pcynogenol helps for treating asthma, and for relieving chronic venous insufficiency (leg swelling and varicose veins).
Ginseng boosts immune function, lowers blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics, and is a heart healthy antioxidant, which include the reduction of LDL oxidation.
Red yeast rice gets an A for lowering LDL and triglycerides.
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:
- Organic butter
- Olive oil
- Raw milk
- Cold water wild fish
- Grass-fed beef
- Free-range chicken
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
- Fried fast foods
- Corn chips
- French fries
- Fried meats like chicken and fish
- Baked goods including biscuits, breads, cakes, cookies and crackers
“I just got back from my cardiologist my EKG and Stress tests. These were were fine. My bloodwork showed an LDL of 136. CRP and homocysteine are fine. My total chol is 202. The MD recommended the tiniest dose of Lipitor b/c I have a family history of cardio issues, and b/c with about 4g of fish oil per day, there has been very little change. What to do, what to do.. . .What do you suggest?”
First off, ask your MD for another 3 months before making any decisions. Meanwhile we can work on your therapeutic lifestyle changes program. Several things come to mind:1. I know yoiu currently exercise but you must increase your exercise intensity.
2. Increase omega 3’s to 6 grams daily.
3. Check thyroid – get a panel done. If this is off it can influence the cholesterol & LDL.
4. Ideal LDL is 50-110. You aren’t that bad. What is your HDL/LDL ratio? Less than 2 is ideal.
5. You could use Red Yeast Rice extract. Use a small dose.
6. I would definitely go on Metagenics UltraMeal – 2 scoops once in the morning and another in the afternoon.
To clarify my current position on a high saturated-fat diet and high animal-food diet: I think you can eat a very high animal-food and high saturated-fat diet safely, as long as you include some liver for vitamin A, and substantial amounts of plant foods (preferably greens to prevent osteoporosis & cancer). A diet high in saturated fatty acids ( SFA) will raise LDL, and will probably cause atherosclerosis, but the atherosclerosis doesn’t become disease unless it’s in the context of a pro-inflammatory diet, such as a high-carb diet. I want to be clear that I am suggesting a low carb diet (100-150 grams daily of carbs) with the high SFA diet.
I still recommend omega 3 fish oils to my clients on this diet. I use Metagenics EPA-DHA 720 and I use the UltraMeal Plus to manage the cholesterol. It’s a perfect combination to lower cholesterol and body fat.
Order DHA-EPA 720 & UltraMeal Plus @ www.DrJeffreyTucker.meta-ehealth.com