Your LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol levels depend on a combination of factors, including your genes and diet. Some people are genetically predisposed to have high concentrations of LDL. A diet high in saturated fat is also detrimental, as is being overweight.
A fail-safe way of keeping your LDL levels low and HDL ‘good’ cholesterol levels high is to take plenty of exercise such as aerobics, swimming, brisk walking and weight-lifting; reduce stress; stop smoking; lose any excess weight and only drink alcohol in moderation.
Taking these measures in addition to following a diet that is low in saturated fat and refined carbohydrates can help maintain the right balance of cholesterol levels. While saturated fat is bad for your heart, unsaturated fat can be beneficial since it possesses anti-inflammatory properties that help counteract inflammation in your arteries, which causes arterial damage.
Doctors commonly treat high cholesterol with statin drugs. However, these drugs are linked to causing a wide range of harmful side-effects including liver damage, sexual dysfunction and decreased insulin sensitivity to name just a few.
The following alternatives can help you to balance your cholesterol at the right levels:
- Curcumin (turmeric root): Scientists believe that curcumin attaches to cholesterol and prevents its ability to pass from the bowel to the rest of your body, where it can do harm.
Curcumin also helps control your cholesterol levels assisting your liver to eliminate any excess cholesterol. Not only does curcumin have an overall beneficial effect on cholesterol, it is also able to specifically increase HDL levels and reduce LDL. On top of that, curcumin also helps keep your blood thin, which prevents blood clots from forming in your arteries and lowers your risk of having a heart attack. The recommended dosage for curcumin is 900mg taken once or twice a day.
- Gugulipid (commiphora mukul): Commiphora is a tree that grows in India and produces a resin called gugulipid. This active ingredient of the tree has been used traditionally to treat everything from acne to viral infections. Modern research findings have now discovered that it is also able to lower cholesterol levels. Indian researchers treated 125 patients suffering from high cholesterol with gugulipid for several weeks. The results showed that there was an 11 per cent drop in the levels of cholesterol in the patients blood, and a 60 per cent increase in HDL levels. The recommended dosage for gugulipid is 140mg taken once or twice a day.
- Niacin: Also known as vitamin B3, niacin works by reducing levels of LDL. It also reduces other substances that are detrimental to heart health such as triglycerides (blood fats) that, like cholesterol, contribute to your arteries becoming blocked. Niacin must be taken at a high dose in order to be effective. However, high amounts can cause facial flushing (a sudden redness and hot sensation in the face). The recommended dosage is 1,000mg up to three times a day. If you do experience facial flushing then lowering the dose to approximately half or a third of the recommended amount should help clear the problem up while still remaining effective.
Until Next Time,
The Cholesterol Truth
Here’s to a healthy heart
Bear in mind all the material in this email alert is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
Molecular & Cellular Biochemistry 1995, 152/1: 13-21
Clinical Trials with Gugulipid. J Assoc Physicians India 1989, 37 (5): 323-328
British Journal of Cardiology, 1998, 5(3): 156-163
Am J Cardiol 1998, 82:12A, 35U-38U