Managing Your Cholesterol Naturally
HDL Booster & Cholesterol Shield
by Dennis A. Goodman, M.D.,
F.A.C.C., F.C.C.P., F.A.C.P.
Thanks to the excellent educational efforts of organizations like the American Heart Association (AHA), we’ve learned a lot about cholesterol and how it affects our health.
We know that high cholesterol levels increase our risk for heart attacks and strokes and that lowering our cholesterol will reduce this risk and keep our hearts and blood vessels healthy. We’ve also learned that diet, weight loss, and exercise will all help us in our quest to improve our cholesterol profile.1
However, there are still some misconceptions about cholesterol. For example, did you know that not all cholesterol is harmful? There are both "good" and "bad" forms of cholesterol, and it is the balance between the two that is critical to heart health. And while reducing total or "bad" cholesterol has been the primary focus of past cholesterol management strategies, not enough attention has been paid to the significant benefit of raising HDL. Recent research indicates that raising HDL ("good cholesterol") levels may provide even greater protection against cardiovascular disease. It is estimated that every 1% increase in HDL can decrease the risk for heart disease by 2% in men and 3% in women.2 For example, if your HDL is 36 mg/dl and it increases by 4 mg/dl (approximately 10%), this translates into a 20-30% reduction in risk of heart disease. Several studies have proven that low HDL cholesterol levels are an independent risk factor of heart disease. This is especially important because we’ve also learned that despite good efforts to change their diet and exercise habits, some people’s cholesterol levels are still undesirable.
Prescription drugs to lower cholesterol are now available and have proven very successful. Multiple studies have shown that statins’ effectiveness in reducing LDL cholesterol has resulted in highly significant reductions in heart attacks and strokes. However, while these medications do lower total cholesterol levels, they also may also have side effects. Statin drugs can cause elevations in liver enzymes, an indication of liver irritation.3,4 They are associated with myopathy, a disorder of muscle inflammation and muscle degeneration,5,6 and they have even been linked to a rare, and at times, fatal condition called rhabdomyolysis.6,7. Additionally, statin drugs significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body, a deficit that can lead to heart disease.8-10 Statin drugs are known to have relatively little effect on good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Finally, it should be noted that several recent articles and books from reputable sources are addressing statin overdosing in patients.
Thankfully, there are safe and effective solutions available that can help you manage your cholesterol levels naturally. As a practicing cardiologist, I know the importance of increasing HDL and lowering LDL, therefore I have worked to develop a formula which combines essential vitamins and minerals, at levels recommended by the AHA, with important amino acids, potent antioxidants, and traditional herbal extracts. It has been clinically shown to increase good cholesterol levels by up to 23%.11
In this issue of "Ask the Doctor" we will discuss how this formula can help you boost your good cholesterol levels, as well as how other natural ingredients, such as pantethine and phytosterols, can be an effective alternative to prescription cholesterol lowering medications.
But first, we need to review what we know about cholesterol and heart disease.
Q. What exactly is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a soft, waxy, fat-like substance found in every cell of the body. We need cholesterol to help digest fats, strengthen cell membranes, insulate nerves, and make hormones.
A. Cholesterol is made primarily in the liver, but it is a