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Natural Cholesterol Control

April 12, 2017
Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D.

Once, there was just cholesterol. It was believed to make you fat and cause heart attacks, so everyone tried to get rid of it. Now, we know there’s both good and bad cholesterol, so everyone wants less bad, and more good. So how does one accomplish this? Well, there are two kinds of solutions: the very good and the not so good.

The drugs known as statins—the most widely prescribed drugs in the US, used by 25 percent of Americans over 45—claim to be all about reducing bad cholesterol (LDL).

A fine goal! LDL clogs up your arteries and increases your risk of congestive heart failure and heart attack, along with other bad outcomes. By all means, let’s get it under control.

But statins aren’t only about lowering LDL. They have nasty side effects:

  • Heightened risk of type 2 diabetes and elevated blood sugar levels
  • Tripled risk of artery calcification, making heart disease more dangerous, not less
  • Depletion of essential nutrients, including vital coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Muscle pain that can be deadly
  • Liver dysfunction and acute kidney failure
  • Cataracts
  • Serious memory problems, including a condition that can eliminate nearly all memory for days

But, of course, statins are also about boatloads of money for Big Pharma…so we tend not to hear much about the negative side of their money-making drugs.

Could we please try something else?

Yes, there are better ways

I have three natural cholesterol solutions that can reduce, or even eliminate your need for a statin drug.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids

EPA and DHA, the two most common omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs), are on my top five list of the best health protectors of all. They help raise healthy HDL cholesterol levels while lowering dangerous LDL cholesterol and triglycerides levels.

Bingo. And there’s a bonus.

A recent study of coronary heart disease (CHD) patients on high-dose statin therapy found that adding EPA to their treatment “significantly reduced” the amount of coronary plaque in their cardiovascular systems. Talk about good news!

Just as important, in addition to maintaining the ideal ratio of good to bad cholesterol, omega-3s can take on:

  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Abnormal heartbeat and stroke
  • Hardening of the arteries
  • High blood pressure

EPA and DHA can help prevent them, reduce their severity, or even reverse some of them. With no adverse side effects at all.

Cover all those bases, and life is good.

Omega-3 is abundant in fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, halibut, trout, tuna, and sea bass. These too often are found in once clean, now polluted waters, so I recommend no more than 2–3 servings per week.

A supplement is really the most reliable source of omega-3s. I recommend between 1,250 and 1,500 milligrams of EPA and DHA per day. But it’s important to note, that 1,500 milligrams of an omega-3-rich fish oil is NOT the same as 1,500 milligrams of EPA and DHA. So be sure to read the labels on your omega-3 supplement.

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Bergamot

This citrus fruit is another wonderful solution for reducing statin dependence. New research shows that it has a statin-like molecular structures, and, far more important, statin-like benefits—without the terrible side effects.

A 2013 study followed 77 patients who took 1,000 mg daily of bergamot extract over one month. The participants’ LDL cholesterol levels dropped by more than 30%! From an average of 278 mg/dL to 191 mg/dL. And HDL increased in all patients—up to a striking 64.6 percent.

Bergamot also contains compounds that affect the functioning of neurotransmitters in a way that decreases anxiety. This is consistent with the lovely sense of calm you get with bergamot essential oil aromatherapy.

I recommend 500 to 1,000 mg of bergamot daily. But make sure you’re working with your doctor, and don’t discontinue using statins without supervision.

I also recommend bergamot essential oil. It’s highly effective in relieving digestive difficulties, reducing stress, healing infectious wounds, repelling insects, and more. And it’s a lovely scent.

Indian Gooseberry, or Amla

The Indian gooseberry, also called amla, is an Ayurvedic powerhouse that hits the sweet spots for cholesterol control:

  • Reduces LDL cholesterol levels
  • Reduces triglycerides
  • Increases good cholesterol levels

One amla berry has the vitamin C antioxidant power of two oranges, and that’s its strength.

When LDL cholesterol is oxidized in your bloodstream as you digest your food, it can turn into the sticky plaque that gums up your arteries and sends you toward dangerous heart problems. Antioxidants, as their name tells you, stop the oxidation, eliminating the threat of arterial plaque, keeping you heart-healthy.

Amla can be found in supplements under the brand name Capros®. Or you can find these tart green berries and drink the juice. Here’s an easy way to incorporate it in your diet:

  • Blend two de-seeded and chopped up gooseberries and a cup of water in a blender
  • Strain the juice through a muslin cloth or fine strainer
  • Add a teaspoon of honey before drinking

This will be most effective if you drink a cup every day. Along with cholesterol control, you’ll be drinking a low calorie cancer fighter, diabetes preventer, weight loss aid, eyesight strengthener, reproductive health restorer, and more, along with vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, plus essential minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, magnesium, copper, zinc, and more.

The name amla, by the way, comes from the Sanskrit word for “the sustainer.”

No wonder.

Bring it into your life and it will do a wonderful job helping to sustain you.

Get your cholesterol clout on

I hope this will help you find a better way to control your cholesterol, whether it’s the omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce your statin dosage or the bergamot and amla that can keep you from needing statins or other meds in the first place.

Take good care.

References

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