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Cholesterol

Opposite to common thought that cholesterol is “bad”, people do need cholesterol for normal bodily functioning.Cholesterol is the precursor to vitamin d, steroid hormones (such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, dhea, pregnenolone and cortisol), and the bile acids required for digestion. Cholesterol is also required to form the membrane around cells and for regeneration of damaged endothelial cells.

The main sources of cholesterol are liver production (about 800mg a day). Main dietary sources include meat, cheese, milk and eggs. Cholesterol is transported in the blood by lipoproteins. A healthy cell cannot be overfilled with cholesterol unless the cholesterol is oxidized and enters an already inflamed arterial tissue. Cholesterol is in itself not the culprit here. Nature wouldn’t give you a system designed to kill you. The issue is inability to process cholesterol, inflammation and oxidative stess.

The body’s antioxidant system as well as antioxidant supplements and natural anti-inflammatories safegueard against cholesterol deposition in the blood vessel walls resulting in atherosclerosis (blood vessel disease resulting in heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease).

The reverse cholesterol transport system that removes cholesterol from one’s arteries requires phosphatidylcholine (PC) and LCAT (lecithin cholesterol acyl transferase). LCAT, an enzyme removes a fatty acid particle from PC and binds it to cholesterol producing an ester. HDL, a circulating “good” cholesterol transports this ester back to the liver.

So Good cholesterol includes:

a) HDL

b) Non-oxidized LDL (essential for normal bodily function)

Bad cholesterol:

a) Oxidized LDL….This is the cholesterol that leads to blood vessel Disease. Deposition in blood vessel walls lead to foam cell formation, plaque formation, blood clotting

b) lipoprotein (a)….This is a cholesterol molecule attached to a protein  apolipoprotein (a). This molecule has repair function to the arterial wall, however too much of it (usually genetic) promotes formation of bloodclots and build up of plaque. This narrows the blood vessel and worsens symptoms.

It is also important to remember that one can check the degree of inflammation in the body by doing a test called hscrp (highly sensitive crp). A value of less than 1 is normal.Increasing values lead to increases in heart and blood vessel diseases.

If you have a high hscrp natural anti-iflammatories like omega 3 fishoil and curcumin are ideal supplements to lower your risk of cholesterol being oxidized and inflamed in blood vessel walls.

Other risk factors to consider checking for heart disease other than cholesterol include:

Insulin, homocysteine, Lipoprotein (a), hs CRP, fibrinogen, ferritin, oxidative stress/free radicals, toxic heavy metals, stress, blood pressure, genetics

Supplements to consider taking to lower “bad” cholesterol and heart disease

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Remember as a rule of thumb that most nutritional supplements work best together rather than as individuals, and you should use natural forms and not synthetic

1. Anti-oxidants to help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol include

a) vitamin e

h) beta carotene

b) vitamin c

c) co q10

d) bioflavanoids

e) alphalipoic acid

f) lycopene

g) selenium

2. fish oil

There is overwhelming evidence for the reduced risk of cardiac disease and the use of omega 3 fishoil. Fishoil has enormous health benefits, even over and above cardiovascular disease reduction

The heart and blood vessel benefits include:

a) decreased liporotein (a), triglycerides and blood pressure

b) elevation of hdl

c) reduction of inflammation in the blood vessel walls

d) endothelial function improvement (inner lining of blood vessel walls)

e) makes blood less likely to form clots

f) reverses and stabilizes plaques

g) contributes to the energy of the heart

h) counteracts dysrhythmias (irregular heart beats)

3. Magnesium

A lot of heart disease sufferers, especially diabetics and postmenopausal women, and acute disease are magnesium deficient.Magnesium helps so many heart conditions including arterial disease, stroke, ischaemic heart disease, heart failure, high blood pressure

4. L-arginine

An aminoacid that improves nitric oxide, which relaxes arteries, promotes blood flow and keeps them flexible

5. Some supplements to lower bad cholesterol

a) RED YEAST RICE, for example solal’s Cholestaway

A red powder powder produced by the fermentation of a strain of monascus purpureus

It is an antioxidant, may lower LDL cholesterol, increase HDL cholesterol and decrease triglyceride levels

It may inhibit HMG coA reductase as do statin drugs, and Coenzyme q10 supplementation is recommended as with statin drugs

Redyeast rice may also lower LDL cholesterol

Contraindications include :

  • the use of grapefruit juice increases levels 15  fold when used in conjuction
  • not to be used in pregnancy or lactation
  • With high doses of nicotinic acid (>1g/d)
  • increased risk of muscular breakdown (rhabdomyolysis)

The usual dosage is 600-2400 mg/d taken as 1 to 4 divided doses

b) policosanol

A group of related lipid alcohols (long chain fatty alcohols)

Policosanol may inhibit synthesis of endogenous cholesterol, may inhibit oxidation of cholesterol and may elevate hdl

Usual dosages are 5-20mg /day

c) betasitosterol

300mg / day may compete with cholesterol absorption in the small intestine, thereby reducing absorption of cholesterol

Beta sitosterol is an ingredient in mixed phytosterol products

Beta sitosterol is part of some formulas designed to lower blood cholesterol, treat enlarged prostate (due to 5alpha reductase inhibition)

Or treat endogenous testosterone levels

General therapeutic doses are 60-130mg /day

d) niacin / nicotinic acid

a special form of vitamin b3

Benefits include:

a) life extension properties due to surtuin gene activation

b) cardiovascular benefits include:

  • reversal of atherosclerosis, improvement of blood circulation, helps prevent abnormal blood clotting, may lower heart attack risk, may alleviate raynaud’s disease, lowers LDL, increases HDL, decreases VLDL, may inhibit crosslinking, may lower lipoprotein (a), lowers triglycerides
  • side effects include : diarrhoea, nausea, muscle cramps, headaches, dry skin, erythema, flushing
  • Niacin is an overlooked, wonderful supplement, that has lost favour to statin drugs
  • Niacin should be revisited and considered by more people wanting natural ways to manage their cholesterol and health

6. Vitamin k2

Mk7 is a form of vitamin k2.

The most familiar vitamink is vitamin k1 found in green leafy vegetables or supplements.

Vitamin k2 is less easy to find. It is found in fermented Japanese soy dish natto as well as in fermented and curderd cheese

Both vitamin k1 and k2 are important for the health of the skeletal system as well as the heath of the blood vessel system, but vitamin k2 is the more beneficial. Vitamin k2 supplementation equates to better bone health and heart and blood vessel health

7. ATP/ energy enhancers

A) Coenyzme q10 and solal’s superior form idebenone doesso many good things and should be seriously considered for those seeking good health as they get older.

Coq10 does the following:

  • slows the aging process and helps prevent disease
  • helps heart disease sufferers
  • reduces hypertension
  • generates energy and strength
  • enhances the immune system and helps reduce cancer risk
  • counteracts depletions caused by statin drug therapy
  • improves neurological disorders
  • protects against gum disease

B) L-carnitine

L-carnitine helps transport fatty acids into the mitochondria to produce ATP (the molecule of energy). It also transports waste ,aterial out of the mitochondria

C) D-ribose

“A new kid on the block” it rapidly restores depleted energy in sick hearts since it is a building block of ATP

8. Others, and so many more!!

a) pomegranate juice : lowers blood pressure, reduces oxidized cholesterol, decreases carotid artery wall thickness

b) garlic containspowerful sulphur and selenium compounds used for the prevention and treatment of diseases for many years

c) B vitamins like b6 , b12, folic acid help lower homocysteine and cardiovascular disease

Last Updated (Sunday, 17 April 2011 18:17)

 
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