Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Effective holistic treatments for high cholesterol

When I started my pediatric practice 24 years ago, I noted very few children had cholesterol problem. It was very scary to see how hypercholesteremia became a common problem in teens and quiet frequently in even younger children.

Statin drugs like Lipitor and Zocor became parts of the most commonly prescribed medications in US. Both have been proved to have lowered the cholesterol, but haven't been consistently proved effective to lessen the death rate. One of the reasons could be that statins decrease our Q10 level which is crucial to our health, especially to our heart health. Patients should definitely take good dose of Coenzyme Q10 if they have to use Statin drugs. The exact dose of Q10 can be monitored easily with blood work from labcorp or Quest.

The common side effects are liver, kidney damage and serious muscle problems from muscle inflammation to rhabdomyolysis (generalized breaking down of muscle)which can result in death. One of the side effects many patients were not familiar with is memory loss. This memory loss could be as extreme as amnesia which lasts for 6 to 12 hours. These types of problems are known as cognitive defects.

I have been treating many patients suffering from cholesterol problems by natural means with remarkable results. It’s definitely worth trying before we commit any patients to life long Statin drugs treatment. Here are some of my experiences:

1. Nutrition! Nutrition! Nutrition! Any holistic program has to start with good food to nurture our body. Low fat and high carb diet as preached by authorities is not the right way to go. On the contrary, low carb, and definitely minimal sugar and white carb and good quality of protein and fat are the best ways for our health. Many of my health-conscious patients do not eat enough fats. Healthy fats are necessary for brain developments as they are the building blocks for all sex hormones. I usually recommend virgin olive oil for salads and virgin coconut oil for baking and cooking. Lots of vegetables (6 servings a day) and 3 servings of fruits are a must.

2. Life style changes – moderate exercise 4-5 times a week.

3. Nutrition supplements – Neutraceutical grade omega-3 oil with all pollutants removed is the very important part of treatment It’s very effective when enough doses were used. Patients will ingest too many pollutants if they take the usual over the counter fish oil. High doses of vitamin B complex with Niacin are very helpful with lowering cholesterol. I checked the vitamin levels in patients’ blood to make sure they have enough vitamins and replace them scientifically. The non-flush Niacin does not work as well as regular Niacin. Good levels of Q10, Vitamin D and other nutrients and minerals are also important.

4. Balancing all hormones is a crucial part of cholesterol control. Low thyroid function(addressed in previous newsletters) as well as low sex hormones make it harder to maintain a good cholesterol level.

When order cholesterol test, it's not just the total level that matters, but the proportion of each lipoprotein. Homocysteine is also a good test to evaluate the overall cardiovascular risk for the future. Keep in mind that cholesterol is not the only reason that increases the cardiovascular risk. Inflammation is to blame as well. It is inflammation that damages the vascular wall and causes the atherosclerotic plaque to form. So all the causes and treatments of inflammation also need to be addressed .( Inflammation is the foundation of all chronic diseases which will be addressed in the future newsletter. Hypercholesteremia is just part of a bigger picture called "Metabolic Syndrome". We will discuss all of those conditions one by one in the future.

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