Alternative Cholesterol Treatments
Posted before Dec-31-2007
Attached with various proteins, cholesterol is carried to the different parts of the body by the blood and hence it is found in all animal cells. There are basically two varieties of cholesterols - HDL or high density lipoprotein and LDL or low density lipoprotein and they are named according to the nature of protein they are bound with. It may be mentioned here that high concentration of LDL along with low intensity HDL has been found to be related to the development of atherosclerotic plaque, an arterial disease where patches of cholesterol are formed inside the blood vessel obstructing the flow of blood from the heart. Hence, it is little surprising that LDL is one of the major substances that has been detected to be related with ailments of the heart. Plainly speaking, the development of atherosclerotic plaque on artery walls make them narrow and hardened that eventually lead to cardiac attacks and strokes.
While it is relatively difficult to reduce the production of cholesterol by the liver, other ways are worked out to keep the intensity of this substance low in the blood vessels. As the body receives around 10 per cent of its daily cholesterol requirements from the foodstuff ingested, one of the treatments is to recommend intake of food containing less cholesterol. It is true that cholesterol is present in all animal cells and hence all non-vegetarian foodstuffs contain the nutrient. However, the percentage of the substance present in different animal products is different. While egg yolk and meat contain high levels of cholesterol, its intensity is less in other products such as fish and chicken breast. Hence, if an individual modifies his or her dietary habits even little, he or she is able to significantly bring down the intake of cholesterol.
Another significant way of bringing down the cholesterol level in blood is to consume food that has more fiber. Researches have shown that fiber is attached to edible fats and cholesterol in the alimentary canal and thereby slow down its amalgamation into the body. Enhancing the consumption of green leafy vegetables and one's exercise level has also shown to spectacularly lower the cholesterol in the blood as well as blood pressure. It may be mentioned here that individuals who exercise regularly have higher intensity of HDL and lower level of LDL in their blood. It has also been found that the sum total of both types of cholesterol is also relatively low in the blood of people who exercise habitually.
On the other hand, there are a number of natural substances such as guggul, niacin (a form of vitamin), policosanol, garlic and plant sterols that are helpful in bringing down the level of cholesterol in blood considerably.
- Guggul or guggulipids (from guggul herb) are a derivative from an herb of Indian origin called Commiphora mukul. Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that the guggul extract is helpful in reducing the total cholesterol level and LDL intensity in the blood. When standard doses of guggul were administered to people suffering from high cholesterol levels, it showed positive results between four to 12 weeks. And the best part of using the natural substance is that it is completely safe and has no adverse side effects.
- Niacin is also known as vitamin B3 and since long it has been acknowledged as a beneficial medication to reduce the cholesterol levels in blood. In fact, many physicians admit that niacin is as efficient as any other drug prescribed to treat high cholesterol levels. However, if the substance is used in very high doses with a view to bring down the blood cholesterol levels speedily, it may give rise to side effects like damaging the liver or reddening of the skin. Since, niacin produces such adverse side effects, the substance is generally not recommended as a dietary supplement to reduce cholesterol levels. Nonetheless, it may be noted here that inositol hexanicotinate, a substance that comprises chemicals akin to those in niacin, also helps in the same manner to reduce cholesterol levels in blood, but does not have any side effects. Several studies have demonstrated that unlike niacin, inositol hexanicotinate does not harm the liver or cause flushing of the skin. In fact, inositol hexanicotinate is completely safe to use to treat high cholesterol levels with only occasional complaints of gastrointestinal disorder.
- Policosanol is a blend of an extended succession of aliphatic alcohol that was initially obtained from sugar cane waxes. However, the substance is now accessible from several other organic sources. If taken in doses between 5 mg and 20 mg regularly, policosanol is reported to reduce the level of total cholesterol level by approximately 15 to 30 per cent within a span of just four weeks. Apart from lowering the cholesterol intensity, policosanol also helps in lessening LDL (known as 'bad cholesterol') and enhance the HDL (called 'good cholesterol') intensity in the blood. Studies conducted with policosanol on humans as well as animals have not reported any adverse side effects from the use of the substance.
- Garlic is a common herb that is said to be beneficial in bringing down the intensity of cholesterol in blood. However, the herb needs to be taken in adequate amounts to have the desired results. When taken in enough amounts, garlic produces a foul stench in the mouth and causes social problems. Hence many people prefer using other substances or drugs to garlic to lower cholesterol levels.
- Plant sterols:
- Plant sterols or steroid alcohol present in lipids are also effective in lowering the cholesterol levels in the blood considerably. Nonetheless, the positive effects of plant sterol use can only be experienced when an individual takes four to ten grams of the substance daily. Researches have shown that plant sterols reduce cholesterol levels by rivaling cholesterol taken through foodstuff during their absorption process by the body.
Finally, it may be said that it is certainly possibly to bring down the high cholesterol levels in the body by adopting effective approaches whereby you need to blend good supplements with a diet recommended by physicians and regular exercise. This way you will not only be able to lower the cholesterol level in the blood considerably, but also modify the HDL and LDL cholesterol ratio in the body to your advantage. Remember, HDL is good for the health, while LDL is considered to be detrimental for the body.