High Triglycerides (TGs)
Supplements And Herbs – part 1
The ability of fish oils that are rich in DHA and EPA have been demonstrated to have an excellent ability to reduce the levels of triglycerides during double-blind trials in a large number of patients. The patients received approximately 3,000 milligrams daily of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil during the dietary research that was conducted to bring out of these results.
A simple way to estimate the amount of omega-3 fatty acid contained in a fish-oil supplement, is to simply add together the DHA and EPA of the whole supplement.
Calculated in this way a supplement of 120 mg of DHA and 180 mg of EPA will provide a total of about 300 mg of the omega-3 fatty acids in the diet. Thus the omega-3 fatty acid content of 10 of the capsules would be 3,000 mg, fish oils are important supplements in that, many other sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as the oil of the flaxseed are not able to bring about the same reduction in triglyceride levels within the individuals body.
This is the reason supplementation to reduce triglyceride levels are not carried out through the consumption of flaxseed oil, even though this oil is useful in many other respects and is generally applied towards the treatment of many other conditions.
Triglyceride levels can also be reduced through the use of cod liver oil, which is a major source of omega-3 fatty acids, which has been found very effective in reducing triglyceride levels in an affected individual. Because of the fact that it is often cheaper then most of the other fish oil concentrates, the use of cod liver oil is preferred by many patients. The use of the cod liver oil must however be monitored as it contains great amounts of A and D vitamins, therefore its overuse can lead to other complications in the body and lead to side effects that are often unpredictable.
With regard to this factor many of the fish-oil concentrates are considered safer because they posses very minute quantities of these vitamins or none of the vitamins in some oils. It is therefore advisable to have a doctor suggest a supplemental regimen when a patient wishes to take oil of cod liver as a substitute for a fish-oil concentrate during supplementation for the treatment of high triglyceride levels in the body.
It is reported that the utilization of the omega-3 fatty acids found in many fish and cod liver oils have prevents the possibility of heart diseases occurring by affecting the blood in various ways. There is also a slight risk involved in the use of these supplemental oils as the levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad form of cholesterol) often increases in the patient’s bloodstream.
Since this effect due to fish oils and the cod liver oil can differ from individual to individual, the examination of a doctor will be necessitated in order to discover probable individuals who have a susceptibility to this increase in the levels of blood cholesterol. However, the whole side effect can be avoided by combining 900 milligrams of extract of garlic to the fish oil used for supplementation, research indicated that while this mixture lowers the triglyceride levels in the blood, it does not lead to an increased LDL cholesterol level within the body no matter what the level of susceptibility.
Thus according to this particular research, the consumption of garlic supplements along with the regular supplements of fish oils may provide an avenue where it is possible to avoid the raise in LDL cholesterol that can occur during supplementation using fish oils in most patients who have a susceptibility of this sort.
Because of the ability of the oils to cause damaging oxidation reactions in the body, supplements of the vitamin E are also often recommended for use by people who are already taking fish oil as supplements to ward off triglyceride levels within the body. What is still not verified is the amount of vitamin E that should be supplemented along with the fish oil to prevent enough of these oxidation reactions from occurring within the body of the individual.
A suggested methodology is that the required amount would be dependant on the fish oil amount used in the main supplements by the patient. Individual’s, who consumed 6 grams of fish oil supplements during one clinical study, needed about 300 IU of E vitamin a day as additional supplementation to prevent oxidation damage within the body.
The essential B complex vitamin, vitamin B5 also known as pantothenic acid has a byproduct known as pantethine within the body. The triglyceride levels in the body can be significantly lowered by the use of this byproduct as happened during several clinical studies, where patients used 300 milligrams of pantethine at dosages of about three times every day during the treatment regimen. The same effect cannot be achieved by the pantothenic acid, form of the B vitamin; in all cases only the use of the byproduct was able to bring significant results.
The triglyceride levels in the body can also be reduced by supplements of vitamin B3 (the niacin form); this vitamin is normally prescribed by doctors to bring about a reduction in the cholesterol levels in people suffering from high cholesterol. Several grams of niacin taken daily as supplements will be sufficient to bring abut a significant reduction in the levels of both cholesterol and triglycerides in an individual suffering from a heightened level of these compounds.
These supplements must always be suggested by a doctor and should only be used under medical supervision as the use of such high quantities often leads to the appearance of many side effects, these can include the potential and real risk of liver damage, and other internal organs within the body of the patient.
As an equally effective alternative to the use of niacin, the compound known as inositol hexaniacinate – which is a special form of the vitamin B3 is often prescribed by doctors. Dosages of about 500 mg taken thrice daily are the usual recommended dose for patients who have been suggested this form of the vitamin as a supplement.
The advantage of supplementation using this form of the vitamin B3 is that it is safer for the liver when compared with niacin and doesn’t typically bring about a skin flush in the individual who is undergoing treatment even in high doses for a prolonged period of time.
On this point of safety, the highly anecdotal account of the relative safety benefit of inositol hexaniacinate over niacin still requires additional research to confirm it. This is further complicated by the fact that the ability of the inositol hexaniacinate in reducing triglyceride levels and cholesterol levels may not be as useful as niacin, this point also needs confirmation.
People with elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body also showed a statistically significant reduction of 35% during a preliminary study, in which supplementation was carried out using 800 milligrams of the essential mineral calcium taken every day for a testing period of a year – these results were very positive even thought the time period involved was long.
Triglyceride levels did not show any reduction in another group of people, during another confirmation trial carried out using calcium as supplements-the triglyceride levels in all the patients did not reduce to any significant degree. A factor could be that the prolonged trial had more volunteers who had extremely high levels of triglyceride levels when compared to the second group involved in the next trial.
Another significant study used involved people with diabetes type 2-non insulin dependant, during this double blind trial the test subjects were administered 200 mcg of the essential mineral chromium every day for a total of two months – the chromium was in the form of chromium picolinate at the same time and this was followed by supplementation using a placebo for the two months following the chromium supplements.
Compared to the two months during which the patients received only the placebos, the chromium supplementation phase led to an average reduction in the triglyceride levels by a very significant level averaging 17.4% in all the test subjects. These initial findings have found supporting evidence in some other confirmation trials, but not in all subsequent trials. It’s not obvious if supplementation of chromium affects triglycerides levels in non-diabetics. Some facts advocates that it doesn’t.
Several clinical studies undertaken on patients with a high triglyceride level in the blood received some beneficial lowering of the level of TG’s in the blood through the use of the compound known as L-carnitine. Because of some reports that several patients often experience an increase in the level of triglyceride levels, it is still unclear in what way carnitine acts within the body and hence its use as a supplement is still to be researched.
At the present, the use of the L-carnithine form of the compound is normally suggested by some doctors at dosage levels of 1-3 g of carnitine a day during the treatment of elevated levels of triglycerides in the body of an affected individual.
Another compound that has been investigated in many double-blind studies is FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides) or the related compound called inulin – these studies have focused on the ability of these compounds to lower the elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides within the body.
While the trials showed no significant reduction in the cholesterol levels, in people with high levels of cholesterol or triglycerides, which included individuals with diabetes type 2, the use of inulin or FOS at doses between 8 to 20 g administered daily, the triglycerides levels showed a significant lowering in all the test subjects.
Both FOS and inulin produced insignificant and little result in all normal individuals having on an average low triglyceride or cholesterol levels. Thus these compounds have no effect on normal levels of cholesterol or triglycerides in otherwise healthy individuals.
A variable effect on triglyceride levels were observed in studies using the compound known as policosanol on test subjects, the serum triglyceride levels of individuals showed has been variable effects, and supplements had no effect in some patients while in the others there was up to 19% reduction in the triglyceride levels.
Policasanol has been found to be equally effective as many cholesterol lowering drugs like statins as revealed by several controlled studies on patients with an elevated cholesterol problem. There are different forms of the compound and the policosanols which are extracted from beeswax or some other source may differ in their effectiveness from the sugar-cane-derived preparations which are composed of long-chain alcohols, it is disputed whether these forms of the compound are as useful as the ones that are usually utilized from supplemental purposes.