NEW RESEARCH: Cholesterol & Heart Health
By Dr. Jen Morganti, NEEDS Education Director
High cholesterol affects over 65 million Americans. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that's found in all cells throughout the body. Excessively high cholesterol is considered a serious condition that increases your risk of heart disease and other health conditions. However, cholesterol in general is not the enemy we've been told it is—in fact, some cholesterol is actually necessary to maintain good health!
There are two primary types of cholesterol—LDL and HDL. LDL is known as "bad" cholesterol because it is inflammatory and can cause damage to blood vessels, which can lead to plaque accumulation and narrowing of vessels due to atherosclerosis.
HDL is considered "good" cholesterol, as it works to shuttle LDL cholesterol away from the arteries to prevent atherosclerosis. In fact, the role of HDL is so important that studies have shown that HDL levels under 40 create a significantly increased risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD) and increased risk of death due to cardiovascular and noncardiovascular events. A healthy level of HDL cholesterol may also protect against heart attack and stroke, while low levels of HDL cholesterol have been shown to increase the risk of heart disease.
A recent study published October 2016, in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, evaluated the role of HDL in disease risk. The study posed this question: Does HDL play a role in other diseases, and is there such a thing as "excessive levels of HDL"?
After tracking patients for 5 years, this very large study concluded a few important points. The results confirmed that people with the lowest levels of HDL had higher death rates due to heart disease and stroke, as well as cancer and other diseases. Interestingly, they also found that people with very high levels of HDL had a higher risk of dying from noncardiovascular related diseases.
Very low levels of HDL are typically associated with lifestyle factors, such as smoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise. The researchers concluded that the study's results indicate that HDL on its own is not the most important indicator for cardiovascular health, but instead is a gauge that factors into good health more than anything. However, HDL does play an important role in preventing atherosclerosis, so it is vital to maintain "normal" HDL levels.
One researcher, Dennis T. Ko, MD, is quoted as saying; "The link between good cholesterol and heart disease is complex, but it seems certain that there is a connection between people with low good cholesterol levels and other well-known risk factors for heart disease, such as poor diet, exercise habits, and other medical conditions. Focusing on raising HDL is likely not going to help these patients, but these findings show that one of the best interventions in treating and preventing heart disease continues to be lifestyle changes."
In other words, you can't just focus on the isolated issue of raising HDL levels and expect that cardiovascular health is going to fall into place. There are many other issues that contribute to good cardiovascular health:
• Eat Healthy—stick with the basics of whole (unprocessed) foods, lots of green veggies, low sugar, and no trans fats can improve HDL levels
• Exercise—even if it's just walking daily; 30 to 60 minutes on several days of the week can help pump up HDL
• Quit smoking—tobacco smoke lowers HDL
In addition to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you can also support healthy cholesterol levels with supplements. Red yeast rice is one supplement that can reduce total cholesterol, including LDL "bad" cholesterol. It contains the natural form of lovastatin, the chemical that statin drugs mimic. Small clinical trials have shown that it can reduce LDL by about 25% in a few months. The recommended dosage is 1,200–2,400 mg per day.
Natur-Tyme's Enhanced Prolessterol with CoQ10 contains red yeast rice, with Guggul, policosinol, and inositol to keep cholesterol levels in check, and turmeric to support the liver. The liver has the important function of metabolizing cholesterol and helps to keep it in normal range. It's easy in this day and age to gunk up your liver with excessive toxins, which limits its ability to regulate cholesterol properly. This unique formula encompasses multiple ingredients that work together to help manage your cholesterol levels.
The right amount of "good" cholesterol can provide more health benefits than we originally thought. HDL can help remove "bad" cholesterol from the body, it serves as "insulation" around nerves, helps form bile acids (which assist in fat digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins), it's an important component of every cell's lipid membrane, and it's the precursor for hormone production. Healthy lifestyle choices can also improve HDL cholesterol levels and help decrease the risk of cardiovascular conditions. Keep your heart healthy, your HDL levels high, and lower your risk for heart disease!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.