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Lowering cholesterol naturally may be best

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2Molière, the French actor and playwright, once remarked: "Nearly all men die of their medicines, not their diseases." This was a realistic statement nearly 400 years ago, but even today, in this enlightened age, many people suffer serious and sometimes lethal ends due to medication. So I always suggest taking drugs the way porcupines make love -- very, very carefully. So can you lower blood cholesterol as cautiously?

First, the good news, but only if you're a moderate drinker. A pre-dinner alcoholic drink increases good cholesterol. It also lubricates the blood, so there's a decreased chance of a blood clot. Moreover, the relaxing effect of a small amount of alcohol does no harm.

There is also good news for the almond industry. Dr. David Jenkins, director of clinical nutrition at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, placed 27 men and women with high cholesterol levels on two handfuls of almonds (75 grams) every day for a month. The next month, they received half that amount.

Jenkins reported the full dose of almonds reduced bad blood cholesterol 9.4 per cent and half the dose by 4.4 per cent. These daily snacks of almonds also resulted in improvements in total blood cholesterol and good cholesterol. Jenkins concluded that two handfuls of almonds could reduce the risk of cardiovascular illness by 20 per cent and one handful by 18 per cent.

He also concluded that a change in dietary habits played a role. For instance, the risk of cardiovascular disease was decreased 25 per cent when the diet contained cholesterol-lowering foods such as oat bran, barley, psyllium and soy products. Other studies show omega-3 fatty acids in fish can help decrease bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.

Few people know that vitamin C decreases blood cholesterol.

The best routine is to take up to 5,000 milligrams of ascorbic acid powder (vitamin C) with breakfast and dinner.

This converts cholesterol into bile acids that are then excreted to intestines in the bile. Since vitamin C is a natural laxative, it often causes a bowel movement in the morning that removes bile acids before they can be absorbed and converted back to cholesterol. If this high concentration of vitamin C results in diarrhea, the amount should be decreased.

For several years many of my patients have been taking Sytrinol, a safe, natural and inexpensive remedy. Sytrinol consists of citrus and palm fruit extract that contains polymethoxylated flavones (PMFs) and tocotrienols.

Sytrinol works on cholesterol in a number of ways. For instance, it blocks enzymes in the liver responsible for the manufacture of cholesterol and triglycerides.

It also decreases the absorption of dietary cholesterol.

The polymethoxylated flavones and tocotrienols in Sytrinol decrease the oxidation of bad cholesterol.

This reduces the risk of plaque formation in arteries and narrowing of coronary arteries. Moreover, by decreasing arterial inflammation and lubricating platelets associated with clotting, there's less chance of a heart attack.

Several studies show Sytrinol decreases total blood cholesterol by 30 per cent, bad cholesterol 27 per cent, triglycerides 34 per cent, and increases good cholesterol four per cent.

The usual dose is 300 milligrams once a day and is well-tolerated. Studies show there are no toxic effects if a 150-pound person consumes 14 grams of Sytrinol daily. This is 50 times the recommended dose.

The alternative is to take cholesterol-lowering drugs, but I'm sure Molière would say: "Why chance the risk of muscle degeneration, transient global amnesia, liver and kidney problems, an increased risk of malignancy and possible heart failure if those on CLDs are not taking Coenzyme Q10 as well? It makes more sense to first try this simple, natural remedy."

In my practice, it was rare that Sytrinol did not work. But I do not suggest that anyone should toss away CLDs. This is a decision that can only be made by your own doctor.

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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 5, 2013 A19

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