Some of the most commonly prescribed drugs for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels are statin medications like Zocor (simvastatin), Lipitor (avorastatin), Mevacor (lovastatin), Pravachol (pravastatin), and Lescol (fluvastatin).
These drugs can be dangerous if taken with high levels of long-acting niacin (vitamin B3). Side effects of statin medications also include dizziness, headache, extreme fatigue, swelling of the ankles, muscle weakness and liver toxicity.
In both men and women, statin medications may weaken the heart muscle because they lower CoQ10 levels. In women especially, statin medications may deplete levels of CoQ10, contributing to a weakened immune system.
Still, if you have moderate to severe heart disease involving multiple vessels, I recommend statin medications to help you obtain and maintain healthy cholesterol levels. In addition,
Natural Solutions for Healthy Cholesterol Levels
Make sure you take a minimum of 150 mg of standard CoQ10 per day, or 50–60 mg of the hydrosoluble form, to offset the drug’s depleting effect.
Niacin is one of my favorite cholesterol-lowering agents if you are not on a statin drug, because of its ability to increase HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and lower LDL cholesterol levels (the “bad” cholesterol). Low doses in the range of 100–300 mg three times daily are often effective without resulting in side effects of flushing, heartburn or gout attacks. A prescription form called Niaspan (750–1,500 mg) appears to be well-tolerated by most people with minimal side effects.
Tocotrienols are antioxidants in the vitamin E family. Research suggests that they act much like statin medications, minus the adverse side effects, by interfering with the liver’s ability to produce cholesterol. As little as 50 mg per day can have a positive effect.
My Pan-Asian Modified Mediterranean-type diet (PAMM) is great for this and for overall cardiovascular nutrition. It’s rich in fiber, healthy fats (omega-3s from fish and fish oil), garlic and onions (two potent cholesterol-busters), and fresh fruits and vegetables. Fiber helps soak up cholesterol and cleanse the colon, preventing rapid absorption of cholesterol.
Flaxseed is high in alpha linolenic acid and fiber, vital for healthy heart function.
Soy helps prevent the oxidization of LDL and subsequent buildup of artery-clogging plaque. Soy also can help with a healthy cholesterol level, help ease menopausal symptoms, and may help protect against cancers of the breast and prostate.
L-arginine—2–4 grams three times a day. TwinLab and Great Earth make good supplements that are widely available in health-food stores.
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