Tag Archives: LDL

Growing support for Red Yeast Rice extract

There is a growing and considerable amount of research involving the use of Red Yeast Rice by those people who can’t tolerate the side effects from the statin group of cholesterol lowering drugs. In 2009 a paper was published that looked at this very issue in which the authors commented that muscle pain and inflammation was cited it some 1023 articles (between July 1993 – April 2009) and affected some 10% of statin users. The onset of muscle pain was also noted to start from 1 week through to 48 months after starting the medication. The study went on to test red yeast rice (RYR) in those people who could not tolerate the side effects associated with their statins. Although the study only ran for 6 months the results were impressive and highlighted that, over the 6 months, the RYR supplement did not trigger muscle pains and was very well tolerated by those who previously endured statin related muscle pains. The RYR also had significant cholesterol lowering effects. In a follow up study published this year in the American Journal of Cardiology RYR was again used in those people who has previous adverse reactions to statins and again the same positive result was seen; RYR was well tolerated and achieved a comparable reduction of cholesterol in those previously intolerant to statins.

As the author of both papers sums up; Statin-associated myalgia (muscle pain) is an important clinical problem that will likely become more prevalent owing to the ever expanding indications for statin use. Although no definitive conclusions could be drawn, our data showed that the red yeast rice was as well tolerated as pravastatin and achieved similar and clinically significant levels of LDL cholesterol reduction in a population with previous statin intolerance.’

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Have you heard of quercetin – if not read on…

Quercetin is a natural substance, known as a bioflavonoid, that’s found in red wine, onions, and green tea. It’s been clinically shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause. They also help keep LDL (“bad”) cholesterol from being damaged, which scientists think may contribute to heart disease. growing interest in this compound has developed with the finding that it acts like an antihistamine and an anti-inflammatory. some research also indicates that it may help protect against heart disease and cancer.
At this time of year hayfever and allergic asthma starts to peek. Since quercetin prevents immune cells from releasing histamines, chemicals that cause allergic reactions, its use at this time of year may offer new hope to hay fever sufferers. Researchers think that quercetin may help reduce symptoms of allergies, including runny nose, watery eyes and may be hives.
Work on quercetin is ongoing and the research data is accululating with good indications that as a natural supplement it may help in the battle against heart disease. It has been noted that since it prevents LDL cholesterol from being damaged buy oxidation artery disease may be prevented.  One study found that people who took quercetin and an alcohol-free red wine extract (which contains quercetin) had less damage to LDL cholesterol. Recent studies have also found a positive effect in cases of prostatitis. This condition is typically difficult to manage so the use of a simple supplement may come as great relief to prostatitis sufferers!
As previopusley mentioned, this compound is found normally in the diet. Fruits and vegetables (particularly citrus fruits, apples, onions, parsley, tea, and red wine) are the best dietary sources of quercetin. Olive oil, grapes, dark cherries, and dark berries (especially the dark coloured ones eg.blueberries, blackberries, and bilberries) are also high in flavonoids, including quercetin. Eating a diet rich in these is always a good idea but those with specific health needs will probably find a supplement a good idea.
In general, for allergy problems its woirth trying 500-600mg per day increasing to 500mg twice a day in cases of severe inflammation such as prostatitis.
As far as interactions with drugs goies, its generally accecpted that blood thinners such as Warfarin (Coumadin), Clopidogrel (Plavix) and Aspirin may interact with quercetin and its not recommended that you take it if you are on these. There is some suggestion that the immune suppressant drug called Cyclosporine may pose a problem because of quercetins ability to apparently blosk its absorbtion. Other drugs that have been implicated as interaction are nifedipine, and felodipine.
Quercetin is a natural substance, known as a bioflavonoid, that’s found in red wine, onions, and green tea. It’s been clinically shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause. They also help keep LDL (“bad”) cholesterol from being damaged, which scientists think may contribute to heart disease. growing interest in this compound has developed with the finding that it acts like an antihistamine and an anti-inflammatory. some research also indicates that it may help protect against heart disease and cancer.At this time of year hayfever and allergic asthma starts to peek. Since quercetin prevents immune cells from releasing histamines, chemicals that cause allergic reactions. On that basis, researchers think that quercetin may help reduce symptoms of allergies, including runny nose, watery eyes and may be hives. Work on quercetin is ongoing and the research data is accululating with good indications that as a natural supplement it may help in the battle against heart disease. It has been noted that since it prevents LDL cholesterol from being damaged buy oxidation artery disease may be prevented.  One study found that people who took quercetin and an alcohol-free red wine extract (which contains quercetin) had less damage to LDL cholesterol. Recent studies have also found a positive effect in cases of prostatitis. This condition is typically difficult to manage so the use of a simple supplement may come as great relief to prostatitis sufferers! As previopusley mentioned, this compound is found normally in the diet. Fruits and vegetables (particularly citrus fruits, apples, onions, parsley, tea, and red wine) are the best dietary sources of quercetin. Olive oil, grapes, dark cherries, and dark berries (especially the dark coloured ones eg.blueberries, blackberries, and bilberries) are also high in flavonoids, including quercetin.
Eating a diet rich in these is always a good idea but those with specific health needs will probably find a supplement a good idea.In general, for allergy problems its woirth trying 500-600mg per day increasing to 500mg twice a day in cases of severe inflammation such as prostatitis.
As far as interactions with drugs goies, its generally accecpted that blood thinners such as Warfarin (Coumadin), Clopidogrel (Plavix) and Aspirin may interact with quercetin and its not recommended that you take it if you are on these. There is some suggestion that the immune suppressant drug called Cyclosporine may pose a problem because of quercetins ability to apparently blosk its absorbtion. Other drugs that have been implicated as interaction are nifedipine, and felodipine.

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What to do when “Statins” just don’t suit you?

The association between heart disease and cholesterol has enjoyed a long and sometimes rather volatile relationship. Without doubt, those with certain genetic defects causing their cholesterols to rocket into double figures have a predisposition to clogged arteries and heart disease well before their time but controversy rages on regarding the true impact of cholesterol on coronary artery disease; does simply reducing the cholesterol level really play such an important role when off set against the growing list of side effects experienced by users of cholesterol lowering drugs known as statins.
A number of recent studies have thrown a shroud or confusion over the whole cholesterol issue. In a large study involving over 1800 people with existing arterial disease just lowering their bad cholesterol (LDL) for 4 years made no difference to the progression of the disease. However, what did become apparent was that 105 unexpected cases of cancer occurred in the drug treated group compared to 70 cases in the non-drug treated group. To date, no one can confidently point a finger at the drug as a trigger for the cancer cases but it does raise suspicion that needs further investigation. The drug being tested was a combination of simvastatin and ezeimibe known as Inegy.
Other less serious but now well documented side effects from statin therapy include muscle pain and weakness (myopathy) and damage to the liver. Some experts dismiss these side effects as rare and not significant compared to their effectiveness in lowering cholesterol but if simply lowering the cholesterol is not the main issue could thousands of statin users be exposing themselves to unnecessary side effects and misery. Interestingly, Professor Beatrice Golomb of the University of California San Diego agrees. She found that muscle symptoms are far from rare with statin drugs. Professor Golomb comments that “there’s a multibillion-dollar industry ensuring that you hear all the good things about statins, but no interest group ensuring that you hear the other side.” On her research based web site, http://www.statineffects.com, Professor Golomb outlines why she is particularly concerned with the effect of statins on moods and memory describing how “it’s common to find patients on the drugs who report trouble finding the right word or forgetting what task they are supposed to be doing.” Supporting this alternative view on cholesterol is the Danish physician and cholesterol expert Dr Uffe Ravnskov who also publishes a cholesterol information web site that can be found at www.ravnskov.nu. Dr Ravnskov commented in the British Medical Journal that two of the big statin trials deliberately excluded patients who had suffered side-effects in pre-trial tests, and then claimed that the number of side-effects reported was low.
However we can’t avoid the fact that heart disease is a real problem in the UK. The British Heart Foundation state that collectively, heart and circulatory diseases cause more than a third (36%) of all deaths in the UK, accounting for over 208,000 deaths each year. With statistics like this being circulated and our obsession with cholesterol levels it comes as no surprise that the food supplement products known as Red Yeast Rice (RYR) hit the headlines. The news that a 600mg dose of RYR taken morning and evening significantly reduced blood fats (lowering total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL) while raising the healthy cholesterol levels known as HDL was just what the growing army or statin intolerant people wanted to hear. The study (published in the June 2008 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology) involves some 5000 people over a time period of four and a half years. What was even more interesting was the fact that al those in the study has suffered a previous heart attack and were taken off all conventional drugs before starting the RYR trial. Unlike the study involving the drug combination mentioned at the start of this feature the RYR intake group demonstrated a reduction in disease reoccurrence and no associated side effects.
For those wishing to try a RYR product consider Red Yeast Rice Gold, a certified organic food supplement known to be free from impurities. It is not recommended that you combine RYR with statin drugs. It would make sense to avoid Grapefruit juice since this may increase the risk of side effects and avoid St Johns wort since this may reduce the effectiveness of RYR. Because there are no studies to the contrary, the use of RYR products during pregnancy and breast feeding is not recommended. For a good overview of RYR and its actions and interactions click here.

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