Search Term: " Gugulipid "
Policosanol Cholesterol Complex
February 03, 2006 03:50 PM
Lowering cholesterol safely
July 27, 2005 04:10 PM
Lowering cholesterol safely.
By Kim Vanderlinden, N.D., D.T.C.M.
Atherosclerosis and its complications are major causes of death in the United States and have reached epidemic proportions throughout all of the Western world. Heart disease accounts for 36% of all deaths among Americans and ranks as the number-one killer; stroke; another complication of atherosclerosis; is the third most common cause of death.
Foremost in the prevention and treatment of heart disease is the reduction of blood cholesterol levels. The evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that elevated cholesterol levels greatly increase the risk of death due to heart disease. The first step in reducing risk for heart disease is keeping your total blood cholesterol level below 200 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter).
Not all cholesterol is bad; it serves many functions in the body, including the manufacture of sex hormones and bile acids. Without cholesterol, many body processed would not function properly.
Cholesterol is transported in the blood by molecules known as lipoproteins. Cholesterol bound to low density lipoprotein, or LDL, is often referred to as the “bad” cholesterol, while cholesterol bound to high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is referred to as the “good” cholesterol. LDL cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease, strokes, and high blood pressure, while HDL cholesterol actually protects against heart disease.
LDL transports cholesterol to the tissues. HDL, on the other hand, transports cholesterol to the liver for metabolism and excretion from the body. Therefore, the HDL-to-LDL ratio largely determines whether cholesterol is being deposited into tissues or broken down and excreted. The risk for heart disease can be reduced dramatically by lowering LDL cholesterol while simultaneously raising HDL cholesterol levels. Research has shown that for every one percent increase in HDL levels, the risk for a heart attack drops three to four percent.
Dietary cholesterol is a major risk factor in developing atherosclerosis. The evidence is substantial. However, several studies have shown that a lower dietary cholesterol intake was associated with up to a 37% lower risk of death from any cause, or an increased life expectancy of roughly 3.4 years.
Although dietary cholesterol intake is an important contributor to atherosclerosis, most of the cholesterol in the body is actually manufactured in the liver. Reducing dietary cholesterol alone is not always sufficient to lower blood cholesterol levels.
In an attempt to reduce blood cholesterol levels, many physicians are ignoring the need to give dietary recommendations and are instead utilizing drugs as the primary treatment. Using drugs before diet is clearly not the best approach, in terms of both effectiveness and cost. In fact, the Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Cholesterol in Adults clearly states: “Dietary therapy is the primary cholesterol-lowering treatment.”
The drugs lovastatin (Mevacor), prevastin (Pravachol), and simvastatin (Zocor) are commonly used to lower blood cholesterol levels. The main side effect of these drugs is liver damage. In fact, due to the seriousness of the possible adverse effects on the liver, it is necessary to have periodic blood tests to determine if the drug is harming the liver. Other side effects include: muscle breakdown, muscle pain, nausea, diarrhea, flatus, abdominal pain, headache, and skin rash.
The most important first approach to lowering a high cholesterol level is to follow a healthful diet and lifestyle. The dietary changes are simple: Eat less saturated fat and cholesterol by reducing or eliminating the amounts of animal products in the diet; increase consumption of fiber-rich plant foods (fruits, grains, and legumes); and lose weight, if necessary. Lifestyle changes include; Regular aerobic exercise; stop smoking; and reduce or eliminate consumption of coffee (both caffeinated and decaffeinated).
Here are the six key recommendations of U.S. Surgeon General, American Heart Association, and the National Research Council’s Committee on Diet and Health:
When there is a need for additional support to the dietary and lifestyle practices that can lower cholesterol levels, it simply makes more sense to use safer and more effective natural alternatives. When evaluating overall effectiveness, both LDL and HDL cholesterol levels must be taken into consideration. When you look at the cost, safety, and effectiveness, it is clear that natural alternatives are substantially superior to standard drug therapy.
Keep in mind that the natural alternatives discussed are, just like the dugs, still best utilized in a comprehensive program that stresses a healthful diet and lifestyle.
Niacin, or vitamin B3, has long been used to lower cholesterol levels. In fact, niacin is recommended by the National CholesterolEducation Program as the first “drug” to use to lower blood cholesterol levels.
The safest form of niacin at present is known as inositol hexaniacinate. This form of niacin has long been used in Europe to lower cholesterol levels and also to improve blood flow. It yields slightly better results than standard niacin, but is much better tolerated, both in terms of flushing and, more importantm long term side effects.
Gugulipid is the standardized extract of the mukul myrrh tree that is native to India. Several clinical studies have confirmed that Gugulipid has an ability to lower both cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Typically, cholesterol levels will drop 14% to 27% in a four- to twelve-week period, while triglyceride levels will drop from 22% to 30%.
The dosage of Gugulipid is based on its guggulsterone content. Clinical studies have demonstrated that Gugulipid extracts standardized to contain 25 mg of guggulsterone per tablet given three times per day is an effective treatment for elevated cholesterol levels, elevated triglyceride levels, or both.
Garlic and onions exert numerous beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, including lowering blood lipids and blood pressure. Numerous studies have demonstrated that both garlic and onions are effective in lowering LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides while simultaneously raising HDL-cholesterol levels.
Without question, the best approach to lowering cholesterol levels is through diet and lifestyle modifications. When additional support is require, there are safer and more effective natural alternatives to commonly prescribed drugs.
The goal of therapy, whether natural or synthetic, is to get blood lipid levels down into target ranges as quickly as possible. Once the target range has been achieved, begin reducing the amount of medicine by half, or take it every other day. Recheck your cholesterol levels in one month. If they have stabilized or continued to improve, you may no longer need the medication. If the levels begin to rise again, return to previous dosage.
If you are currently on a cholesterol-lowering drug, you must consult your doctor before discontinuing the medication.
Gugulipid: Controlling cholesterol levels
July 27, 2005 03:49 PM
Gugulipid: Controlling cholesterol levels
An ancient Indian plant contains a compound that can help reduce cholesterol as effectively as drugs, but without side effects.
By Michael T. Murray, N.D.
An ancient medicinal plant from India shows promise in the fight against heart disease. The mukul myrrh tree (Commiphora mukul) secretes a resinous material called gum guggul. The classic ayurvedic medical text, the “Suchruttasamhita,” describes guggul’s role in the treatment of obesity and other lipid (fat) disorders.
Comprehensive scientific studies have investigated the clinical effectiveness of gum guggul in disorders of lipid (fat) metabolism. Specifically, researchers have studies this extract’s ability to support healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels and promote weight loss. As a result of this research, scientists have developed a natural substance-Gugulipid-that appears to be safer than many other cholesterol-lowering agents, including niacin.
What is Gugulipid?
Gugulipid is the purified standardized extract of crude gum guggul (oleoresin). The active components of Gugulipid are Z-guggulsterone and E-guggulsterone. Other components of Gugulipid include various diterpenes, sterols, steroids, esters, and fatty alcohols.
Gugulipid is preferred to crude gum guggul because it is safer and more effective. In early studies, gum guggul was linked with mild side effects such as skin rashes, gastrointestinal irritation and diarrhea. In contrast, no side effects have been reported with Gugulipid. Apparently, the insoluble irritants of gum guggul are removed in the production of the soluble Gugulipid.
This just one example of how science is advancing in the efficacy of herbal therapy. Through careful scientific study, researchers developed a safer and superior form of natural plant medicine.
Numerous scientific studies have shown Gugulipid effectively supports healthy levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Gugulipid supports low levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and high levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol. HDL cholesterol has been shown to protect against heart disease caused by atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Research indicated Gugulipid itself appears to help reduce atherosclerotic plaques.
Gugulipid has been shown to improve the heart’s metabolism and act as an antioxidant, protecting the heart against free radicals. Gugulipid appears to help inhibit platelet aggregation (clumping of red blood cells), an important factor in preventing stroke or embolism.
According to research findings, Gugulipid promotes the liver’s uptake of LDL cholesterol from the blood, thus increasing the liver’s metabolism of LDL cholesterol. This function accounts for Gugulipid’s ability to support healthy cholesterol levels.
Because of Gugulipid’s effects on heart function and cholesterol, this natural compound appears to be especially useful for individuals with cardiovascular disease. In addition, guggulsterone appears to stimulate thyroid function. This steroid stimulating effect may account for some of Gugulipid’s impact on lipid levels and weight loss.
Gugulipid’s impact on cholesterol and triglycerides is quite startling. When the diet is supplemented with Gugulipid, cholesterol levels typically drop 14 to 27 percent in four to twelve weeks, while triglyceride levels drop 22 to 30 percent. Those are extremely significant reductions.
The effect of Gugulipid on serum cholesterol and triglycerides compares favorably to that of lipid-lowering drugs. Clofibrate and cholestyramine lower cholesterol levels from six to 12 percent and 20 to 27 percent respectively, but are associated with some degree of toxicity. In contrast, no side effects have been reported with Gugulipid. IN addition to the excellent safety demonstrated in human studies, Gugulipid has been shown to be nontoxic in safety studies on laboratory animals.
Appropriate dosage of Gugulipid depends on its guggulsterone content. Clinical studies indicate that 500 mg of Gugulipid with a guggulsterone content of 25 mg taken three times per day effectively supports healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
*New -- Policosanol 20MG - from Source Naturals
June 17, 2005 10:33 AM
NEW PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENT Policosanol 20 mg
Supports Cardiovascular Health!
1 tablet contains:
Suggested Use: 1 tablet daily in the evening. Source Naturals recommends that a minimum of 30 mg of CoQ10 be taken per 20 mg tablet of policosanol. Some research suggests that CoQ10 levels in the body may be lowered by compounds that work on the same metabolic pathway as policosanol.
Under-Reported (and Underappreciated) Cholesterol control.
May 12, 2005 10:00 AM
Under-Reported (and Underappreciated) Solutions for Cholesterol and Triglyceride Controlby Richard Conant, L.Ac., C.N.
Fat and human existence are inseparable. Setting aside the fear and loathing over fat in the body that pervades our culture, we understand that fat is our friend. We cannot live without fat.
The human body contains many different kinds of fats and fat-like molecules. Collectively known as "lipids" these fatty substances include fatty acids, lipoproteins, phospholipids, glycolipids, triglycerides, steroid hormones and the infamous, dreaded cholesterol.
Lipids (fats) are found everywhere in the body, performing a variety of vital functions. The brain is a fat-rich organ. Brain neurons and all other nerve cells are protected by a myelin sheath, made largely out of fatty material. Cell membranes consist almost entirely of phospholipids (lipids that contain phosphorus) arranged in a sandwich-like double layer embedded with proteins. Sex hormones are lipids, belonging to the group of complex lipid molecules known as "steroids." Vitamin D is a lipid.
The body stores and transports fatty acids in the form of triglycerides. A triglyceride contains three fatty acid molecules, which have a chain-like structure, linked to glycerol. (There are also mono- and di-glycerides, which have one and two fatty acid chains, respectively, attached to glycerol.)
Like many other things necessary to life, fat is a two-edged sword. Fat insulates us from the cold, cushions and protects our vital organs and serves as a storehouse for energy. Yet, when present in excess to the point of obesity, fat threatens health, happiness, self-esteem, social standing and longevity. The same is true of other lipids, most notably triglycerides and cholesterol. Transported throughout the body in the bloodstream, these essential lipids become a health liability when the blood contains too much of them.
Keeping fat in it its proper place, not eliminating or drastically reducing it, is the goal we should seek. In the blood, lipids must be maintained at healthy levels and ratios. When they are, an important foundation of good health is established.
How do we keep the blood lipids we need——triglycerides and the various forms of cholesterol——balanced at healthy levels? Diet and exercise are indispensable, these basics must come first. Along with the recommended dietary practices, a number of nutritional approaches offer help for maintaining healthy blood lipids. We will now give several of these a closer look.
In 1990, an herb used for centuries in the Far East was introduced to U.S. consumers. This herb, called "gum guggul," is proving to be one of the most effective natural cholesterol-lowering agents ever discovered. It also brings triglycerides down and raises HDL, the "good" cholesterol. The changes are substantial; gum guggul single-handedly normalizes the entire blood lipid profile, even in people with high starting levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
Gum guggul, also called simply "guggul," is a gummy resin tapped from the Commiphora tree. A cousin of myrrh gum, guggul has been used by Ayurvedic herbalists of India for at least 3,000 years; texts dating from around 1,000 B.C. mention the herb. Guggul was traditionally given for rheumatism and poor health caused by excess consumption of fatty foods. One ancient Sanskrit text describes in detail what happens in the body when blood fats are out of balance, due to sedentary lifestyle and overeating. The name of this condition has been translated as "coating and obstruction of channels."
Intrigued by the obvious similarity between "coating and obstruction of channels" and arteries clogged by fatty plaque, Indian researchers initiated a series of experimental and clinical studies in the 1960's to see if gum guggul would lower excess blood lipids.1 Both human and animal studies consistently showed cholesterol and triglyceride reductions.
Detailed pharmacological studies showed that guggul's lipid-lowering effects are produced by compounds in the resin called "guggulsterones."2 An Indian pharmaceutical firm then patented a standardized extract of gum guggul under the trade name "Gugulipid." The product contains a uniform 2.5 percent guggulsterones, which is higher than guggul resin in its natural state.
Because Gugulipid guarantees the necessary intake of guggulsterones needed for blood fat reduction, it has become the product used in clinical research. Phase I efficacy safety trials and Phase II efficacy trials have yielded more positive data.3,4,5 Most of the studies on gum guggul have used relatively small numbers of subjects; this tends to make mainstream medical scientists reluctant about natural remedies. A large, well-publicized double-blind Gugulipid trial on 400 to 500 people would go a long way toward giving this herb the credibility it deserves.
Another effective natural solution for blood fat control that should be better known is a relative of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). Pantethine is the active form of pantothenic acid in the body. Pantethine forms CoA, an essential co-enzyme for utilization of fat. CoA transports "active acetate," an important byproduct of fat metabolism that provides fuel for generating cellular energy. By promoting the burning of fats for energy, pantethine helps keep triglyceride levels down.6 Pantethine also helps regulate cholesterol production, by facilitating the conversion of fat into other lipid-based molecules needed in the body.6
Japanese researchers began studying the effect of pantethine on blood fats nearly twenty years ago. They reported their promising results at the Seventh International Symposium on Drugs Affecting Lipid Metabolism, held in Milan, Italy in 1980.7 Few in the medical or scientific communities took notice. Italian researchers followed up with several small clinical trials that confirmed the preliminary reports.6,8,9 An excellent cholesterol and triglyceride lowering agent that is safe and free of side-effects, pantethine remains, for the most part, ignored by mainstream science, although its usage is growing in alternative medicine circles. Pantethine it will no doubt prove to be one of the most important supplements for maintaining healthy blood fat levels.
When taken in high enough doses, niacin (vitamin B3) substantially lowers cholesterol. This has been known to medical science for many years.10 studies on niacin as a cholesterol-lowering agent go back to the 1950's. There was a fair amount of initial enthusiasm for niacin because it improves, unlike most lipid-lowering drugs, all parameters of the blood lipid profile. Niacin reduces total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. It also raises HDL cholesterol quite well. Interest in niacin has faded, in part because the necessary dose, 1200 milligrams a day or more, can cause flushing and gastrointestinal disturbances. Very high doses may be harmful to the liver if taken for too long.
There is a solution to the side-effect problem with niacin which, again, has failed to gain widespread attention. Inositol hexanicotinate is a flush-free form of niacin composed of six niacin molecules bonded to one molecule of inositol, another B-complex nutrient. Absorbed as an intact structure, inositol hexanicotinate is metabolized slowly, releasing free niacin into the bloodstream over a period of hours following ingestion.11 Inositol hexanicotinate has all the benefits of niacin for controlling blood fats. The flushing effect of ordinary niacin, which metabolizes much more rapidly, does not occur. Taking as much as four grams per day has not been reported to raise liver enzymes or cause other side-effects, but prudence dictates that people with liver problems should avoid very high doses of inositol hexanicotinate, or any form of niacin.12
We often think of vitamin E as synonymous with d-alpha tocopherol. Vitamin E is actually a whole family of compounds that includes various tocopherols and a group of lesser known but highly beneficial substances called "tocotrienols." All have vitamin E activity. Tocotrienols are similar in chemical structure to tocopherols, but they have important differences which give them unique and highly beneficial properties for human health.
Vitamin E is one of the most recognized antioxidants, nutrients that deactivate potentially toxic byproducts of oxygen metabolism known as free radicals. Vitamin E neutralizes peroxides, which result from the free radical oxidation of lipids, making it a key antioxidant in cell membranes. While d-alpha tocopherol has generally been regarded as the form of vitamin E with the strongest antioxidant activity, tocotrienols are even stronger.
The tocotrienol story is another example of a natural product slow to gain recognition. A Univeristy of California research team discovered that d-alpha tocotrienol is over six times more effective than d-alpha tocopherol at protecting cell membranes against free radical damage.13 In the presence of vitamin C, which recycles vitamin E-like compounds, its antioxidant activity is 40 to 60 times higher than d-alpha tocopherol. This study was published in 1991. Its safe to say few cardiac physicians know about tocotrienols, and we have yet to see 60 Minutes do a piece on "the powerful new form of vitamin E."
It would be a tremendous service to public health if they did, because the benefits of tocotrienols go far beyond their stellar antioxidant ability. Tocotrienols also lower total cholesterol and LDL, by impressive percentages. In one double-blind controlled study, tocotrienols reduced total cholesterol by 16 percent and LDL by 21 percent after twelve weeks. Another study recorded drops of 15 to 22 percent in total cholesterol along with 10 to 20 percent decreases in LDL levels.14 Now appearing on health food store shelves, tocotrienols are a health-protecting nutrients whose long overdue time has come. Derived from food oils such as palm oil and rice bran oil, tocotrienols have the same lack of toxicity as ordinary vitamin E.
1. Satyavati, G. Gugulipid: a promising hypolipidaemic agent from gum guggul (Commiphora wightii). Economic and Medicinal Plant Research 1991;5:47-82.
2. Dev, S. A modern look at an age-old Ayurvedic drug—guggulu. Science Age July 1987:13-18.
3. Nityanand, S., Srivastava, J.S., Asthana, O.P. Clinical trials with Gugulipid. J. Ass. Physicians of India 1989;37(5):323-28.
4. Agarwal, R.C. et. al. Clinical trial of Gugulipid—a new hypolipidemic agent of plant origin in primary hyperlipidemia. Indian J Med Res 1986;84:626-34.
5. 'Gugulipid' Drugs of the Future 1988;13(7):618-619.
6. Maggi, G.C., Donati, C., Criscuoli, G. Pantethine: A physiological lipomodulating agent, in the treatment of hyperlipidemias. Current Therapeutic Research 1982;32(3):380-86.
7. Kimura, S., Furukawa, Y., Wakasugi, J. Effects of pantethine on the serum lipoprotiens in rats fed a high cholesterol diet (Abstract) Seventh International Symposium on Drugs Affecting Lipid Metabolism, Milan, Italy, 1980.
8. Arsenio, L. Bodria, P. Effectiveness of long-term treatment with pantethine in patients with dyslipidemia. Clinical Therapeutics 1986;8(5):537-45.
9. Avogaro, P. Bittolo Bon, G. Fusello, M. Effect of pantethine on lipids, lipoproteins and apolipoproteins in man. Current Therapeutic Research 1983;33(3):488-93.
10. Crouse, J.R. New developments in the use of niacin for treatment of hyperlipidemia: new considerations in the use of an old drug. Coronary Artery Disease 1996;7(4):321-26.
11. Welsh, A.L. Ede, M. Inositol hexanicotinate for improved nicotinic acid therapy. International Record of Food Medicine 1961;174(1):9-15.
12. "Inositol hexaniacinate" (Monograph). Alternative Medicine Review 1998;3(3):222-3.
13. Serbinova, E., et. al. Free radical recycling and intramembrane mobility in the antioxidant properties of alpha-tocopherol and alpha tocotrienol. Free Radical Biology and Medicine 1991;10:263-275.
14. Qureshi, N. Qureshi, A.A. Tocotrienols: Novel Hypercholesterolemic Agents with Antioxidant Properties. in 'Vitamin E in Health and Disease' Lester Packer and Jürgen Fuchs, Editors. 1993; New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc.
Control Cholesterol with the following Supplements
Guggul – New Benefits for Heart Health
May 11, 2005 09:00 PM
Gum Guggul–New Benefits for Heart Health from an Age-Old Herbby Richard Conant, L.Ac., C.N.
The 1990's have seen a growing interest in herbs from India's ancient Ayurvedic tradition. One Ayurvedic herb in particular, "gum guggul," stands at the forefront, thanks to its rather remarkable benefits for the heart and cardiovascular health. A relative of myrrh and frankincense, gum guggul is a resin tapped from India's Commiphora mukul tree. Known more commonly in the Far East as simply "guggul," the herb has proven to be one of the most effective natural cholesterol-lowering agents ever discovered. Cholesterol reductions with guggul can be twenty percent or higher, and the herb also raises HDL, the more beneficial form of cholesterol. Studies also show guggul may help prevent atherosclerosis, by retarding the formation of fatty, cholesterol-laden deposits in blood vessel tissues.
Recent research on guggul has revealed that guggul also blocks the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, by acting as an antioxidant. LDL, which carries cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body, is generally regarded as a key element in the development of atherosclerosis. But only when it is oxidized by free radicals does LDL accumulate in arteries. It its unoxidized or "native" state, LDL is more or less benign. Checking LDL oxidation is vital to keeping blood vessels free of plaque.1 (This is one of the major reasons why antioxidants are so important.) Guggul, by both lowering blood cholesterol and acting against LDL oxidation, now stands out as one of the world's most valuable herbs for heart health.
Guggul first caught the attention of the scientific world in1966, thanks to an Indian medical researcher who submitted a doctoral thesis on gum guggul.2 Her interest had been kindled by references to the herb in a centuries-old Ayurvedic text. Apparently, poor cardiovascular health and atherosclerosis were a problem back then just as they are today. Translated from Sanskrit, this text describes, in elegant detail, a condition called "coating and obstruction of channels." The cause, according to the ancient writers? Faulty metabolism due to overeating of fatty foods and lack of exercise. Death was said to be the end result of leaving this condition uncorrected. The recommended treatment plan emphasized diet and herbs, chiefly gum guggul.3
References to guggul in ancient literature actually go back even farther. The herb is mentioned in the Vedas, the holy scriptures of India believed to be anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 years old. One stanza is translated as follows: "Disease (consumption) does not afflict and the curse never affects whom the delicious odor of the healing Guggul penetrates (spreads). The diseases also flee away in all directions from him like horses and deer, O Gugulu! Either born from Sindhu or from the sea. I chant your name for the removal of diseases."3
Struck by the obvious similarity between "coating and obstruction of channels" and atherosclerosis, the Indian researcher decided to study gum guggul's effect on blood fats in rabbits. Over a two-year period, the animals were fed hydrogenated vegetable oil to artificially raise their cholesterol levels. Guggul was administered to one group of rabbits, while the rest served as controls. At the end of the study the rabbits given guggul had normal cholesterol and blood lipid levels. Their arteries showed no fatty streaks or plague deposits. This caught the attention of the Indian scientific community, and numerous clinical trials ensued, both on animals and humans. In study after study, guggul consistently produced substantial reductions in cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while raising HDL.
The active ingredients in guggul are a group of natural plant sterols. Among these, substances called "guggulsterones" are the most important ingredients for the cholesterol and blood fat lowering properties of guggul, with the other sterols acting as a synergistic supporting cast.4 A number of mechanisms are suggested, although not definitely proven, for how the herb works; these include reducing the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver, enhancing cholesterol removal from the gut, stimulating thyroid function and increasing the number of receptors in the liver for uptake of LDL.3,5
Guggul extracts are now standardized for guggulsterone content. The herb naturally contains about 2 percent guggulsterones. Quality extracts contain a minimum of 2.5 percent, which assures the user is getting a product potent enough to produce results. Since the late 1980's clinical trials have used the standardized extract.6,7,8 The product is readily available in the U.S.
The ability of guggulsterones to prevent oxidation of LDL was discovered in a 1997 study done by scientists at the Central Drug Research Institute in Lucknow, India.9 This study sheds light on how guggul works against "coating and obstruction of channels." Remember that oxidized LDL forms the plaque that coats and eventually obstructs blood vessels. The researchers mixed LDL from human blood with a free radical promoting agent, either alone or in combination with guggulsterones. Samples were then analyzed for the presence LDL oxidation byproducts. The results showed that guggulsterones strongly protect LDL from being oxidized. Guggulsterones block the formation of hydroxyl radicals, a potent type of free-radical that attacks cell membranes.
Guggulsterones may also help keep the heart muscle itself healthy. When the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen, a condition known as "myocardial ischemia," it can be severely damaged by free radicals. The body tries to counter this with SOD, a key enzyme present in cells that neutralizes free radicals. SOD levels are significantly reduced in damaged heart tissues. Guggulsterones have been found to reverse this decrease by more than two-fold.10
Like the writer of that age-old verse found in the Vedas, contemporary herbalists hold gum guggul in the highest regard. Backed as it is by scientific research linked to centuries of traditional use, gum guggul has a bright future as a natural resource for maintaining normal cholesterol and blood fats, and for protecting heart health.
1. Heinecke, J.W. Free radical modification of low density lipoprotein: mechanisms and biological consequences. Free Radical Biology & Medicine 1987;3:65-73.
2. Satyavati, G.V. Effect of an indigenous drug on disorders of lipid metabolism with special reference to atherosclerosis and obesity (Medoroga) M.D. thesis (Doctor of Ayurvedic Medicine). Banaras Hindu University, varanasi, 1966.
3. Satyavati, G. Gugulipid: a promising hypolipidaemic agent from gum guggul (Commiphora wightii). Economic and Medicinal Plant Research 1991;5:47-82.
4. Dev, S. A modern look at an age-old Ayurvedic drug-guggulu. Science Age July 1987:13-18.
5. Singh, V. et. al. Stimulation of low density lipoprotein receptor activity in liver membrane of guggulsterone treated rats. Pharmacological Research 1990;22(1):37-44.
6. Nityanand, S., Srivastava, J.S., Asthana, O.P. Clinical trials with Gugulipid. J. Ass. Physicians of India 1989;37(5):323-28.
7. Agarwal, R.C. et. al. Clinical trial of Gugulipid-a new hypolipidemic agent of plant origin in primary hyperlipidemia. Indian J Med Res 1986;84:626-34.
8. 'Gugulipid' Drugs of the Future 1988;13(7):618-619.
9. Singh, K., Chandler, R. Kapoor, N.K. Guggulsterone, a potent hypolipidaemic, prevents oxidation of low density lipoprotein. Phytotherapy Research 1997;11:291-94.
10. Kaul, S. Kapoor, N.K. Reversal of chnages of lipid peroxide, xanthine oxidase and superoxide dismutase by cardio-protective drugs in isoproterenol induced myocardial necrosis in rats. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology 1989;27:625-627.
May 09, 2005 06:10 PM
It's in the BloodNatural alternatives abound for managing cholesterol levels, backed by a growing body of research ©VR By Paul Bubny
The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) last July lowered the threshold for considering the use of statin drugs—a move which some say was motivated more by profits than scientific evidence. For example, the Center for Science in the Public Interest pointed out that eight of the nine authors behind the new recommendations had financial ties to statin manufacturers, which stand to reap billions of dollars more from a category that grossed $14 billion in the U.S. last year. And though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January decided against authorizing over-the-counter (OTC) sales of statin drugs, drug companies would still like to see this happen.
“The medical establishment’s pushing of these drugs to becoming the number one category of prescribed drugs in the world has led them to keep lowering the total cholesterol number that triggers the drug recommendation,” said Neil E. Levin, C.C.N., D.A.N.L.A., nutrition educator, product formulator, and “Truth Advocate” for NOW Foods (Bloomingdale, IL), which produces a number of supplements for addressing cholesterol. “This is despite the lack of evidence that total cholesterol means much as regards cardiovascular risks.
“Other tests are much more important in terms of predicting risks, including CRP (C-reactive protein), the balance of different cholesterol fractions, and homocysteine,” he continued. “Add adult-onset diabetes to the risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD).”
At the same time, the allegation that enormous sales potential lay behind the lower threshold for prescribing statin drugs illustrates how widespread the problem of hypercholesterolemia (elevated total cholesterol) is. More than 100 million Americans have elevated cholesterol (total cholesterol values of 200 mg/dl and higher), and of these, more than a third have high cholesterol (levels of 240 mg/dl and higher), according to the American Heart Association. Those numbers have unfavorable implications for the incidence of CVD, as high cholesterol is considered a risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke.
While statin drugs haven’t garnered the same degree of negative publicity that COX-2 inhibitors have suffered lately, safety concerns have arisen nonetheless. For one thing, these drugs lower the liver’s production of coenzyme Q10 (coQ10) along with its production of cholesterol. “CoQ10 is related to energy production and immune functions, is an antioxidant, and [is] an important cardiovascular nutrient,” Levin said. “It is not good to lower one’s coQ10 levels by half!”
Moreover, said Levin, statins increase the tendency of muscle tissues to break down. “Combined with inactivity or certain drugs, this can stimulate muscle wasting,” he said. “Muscle is where a good deal of calories are burned, so a loss of muscle could affect mobility and energy production, potentially adding to obesity problems. These muscle changes occurred in patients and persisted for years after treatment was discontinued, as shown by muscle biopsies, even if no obvious muscle problems were observed by the patients.”
And the last word on the subject may not have been spoken. Predicted Dr. Frank King, Jr. president of King Bio Natural Medicine (Asheville, NC), “Once the appropriate studies are finished, these drugs, along with hypertensives, will hit the fan bigger than the COX-2 inhibitors.”
Also looking toward the future, Levin said that of the 20 million Americans who will be “targeted” for statin drug prescriptions under the new NCEP guidelines, “Some of these will want to try natural methods first. Others will rebel at the side effects of the drugs and experiment with alternative products.”
King and Levin both saw opportunity for natural products in the fallout from drug safety concerns, with King projecting that sales of his company’s cholesterol-related homeopathic remedies will double in 2005. “The reports of deaths from drugs will always overshadow the trumped-up studies and news reports blasting dietary supplements,” said Levin. “Vioxx knocked vitamin E off the media’s radar screens pretty rapidly, though we still see ignorant reporters citing that [Johns Hopkins] vitamin E analysis as if it were true. But the comparable safety of supplements means that open-minded people will want to at least try natural therapies before signing in to a lifetime of drug therapies. Meanwhile, the studies on natural products will continue to build our credibility.”
Those studies keep coming in, with at least four major findings published in the past few months, plus a heart-health claim on walnuts authorized by FDA. They join a raft of earlier findings that link natural products—branded and otherwise—to healthy cholesterol levels.
"Blur of Products"
With so many natural alternatives to cholesterol drugs available, it can be hard to keep track. “As with any other category, the blur of products as they cascade over several shelves means that the retailer needs to have a good sense of what works and what they want to recommend to their customers,” Levin said. “Really, each person needs a protocol that would include antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, herbs, and oils. The pre-mixed cholesterol support formulas are a good starting place.”
To help retailers get a sense of “what works,” here is an alphabetical discussion of several nutrients that have demonstrated benefits in serum cholesterol levels. They include the following:
Barley may help lower cholesterol, according to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2004, vol.80, no.5: 1185-1193). Twenty-five adults with mild hypercholesterolemia consumed a controlled diet low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol for 19 weeks. They then added whole-grain products containing barley to their diets that contained low (0 g), medium (3 g), or high (6 g) amount of beta-glucan per day for five weeks. Total cholesterol was reduced by 4 percent 9 percent, and 10 percent, respectively. The diet with the highest amount of beta-glucan led to a decrease in LDL cholesterol of 17 percent.
Chromium. There’s evidence, Levin said, that chromium in doses of 500 mg a day may decrease levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the so-called “bad” cholesterol) and total cholesterol while raising levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good” cholesterol). At the annual meeting of the American College of Nutrition last October, a poster presentation on the safety of Benicia, CA-based InterHealth Nutraceuticals’ ChromeMate niacin-bound chromium won first prize; among other things, the presentation cited chromium’s role in maintaining healthy blood lipid levels.
Fatty Acids. The latest in a long line of studies demonstrating the benefits of fatty acids in heart health is a study published in The International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics in December 2004. It showed that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid, can restore normal blood vessel function in children with inherited high cholesterol. The study, which used Martek DHA produced from microalgae, concluded that restoration of normal blood vessel function has the “potential for preventing the progression of early coronary heart disease in high-risk children.”
“The evidence continues to accumulate on the cardiovascular benefits of DHA for people of all ages,” said Henry “Pete” Linsert, Jr., chairman and CEO of Martek Biosciences, an ingredient supplier based in Columbia, MD. “This study clearly indicates that DHA played an important role in healthy blood vessel function in the children in this study.”
On the Omega-Research.com Website maintained by fish oil manufacturer Nordic Naturals (Watsonville, CA) can be found summaries of several earlier studies linking omega-3 fatty acids to maintaining healthy blood lipid levels, as well as related benefits such as elasticity of the arteries. In a 2003 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that women receiving a mixture of 4 g eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA along with 2 g of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) had lower levels of LDL cholesterol after 28 days compared to those who received either the EPA/DHA supplements without DHA, EPA/DHA with a smaller dose of GLA, or GLA alone.
Flax is another source of omega-3s, and Arkopharma/Health From The Sun (Bedford, MA) offers FiProFLAX in a variety of forms. Marketing director Hugues P. Mas said the flax is “QAI [Quality Assurance International] certified organic and guaranteed GMO [genetically modified organism]-free.” On its Website, the company offers a cholesterol quiz geared to consumers, discussing the importance of omega-3s as well as other nutrients.
Garlic. Adding to an already considerable body of research demonstrating that garlic can lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides while increasing HDL cholesterol, researchers at UCLA in 2003 reported that Kyolic aged garlic extract reduced or inhibited plaque formation in the arteries of 19 cardiac patients taking statin drugs.
Lead researcher Matthew Budoff, Ph.D. commented at the time that the study “suggests that aged garlic extract may be a useful and beneficial dietary addition for the people who have high cardiovascular risk or who have undergone heart surgery.” Budoff has since presented several trade show seminars sponsored by Los Angeles-based Wakunaga of America, the makers of Kyolic.
Guggul. In use for centuries as a component of Ayurvedic medicine, guggul—a gummy resin tapped from the Commiphora mukul tree, which is native to India—has been studied since the early 1960s for its hypolidemic (blood-lipid lowering) properties. Sabinsa Corp. (Piscataway, NJ), an ingredient supplier which produces a standardized extract under the brand name Gugulipid, says the studies on guggul indicate that its hypolipidemic activity can be attributed to more than one mechanism of action.
Among the possible mechanisms are: inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis, enhancing the rate of excretion of cholesterol, promoting rapid degradation of cholesterol, thyroid stimulation, alteration of biogenic amines, and “high affinity binding and anion exchange.”
Homeopathy. “Homeopathy activates the body’s own control system to work properly,” said King. “This is the safest and most curative approach to take.
“Forcing the body into biochemical change even naturally doesn’t actually have the curative action of homeopathy,” King continued. “Homeopathy can even correct the genetic predispositions to disease we may have inherited from as deep as a thousand years into our family chain.” King Bio makes Artery/Cholesterol/BP, a homeopathic formula intended to help tone heart muscles and blood vessels.
Low glycemic index foods. In a study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that high glycemic load is negatively correlated to serum levels of HDL cholesterol. Assessing the relationship between blood levels of lipids and diet in a test population of 32 healthy males and females ages 11 to 25, the researchers found that glycemic load accounted for 21.1 percent of the variation in HDL cholesterol. They concluded that glycemic load appears to be an important independent predictor of HDL cholesterol in youth and noted that dietary restrictions without attention to glycemic load could unfavorably influence blood lipids.
Medicinal Mushrooms. Although its product SX-Fraction is intended primarily to address high blood sugar, Maitake Products, Inc. (MPI, Ridgefield Park, NJ) found in a clinical study that LDL cholesterol in diabetic patients declined modestly (from 142 mg/dl to 133 mg/dl) over a two-month period. Those taking SX-Fraction also lost about 7 lbs. in the same time period.
“The more impressive lowering of cholesterol, however, comes from the dietary fiber that is found in all medicinal mushrooms,” said Ellen Shnidman, manager of scientific affairs at MPI. She cited animal studies which documented the cholesterol-lowering properties of four different mushrooms: maitake, shiitake, agaricus, and enokitake.
For example, a study reported in the September 1996 issue of Alternative Therapies showed “a 44 percent reduction in total cholesterol in rats consuming maitake mushroom in their diet,” said Shnidman. “This cholesterol reduction is accompanied by weight loss, relative to rats eating a similar high-choelsterol diet without mushrooms. Apparently, cholesterol is excreted by the rats in sufficient quantity to aid in weight loss.”
Oat bran. A 2004 consumer study conducted by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI, Harleysville, PA) for Nurture, Inc. (Devon, PA), which produces the ingredient OatVantage, found that 63 percent of consumers managing their cholesterol levels prefer oat-based ingredients.
Oat bran is the subject of a health claim authorized by FDA in 1999, and NMI research found that 69 percent of respondents preferred the FDA-permitted health claim, “Helps Lower Cholesterol,” over the model structure-function claim, “Helps Maintain Healthy Cholesterol Levels.” “This is significant for food, beverage, and dietary supplement manufacturers who want to increase sales by using a more consumer-desired claim on the product label,” said Griff Parker, Nurture CEO.
Plant sterols. Also the subject of an FDA-approved claim for heart health, plant sterols (structurally similar to cholesterol in humans) can block the absorption of cholesterol, according to a number of studies. In an “Ask the Doctor” publication (available online at www.atdonline.org), Decker Weiss, N.M.D. noted that sterols enter the same receptor sites that cholesterol enters on its way to the bloodstream. “The cholesterol, being blocked from absorption, remains in our intestines where it is eventually excreted,” Weiss wrote. General Mills has just introduced Yoplait Healthy Heart, a yogurt high in plant sterols.
Policosanol. A mixture of fatty alcohols derived from sugar cane or beeswax, policosanol has been favorably compared in clinical studies to several types of prescription drugs for managing cholesterol. On its own, policosanol was found in a 1999 study to reduce LDL cholesterol while raising levels of HDL cholesterol.
Probiotics. “Several studies have indicated that consumption of certain cultured dairy products resulted in reduction of serum cholesterol, as well as triglycerides,” wrote Dr. S.K. Dash, president of probiotic manufacturer UAS Laboratories (Eden Prairie, MN), in his Consumer Guide to Probiotics. Among other studies, Dash cited two controlled clinical studies from the VA Medical Center at the University of Kentucky.
“In the first study, fermented milk containing [Lactobacillus] acidophilus was accompanied by a 2.4 percent reduction of serum cholesterol concentration,” he wrote. “In the second study, a different L. acidophilus strain reduced serum cholesterol concentration by 3.2 percent. Since every 1 percent reduction in serum cholesterol concentration is associated with an estimated 2 to 3 percent reduction in risk for coronary heart disease [CHD], regular intake of fermented milk containing an appropriate strain of L. acidophilus has the potential of reducing risk for [CHD] by 6 to 10 percent.”
Dash said his company’s DDS Probiotics contain DDS-1 L. acidophilus, “which has been researched and demonstrated to show cholesterol-lowering effect.”
Psyllium. “Internal cleansing is very important” in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, “especially if you do it with a lot of fiber,” said Sunil Kohli, vice president of Chino, CA-based Health Plus, Inc. The cholesterol-managing ability of fiber in general and psyllium in particular is “very well-established,” he said.
However, Kohli said, “It will probably do you no good if it’s random. It should be done on a regular basis, and it should be supervised. Consulting the doctor or pharmacist is important.”
Soy. The protein in soy “has evidence of lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, based on reviews of studies using over 20 g of soy protein per day,” said Levin. “Soy isoflavones are considered only partly responsible for this effect.”
Sytrinol. A patented proprietary formula derived from natural citrus and palm fruit extracts and containing citrus polymethoxylated flavones and palm tocotrienols, Sytrinol has been shown in clinical trials to improve total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides by up to 30 percent, 27 percent, and 33 percent, respectively. Having just wrapped up Phase III of a long-term trial of Sytrinol, Chicago-based SourceOne Global Partners, which owns the exclusive worldwide license for intellectual property associated with the ingredient, is commencing a study that combines Sytrinol with plant sterols.
Tocotrienols. On its Website discussing the science and benefits of tocotrienols (www.tocotrienol.org), ingredient supplier Carotech Inc. (Edison, NJ) identifies several benefits for blood lipid levels. Tocotrienols, according to the Website, have been shown to “inhibit cholesterol production in the liver, thereby lowering total blood cholesterol;” “[suppress] hepatic HMG-CoA reductase activity [and result in] the lowering of LDL cholesterol levels;” and “inhibit cholesterogenesis by suppressing HMG-CoA reductase.”
With all of this, Levin said, it’s important for retailers to remember that “they are not allowed to discuss diseases and remedies unless there is an approved FDA health claim allowed on the label, as with soy protein and plant sterols. What is allowed are structure-function claims such as ‘cholesterol support,’ ‘promoting normal, healthy circulation,’ ‘homocysteine regulators,’ etc.”
Supplementation is only one tool for managing cholesterol levels, manufacturers pointed out. “Besides nutrition, lifestyle is a key to controlling cholesterol,” Levin said. “Eating a variety of antioxidant-rich foods will prevent the liver from churning out cholesterol as a ‘cheap’ antioxidant. The body uses oxidized cholesterol to patch leaky and damaged blood vessels, so the ability to build healthy collagen is a must, using nutrients like vitamin C, Pycnogenol, rutin, hyaluronic acid, and MSM.
“Don’t forget exercise and stress reduction,” he added. “Stress results in high cortisol levels—usually accompanied by poor blood lipid levels—and a lack of good sleep to produce unhealthy people.” VR
Vitamin Retailer Magazine, Inc., 431 Cranbury Road, East Brunswick, NJ 08816 //www.oprmagazine.com/
May 09, 2005 11:35 AM