Mayo Clinic recommendations: cholesterol-lowering supplements

The Mayo Clinic has a post, updated in 2012, on the topic of “Cholesterol-lowering supplements: Lower your numbers without prescription medication.” As always, we advise you to check with your healthcare provider before starting to use any of these for cholesterol management.

Most of these suggestions have been in the New York Buyers’ Club repertory for quite a while, but we are happy to repeat them here:

Fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids): can lower triglycerides

Green tea: some research on its cholesterol-lowering capacity; epidemiologic evidence suggests that green tea may lower stroke and cardiovascular disease risk. There are several choices for green tea supplements: see Green Tea; Green Tea Decaffeinated; and Green Tea Organic.

Plant sterols: see Cardio Edge for a supplement featuring plant sterols in a formula designed to support healthy cholesterol levels

Garlic extracts: contact NYBC for information on allicin, a garlic extract that has been studied for cardiovascular health

The Mayo Clinic guide also mentions grains, including oat bran and flaxseed, which can lower cholesterol.

Last, the guide discusses red yeast rice, a supplement that can lower LDL cholesterol. Note the caution that some forms of red yeast rice may contain a naturally occurring form of the prescription medication lovastatin. Lovastatin in the supplement may present some dangers to the user, because there is no way to know the quantity or quality of this prescription medication equivalent. For that reason, it is especially important to consult with your healthcare provider and monitor your usage of this supplement.

See the Mayo Clinic guide at

Mayo Clinic: Cholesterol-lowering supplements: Lower your numbers without prescription medication

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The Power of Garlic


The humble garlic bulb has had quite a career: from ancient folk remedy; to established Chinese medicinal extract; to respect accorded to it by the most exacting modern research science.

Allicin is the component of garlic that is believed to possess the greatest activity of medicinal interest. A presentation at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in December, 2002, for example, reported on the effectiveness of allicin in combating “superbugs”that become resistant to conventional antibiotics, such as vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Aside from studies of its antibiotic power, allicin has recently been the subject of research substantiating its benefit to cardiovascular health. There has been a long but not entirely conclusive history of clinical studies examining the impact of garlic and allicin on conditions like high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. However, a 2007 research report funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the NIH and the American Heart Association significantly clarified the cardiovascular benefits of garlic. The investigators demonstrated precisely how garlic and its extract allicin stimulate production of a substance, hydrogen sulfide, that relaxes blood vessel cells, and thus supports health cardiovascular function.


Read more in the NYBC newsletter, THE SUPPLEMENT:
SUP_SPR_2010_Garlic

Please contact NYBC for information about allicin: contact.nybc@newyorkbuyersclub.org

NYBC also stocks Garlicin Pro an enterically coated garlic supplement that eliminates aftertaste.

Allicin (from garlic) and cardiovascular protection

A 2007 study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute(NIH) and the American Heart Association found that garlic and its extract allicin may benefit cardiovascular health by stimulating production of hydrogen sulfide in the body. Hydrogen sulfide is known to relax blood vessel cells and through this mechanism may be able to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. This study thus helps account more precisely for the observed capacity of garlic and garlic components to support cardiovascular health.

Here’s the abstract of the study, as given by the Office of Dietray Supplements at the NIH:

Studies suggest that regular garlic intake is associated with reduction in the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, platelet aggregation, and blood coagulation. However, the constituents in garlic and the mechanisms by which they confer such protection are not well understood. When garlic is crushed, allicin, the major organosulfur compound, is decomposed to organic polysulfides by the enzyme allinase. Through a series of in vitro experiments with human erythrocytes and isolated aorta segments from rats, it was shown that these polysulfides are metabolized and increase the production of hydrogen sulfide in blood vessels. Hydrogen sulfide is a cell-signaling molecule produced in vascular smooth muscle cells and erythrocytes that diffuses through plasma membranes and
induces smooth muscle cell relaxation. In a series of studies, the vasoactivity of various garlic polysulfides was directly associated with their yields of hydrogen sulfide. These experiments provide a mechanism by which garlic works to lower cardiovascular risk. They also suggest that the potency of garlic supplements could be standardized based on their ability to produce hydrogen sulfide in relevant blood cells and tissues.

Reference: GA Benavides, et al. Hydrogen sulfide mediates the vasoactivity of garlic. In Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences (Proc Natl Acad Sci) 2007 104(46):17977-17982.

Please contact NYBC at contact.nybc@newyorkbuyersclub.org for further information

Allicin (a high-dose garlic preparation)

Allicin is thought to possess the greatest activity of garlic’s various components, and a standard preparation has been used in some studies, including the Search Alliance study of cryptosporidiosis in people with HIV (see abstract below). Other reported uses of allicin range from bacterial infections to fungal infections.

For information on obtaining allicin, please email contact.nybc@newyorkbuyersclub.org.

See additional reports on allicin and its antibiotic properties at

http://pubs.acs.org/subscribe/journals/mdd/v05/i04/html/04news4.html


The use of a high-dose garlic preparation for the treatment of Cryptosporidium parvum diarrhea.
Fareed G, Scolaro M, Jordan W, Sanders N, Chesson C, Slattery M, Long D, Castro C.

Int Conf AIDS. 1996 Jul 7-12; 11: 288 (abstract no. Th.B.4215).
AIDS Research Alliance, West Hollywood, CA, USA. Fax: 310-358-2431.

A high-dose garlic concentrate (“Allicin,” 30mg) used in hospitals in China to treat refractory diarrhea was mixed and diluted in 90cc distilled water using a disposable container for administration twice daily in 20 patients with Cryptosporidium parvum positive in baseline stool samples and clinically significant diarrheal disease. Patients were instructed to take the first 30mg dose orally and to administer the second 30mg dose (if tolerated) by rectal retention enema. Eighteen patients were evaluable for at least 3 weeks of therapy. Fifteen of these had absolute CD4 counts less than 30 with two patients greater than 50 and one patient with 102 at baseline. Both a reduction in the number of bowel movements over the initial 3 weeks of treatment with a stabilization or mild increase in body weight was observed in 8 of these 18 patients. At six weeks, 10 of 16 evaluable patients continued to show a reduction in stool frequency and a further stabilization or increase in body weight. Among the 8 patients who have remained on the high-dose Allicin treatment for greater than 8 weeks, Cryptosporidium parvum stool exams have been repeatedly negative in 4 of the patients. The preparation was apparently well tolerated in a majority of patients. The major reported side effect was a strong garlic smell and taste, which contributed to one patient withdrawing from the study. Because of the lack of effective current therapies for Crypto-sporidium parvum diarrhea, the use of high-dose garlic concentrates appears to be a feasible therapeutic regimen to consider for HIV+ patients with CD4 counts less than 100. Additional studies to evaluate the optimal dosing and route of administration will be needed to verify the efficacy of this novel agent via a Phase ll clinical trial while efforts are under way to identify the active moiety.