Health, Myths, Fraud and the Crisis

Posts tagged ‘Cholesterol’

Statin Use Tied to Eye, Kidney, Liver Troubles

A prospective study by Julia Hippisley-Cox, MD, and Carol Coupland, MD, of the University of Nottingham in England reported online in BMJ.was unable to confirm the benefit of statins in any but cardiovascular conditions, except perhaps in the case of esophageal cancer.
However, statins did increase the risk of renal failure, liver dysfunction, myopathy, and cataracts.

While the drugs have long been linked with a raised risk for muscle problems, the new study involving over 2 million patients found other “potential adverse effects of statins, namely myopathy [muscle problems], acute renal [kidney] failure, liver dysfunction and cataract, and shown that two of these have a dose-response effect,” said lead researcher Dr. Julia Hippisley-Cox, professor of clinical epidemiology and general practice at the University of Nottingham.

Please see also link : Niacin more effective

Efficacy of oral supplementation of L-arginine to enhance Nitric oxide synthesis

L-arginine is widely touted and promoted as a supplement for enhancing blood flow and nutrient delivery. So I got curious whether its just about money or true. That is what I found :

Our body converts L-arginine into Nitric oxide (NO).  NO is a ubiquitous mediator that is formed by a family of enzymes named NO synthases. In the brain, NO acts as a neurotransmitter; in the immune system NO acts as a mediator of host defense; and in the cardiovascular system, NO mediates the protective effects of the intact  endothelium (inhibits adhesion of blood platelets), acting as a vasodilator.

Scientific studies have shown that NO significantly reduces blood pressure levels. NO also enhances health in a number of other ways. It improves immune function, stimulates the release of human growth hormone (HGH), promotes healthy sexual function (since it stimulates production of an enzyme that leads to smooth muscle relaxation of the arteries), may boost energy levels, helps to build muscle, and may reduces adipose tissue body fat. However most studies I could find do not support the claims of the supplement industry regarding oral supplementation of L-arginine.

Arginine is the precursor for nitric oxide leading to the supposition that oral supplementation can serve as a potent nitric oxide stimulator. This position is also based on the findings that significant increases of blood serum arginine levels induce significant levels of vasodilation in healthy persons when fasting (12).

However, such blood levels of arginine require direct infusion as high oral doses generally are not tolerated. In fact, oral dosages as low as 10 grams per day have been associated with significant gastric distress (16).

A substantial body of research dating back to the 1990’s, demonstrates that oral feeding of arginine is ineffective for increasing nitric oxide production, as compared to intravenous infusion, which is largely impractical.


Efficacy and safety of oral l-arginine in acute myocardial infarction CONCLUSIONS: This study, which is the first attempt to use L-arginine in MI, showed that oral L-arginine supplementation was well tolerated. Beneficial nonsignificant trend was observed towards reduction of major clinical events.

CONCLUSIONS: Endothelial dysfunction was apparent in patients with heart failure despite rigorous vasoactive treatment. Oral administration with l-arginine was ineffective in influencing endothelial function in these patients.

Conclusions— In patients with PAD (peripheral arterial disease), long-term administration of L-arginine does not increase nitric oxide synthesis or improve vascular reactivity. Furthermore, the expected placebo effect observed in studies of functional capacity was attenuated in the L-arginine-treated group. As opposed to its short-term administration, long-term administration of L-arginine is not useful in patients with intermittent claudication and PAD.

Abstract: … Nonetheless, intravenous or dietary (oral) administration of relatively large doses of L-arginine has been shown to result in enhanced NO formation in subjects with impaired endothelial function at baseline. In several controlled clinical trials, long-term administration of L-arginine has been shown to improve the symptoms of cardiovascular disease. However, in other trials L-arginine was not beneficial, and in a recent study, the authors reported higher mortality of subjects receiving L-arginine than those receiving placebo.


Sugar Cane Extract better than Statins ?

Policosanol, a Natural Alternative to Statin Drugs ?

1. Slash bad LDL cholesterol by a whopping 25%…
2. Cut TOTAL cholesterol as much as 17%…
3. Yet raise “good” HDL cholesterol by over 29%…
4. Reduce dangerous TRIGLYCERIDES over 14%…
6. Slash the risk of deadly BLOOD CLOTS
7. All without blocking CoQ10 production

Other studies :

German investigators report that policosanol may not be effective to lower LDL cholesterol. Policosanol is an extract of the waxy coating of sugar cane and other plants, and multiple trials have demonstrated that it safely lowers lipid levels. However, Dr. Heiner K. Berthold says that almost all of these studies came from one group in Cuba, whose research was funded by Dalmer Laboratories, which markets policosanol. In an attempt to confirm their findings, Berthold, from the Drug Commission of the German Medical Association in Berlin, and his team performed a “rigorously controlled” multicenter study comparing Cuban sugar cane-derived policosanol with an inactive “placebo” supplement. Their study involved 143 adults with LDL cholesterol levels of at least 150 milligrams per deciliter. Participants were randomly assigned to policosanol at doses of 10, 20, 40 or 80 milligrams daily or placebo. After 12 weeks, the researchers saw no statistically or clinically significant effect on LDL cholesterol at any dose. Similarly, the investigators report, there were no significant differences among the groups in HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, total cholesterol, very low density-cholesterol, triglycerides, or lipoprotein(a). The study was sponsored by Madaus AG, an international company specializing in plant-derived drugs, which does not manufacture or distribute any cholesterol-lowering drugs. Journal of the American Medical Association, May 17, 2006.

Lack of cholesterol-lowering efficacy of Cuban sugar cane policosanol in hypercholesterolemic persons
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 84, No. 5, 1003-1008, November 2006. Amira N Kassis and Peter JH Jones.
From the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Montréal, Quebec, Canada
More than 50 studies have reported substantial reductions in plasma lipid concentrations in response to 2 – 40 mg Cuban sugar cane policosanol mixtures per day. However, several animal and human trials conducted outside of Cuba that used non-Cuban mixtures have failed to reproduce the efficacy of policosanol observed in earlier studies. The objective was to evaluate lipid-modulating actions of the authentic Cuban sugar cane policosanol on plasma lipids in healthy hypercholesterolemic volunteers. Twenty-one volunteers consumed, under supervision, 10 mg policosanol per day or a placebo incorporated in margarine as an afternoon snack, for a period of 28 d with the use of a randomized, double-blind crossover study design. Subjects maintained their habitual diet and physical activity and were weighed daily throughout the study period. Results: Body weights did not vary significantly throughout the trial and did not affect plasma lipid values. No significant difference was observed between treatment and control groups in plasma total, LDL-, HDL-cholesterol, and triacylglycerol concentrations. Conclusion: Present results show no beneficial effects of Cuban sugar cane policosanol on lipid indicators in hypercholesterolemic persons and question the clinical usefulness of policosanol mixtures as cholesterol-lowering neutraceutical agents.

Statins and CoQ10

Statin drugs block cholesterol production in the body by inhibiting the enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase in the early steps of its synthesis in the mevalonate pathway. This same biosynthetic pathway is also shared by CoQ10.Therefore, one unfortunate consequence of statin drugs is the unintentional inhibition of CoQ10 synthesis. Thus, in the long run, statin drugs could predispose the patients to heart disease by lowering their CoQ10 status, the very condition that these drugs are intended to prevent.

The reduction of CoQ10 levels might be associated with myopathy, a rare adverse effect associated with statin drugs. This metabolic myopathy is related to ubiquinone (CoQ10) deficiency in muscle cell mitochondria, disturbing normal cellular respiration and causing adverse effects such as rhabdomyolysis, exercise intolerance, and recurrent myoglobinuria. (DiMuro S., Exercise intolerance and the mitochondrial respiratory chain. Ital J Neurol Sci. Dec. 1999;20(6):387-393).

Lower Cholesterol with Red Rice Yeast

Since statins were causing me muscle pain (  and since the heart is also a muscle … ) I was looking for something else to lower my high LDL. Fish oil appears to help, but more potent seems to be red rice yeast extract. So far I got no muscle pain. Blood test pending ….

From a Mayo Clinic web page :

Red yeast rice is the product of yeast ( Monascus purpureus ) grown on rice, and is served as a dietary staple in some Asian countries. It contains several compounds collectively known as monacolins, substances known to inhibit cholesterol synthesis. One of these, “monacolin K,” is a potent inhibitor of HMG-CoA reductase, and is also known as mevinolin or lovastatin (Mevacor®, a drug produced by Merck & Co., Inc). Red yeast rice extract has been sold as a natural cholesterol-lowering agent in over the counter supplements, such as Cholestin TM (Pharmanex, Inc).

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