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Be Wary of New Frankenstein Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs

Be Wary of New Frankenstein Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs

Be wary of a new class of cholesterol-lowering drugs known as PCSK9 inhibitors. They will certainly be promoted as the new wonder drugs for cardiovascular disease and prevention.

These synthetic immune compounds are injected by your doctor and seek out and attack a specific enzyme in the liver that makes the “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. A different mechanism than statin drugs but the end result is the same. And the effective sounds impressive. They can lower LDL cholesterol by almost 50 percent!

But not so fast, chasing cholesterol numbers does not necessarily result in heart attack and stroke prevention. So is the case with these PCSK9 inhibitors. An article published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that the “difference between groups [taking and not taking the drug] was not significant…the number of cardiovascular events was small…[and reduces] confidence that they are not simply a chance finding.”

Known side effects at this time include pain at the site of injection, muscle pain, brain and cognitive problems, and visual problems. Keep in mind that LDL cholesterol has several vital roles in the body including part of your healthy cell membrane, transporting around protective antioxidants in your blood stream, and your immune system.

Helping people at a deeper level requires protecting against oxidized cholesterol. If cholesterol becomes oxidized (especially LDL cholesterol) and attaches to the artery walls, it sets the stage for inflammation of the arteries. This chronic inflammation contributes to further buildup and deposition of cholesterol and plaque on the interior walls of the arteries. This prevention is done by eating a diet rich in antioxidants and to detoxify the body of chemicals that create oxidation.

Naturally Balance Your Lipids

You can balance your lipids naturally through easy dietary changes. Here are some ways to improve your cholesterol:

  • Soluble fiber can dramatically decrease cholesterol levels (along with your risk of developing many other diseases). Pectin, found in the skin of apples, is also effective, as is ground flaxseeds, beans, apples, peas, and pears.
  • Essential fatty acids actually have a heart-protecting effect. Consume two servings a week of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids found in fish such as anchovies, Atlantic herring, sardines, tilapia, and ocean salmon.
  • Ground flaxseeds are another good source of EFAs; you can sprinkle them over salads or use the oil as a dressing.
  • Olive oil increases levels of HDL (the “good cholesterol). The uses for this fruity oil are numerous: it can enrich pasta sauces, or you can add a little to a skillet and sauté your favorite vegetables.
  • Garlic and onions are savory complements to vegetarian meals—and they help lower LDL cholesterol while raising HDL. Add spices to your meals, such as cayenne, basil, rosemary, and oregano. These spices are rich in antioxidants to prevent cholesterol oxidation.
  • Green tea is rich in antioxidants that have been shown to prevent cholesterol oxidation
  • Nuts, such as walnuts, have been shown to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels. A study conducted at the Lipid Clinic in Barcelona, Spain, showed that a walnut-rich diet reduced total cholesterol by as much as 7.4 percent and LDL cholesterol by as much as 10 percent. Eat a palmful daily.

 

References:
http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/pcsk9-inhibitors-a-major-advance-in-cholesterol-lowering-drug-therapy-201503157801
http://www.drugs.com/news/new-class-slashes-bad-cholesterol-review-finds-56574.html
Robinson JG, Farnier M, Krempf M, et al. Efficacy and safety of alirocumab in reducing lipids and cardiovascular events. N Engl J Med, 2015;372(16):1489-99.