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Old 05-14-2009, 11:05 AM   #1
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plant sterols and other dietary changes

I really advise staying away from plant sterols.

They certainly can reduce your LDL by 10-15%. But the plant sterols are very similar to cholesterol. Many doctors think the sterols simply take the place of cholesterol in your arteries. They have found plant sterols in plaque.

So... you may get lower cholesterol numbers, but actually be increasing your risk of heart disease.

Eating more fiber (oat bran) could help a little.

Last edited by mod-anon; 05-15-2009 at 08:35 PM. Reason: starting a new thread with this post.

 
Old 05-14-2009, 12:13 PM   #2
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Re: First bloodwoork in 11 years and results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by namelessme View Post
I really advise staying away from plant sterols.

They certainly can reduce your LDL by 10-15%. But the plant sterols are very similar to cholesterol. Many doctors think the sterols simply take the place of cholesterol in your arteries. They have found plant sterols in plaque.

So... you may get lower cholesterol numbers, but actually be increasing your risk of heart disease.

Eating more fiber (oat bran) could help a little.
The plant/sterol myth has not been proven by far. Beta Sitosterol and other plant sterols have also been researched and proven effective for inflammatory conditions and Prostate issues. Keep in mind that most doctors do not approve of any type of cholesterol lowering supplements that is not either a statin or a fibrate. The medical circles have criticized and published contadicory literature for POLICOSANOL, PLANT STEROLS, RED YEAST RICE, VITAMIN E, and lately SELENIUM and FOLIC ACID. Unfortunately, the latest HDL raising drug developed by Pfizer proved to be very dangerous and banned by the FDA. The only supplement which is currently known to raise HDL and improve the entire lipid panel is Niacin. This supplement is so effective that the drug manufacturers now consider it to be their own. 15 years ago Niacin was researched and considered to be very dangerous to your health for causing ulcers, excessive bleeding and Liver toxicity/failure and the rise in HDL values were not of importance. The importance was LDL cholesterol only. These theories fell by the wayside..

 
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Old 05-14-2009, 01:16 PM   #3
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Re: First bloodwoork in 11 years and results.

If you want to try the supplement route, plant stanols may be safer than sterols. They aren't absorbed into the bloodstream, although there could be some concern about it blocking the absorption of some vitamins.

There is not a single study that shows plant sterols reducing the risk of heart disease.

You bring up Torcetrapib, which was an utter failure, and the same risk applies to sterols. Without studies to back it up, all it does is change some numbers on your bloodwork... yet you have no idea if it's reducing risk or increasing risk. Zetia would be another example. Yes, it reduces LDL, but at best probably does nothing, and possibly could even harm.

Policosanol was shown to do absolutely nothing. All beneficial studies came out of Cuba, and could not be replicated elsewhere.

Red yeast rice has lots of studies showing a benefit. And some doctors do recommend it instead of a regular statin. If going the natural route, it's a better option than plant sterols right now -- at least some data supports red yeast rice.

Last edited by namelessme; 05-14-2009 at 01:18 PM.

 
Old 05-15-2009, 05:48 AM   #4
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Re: First bloodwoork in 11 years and results.

There are many foods rich in plant sterols which are claimed to help cholesterol levels. These foods have also not been proven but at least they don't increase cholesterol and keep most away from dangerous medications with horrible side effects. Policosanol from Sugar Cane extract is highly effective. Source Naturals policosanol supplements are derrived from sugar cane and helped rasie my HDL. One-A-day discontinued using Policosanol in their Cholesterol Plus due to the negative press and substituted plant sterols. One-A-Day also used 10 mg of pure sugar cane. My blood results on 2 occasions were excellent as were my wife's numbers after 6 weeks.

The natural route for Plant Sterols are these common foods naturally rich in plant sterols though also not proven:

Avocado
Walnuts
Almonds
Soybeans
Cold-pressed olive oil
Peanuts
Sunflower seeds
Wheat germ oil
Sesame seeds

 
Old 05-15-2009, 07:59 AM   #5
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Re: First bloodwoork in 11 years and results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ACE28 View Post
The natural route for Plant Sterols are these common foods naturally rich in plant sterols though also not proven:

Avocado
Walnuts
Almonds
Soybeans
Cold-pressed olive oil
Peanuts
Sunflower seeds
Wheat germ oil
Sesame seeds
Of course, many of the above may help anyway (even if the plant sterols do nothing), as they are high in unsaturated fats, if they are eaten to replace food with saturated or hydrogenated fats.

 
Old 05-15-2009, 09:35 AM   #6
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Re: First bloodwoork in 11 years and results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ACE28 View Post
There are many foods rich in plant sterols which are claimed to help cholesterol levels. These foods have also not been proven but at least they don't increase cholesterol and keep most away from dangerous medications with horrible side effects. Policosanol from Sugar Cane extract is highly effective. Source Naturals policosanol supplements are derrived from sugar cane and helped rasie my HDL.
I am not disputing the fact that plant sterols can reduce cholesterol levels. But don't automatically equate reducing cholesterol with automatically reducing heart disease risk (whatever the drug may companies say). The previous example of Zetia or Torcetrapib shows that lowering LDL or raising HDL doesn't necessarily improve mortality rates.

We may have to agree to disagree here, but saying that plant sterols have not been proven to harm (or even help, really) isn't a reason to take them. Perhaps one day they will do a study and show they do in fact reduce risk of heart disease. But it's really playing with fire at this point to take them.

By the way, what increase in HDL did you get from the Source Naturals policosanol? Were you taking any other supplements/drugs, or alter diet/exercise at the time? Most, if not all, reports on policosanol outside of Cuba states that it's pretty much a sham.

 
Old 05-15-2009, 05:47 PM   #7
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Re: First bloodwoork in 11 years and results.

Let's conclude by saying Plant Sterols can't hurt. They've been very helpful for men with Prostrate problems. Whether the lowering of cholesterol equates to a benefit still needs to be seen. One thing is certain based on my experience, statins which also lower cholesterol can definitely cause harm, and much of the research on all cause mortality have not been very impressive. Getting back to Policosanol, the sugar cane extract is very effective but very hard to find a reliable product. Many products use a form of Octacosanol (derived from rice) which is more of an energy enhancer than a cholesterol reducing product. Policosanol is pretty remarkable for increasing HDL, lowering LDL, reducing inflammation and weight loss. In regard to you question about HDL, At that time approx 7 years ago I was taking Lipitor 10mg a day. My Total and LDL cholesterol dropped dramatically but my HDL always stayed at about 40. When I added 10mg of Policosanol my next blood test results approx. 3 months later my HDL shot up to 56. My doctor asked if I was exercising, or if I changed my diet in any way, which I did not. He said keep doing whatever your doing. Within that same time frame all the negative publicity about Policosanol being ineffective began to surface. The real problem was the pure sugar cane policosanol was no longer being shipped to the U.S. due to certain embargo's being imposed. Apparently the U.S. began receiving adulterated junk. The past ingredients used by most manufacturers began to change. The impressive results began fading. I then began adding Imediate Release NIACIN and dropped the Policosanol and Lipitor due to muscle problems. Several years later One A Day cholesterol plus began to add Policosanol (Sugar cane). Once again the results for many were impressive. Then the negative press began again, and One A Day re-formulated their product with Plant Sterols. For the Pharmaceutical giant BAYER, makers of One a Day to begin world wide distribution of Policosanol in their supplements tells me that the Research studies in Europe and the U.S. impressed them greatly. Once doubt is cast on a supplement, the product loses credibility. A perfect ex. is Vitamin E. This supplement was researched in over 75 large studies worldwide with remarkable results for it's oxidation scavenging abilities and to target inflammation and improve blood circulation. The latest 3 studies have cast doubt on all these past studies and concluded that Vitamin E is completely ineffective and may cause pre-mature death. You believe it??? I can tell you this, that if your CRP levels are high, taking 1200 mg a day of Vitamin E for about 6 weeks can reduce your CRP levels to < 0.3. If you add Niacin, your entire Lipid Panel including LpA and Fibrinogen will improve for the better. Niacin is still a Vitamin supplement not a drug.

P.S. My position on Vitamin supplements is just my opinion. I know many will disagree...

 
Old 05-15-2009, 06:58 PM   #8
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Re: First bloodwoork in 11 years and results.

I don't necessarily disagree with your take on supplements and vitamins. Just, well, you know my opinion on sterols already, so won't go over that again. But even for other supplements, such as vitamin E, I wouldn't say they necessarily can't hurt. For vitamin E, if it's a mixed tocopherol/tocotrienol supplement, it could be beneficial. The problem with most studies is they use high dose alpha tocopherol only, which depletes gamma... and that can lead to bad things. Your policosanol experience is an interesting one. Do you still take it? I'm not completely convinced its beneficial, but it is an interesting story. And niacin and red yeast rice are the two supplements with lots of studies behind them. Niacin is probably the best, but unfortunately I can't take it due to it causing heart palpitations. And for HDL, a small amount of Cocoa/dark chocolate is something I recommend, although it's not necessarily a supplement. And it tastes good too

Last edited by namelessme; 05-15-2009 at 07:01 PM.

 
Old 05-15-2009, 07:18 PM   #9
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Re: First bloodwoork in 11 years and results.

For now I'm not taking Policosanol. I believe it's overkill because I'm also taking Niacin, Lovaza and Pravachol. When One A Day came out with Cholseterol Plus, it was very convenient and cost effective to take a Multivitamin with the added Policosanol (Sugar Cane). When the vitamin was re-formulated I stopped taking it. In regard to Niacin, did you take a very small dose to start?? The fast/skipped heart beats happens to many when first starting. The way I began was to take a CVS 100 mg tablet and break it in half for the first week. Then I took 100 mg. a day for the next week. When I started the 100 mg. I noticed the flush and a racy heart beat. After a few times the fast heart beat subsided. I'm now taking 3000 mg. day with no problems. Occasional heart burn though. The flush is scary at first but it soon passes. The flush is actually very beneficial due to the increase in circulation and the removal of toxins and impurities. With high doses you will also notice very dry skin over time.

Last edited by mod-anon; 05-18-2009 at 12:54 PM. Reason: Please use the Quick Reply button instead of Quote Reply.

 
Old 05-15-2009, 07:50 PM   #10
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Re: First bloodwoork in 11 years and results.

Yeah, I started on 100mg, then worked up to 500mg Niaspan. The palpitations were occasional, mild, but noticeable and persisted for the 6 months I took it. I did have a bit of flush at first, but that aspect never really bothered me. The palpitations did though.

When I dropped the niacin, they went away. I have a weird heart though, so that may be the reason and to be safe, I dropped it. It didn't help me at all at those doses anyway (HDL actually decreased).

 
Old 05-18-2009, 10:09 AM   #11
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Re: First bloodwoork in 11 years and results.

I take an Immediate release Niacin called NIACOR. It releases Niacin within an hour as oppsed to Extended Release NIASPAN which remains for 9 -12 hours. The Sustained Release Niacin is the type more related to liver damage and side effects. Each type of Niacin works differently, with a slightly different side effect profile.

 
Old 05-18-2009, 08:08 PM   #12
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Re: First bloodwoork in 11 years and results.

I tried three different types, one immediate release, two extended release. All caused palpitations.

But if you can tolerate it, immediate release is the way to go.

 
Old 05-19-2009, 10:31 AM   #13
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Re: plant sterols and other dietary changes

I think if you follow the suggested ramp up slowly and that means very slowly you likely would not experience the palpitations with the immediate release. I have been taking it for years and have had no problem at all, but I first received very detailed instructions on how to take it from a nurse practitioner.

 
Old 05-19-2009, 11:41 AM   #14
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Re: plant sterols and other dietary changes

Even at low doses of 100mg a day. You will notice a small increase in HDL. If you add 200 mg.of Chromium Picolinate the HDL will rise even more. There is a synergistic effect between Chromium and Niacin...

 
Old 05-20-2009, 12:45 AM   #15
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Re: plant sterols and other dietary changes

I did ramp up very slowly, starting at 100mg. I had palpitations even at that dose (albeit minor).

I have a weird heart, but I expect most people will be able to tolerate niacin just fine. But for me it wasn't worth the risk (and my doctor agreed).

What I have found most effective for my cholesterol levels, which won't necessarily work for most people (or those with normal thyroids) -- low dose Synthroid, Omega 3s, vitamin D, and approx. 20 grams of dark chocolate/daily.

 
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