Cholesterol and glutathione peroxidaseOctober 11, 2012 October 11, 2012
University of Minnesota Medical School researchers in collaboration with the School of Public Health have discovered an enzyme that, when found at high levels and alongside low levels of HDL (good cholesterol), can dramatically reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The enzyme – glutathione peroxidase, or GPx3 – is a natural antioxidant that helps protect organisms from oxidant injury and helps the body naturally repair itself. Researchers have found that patients with high levels of good cholesterol, the GPx3 enzyme does not make a significant difference. However, those patients with low levels of good cholesterol, the GPx3 enzyme could potentially be a big benefit. The enzyme’s link to cardiovascular disease may also help determine cardiovascular risk in patients with low levels of good cholesterol and low levels of the protective GPx3.
Glutathione peroxidase is found in nearly all fruits and vegetables. The list of preferred produce includes avocado, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, tomato, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and Kale. But again Glutathione peroxidase is found in nearly all fruits and vegetables.
Elevated cholesterol, or hypercholesterolemia, is the presence of high levels of cholesterol in the blood. It is not a disease but a metabolic imbalance, caused by abnormalities in the levels of lipoproteins, the particles that carry cholesterol in the bloodstream. This may be related to diet, genetic factors and the presence of other diseases such as diabetes and an underactive thyroid.
Everyone has cholesterol in their blood, but if the levels of LDL are too high, the excess can accumulate on the walls of the arteries. This build-up of cholesterol and other substances – called plaque – can narrow the artery like a clogged drain. A high level of oxidized cholesterol or a low level of HDL cholesterol can be particularly troublesome. It can also lead to arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. There are many risks of high cholesterol which range from coronary artery disease to heart attack to stroke. As a general rule of thumb, the higher the cholesterol, the higher the risk of heart and blood vessel disease. However, we have to keep in mind that cholesterol is a naturally-occurring substance in the body and, at the right level, is necessary as it gives rise to many of the adrenal and sex hormones. In fact, at the Magaziner Center for Wellness, we evaluate our patients using advanced lipid testing, including lipid fractionation, to assess particle size and number since these may give a better overview of cardiovascular risk than total cholesterol and LDL alone.
Elevated cholesterol is a particularly challenging condition as there are no real symptoms associated with it that cause people to seek treatment until they have developed often life-threatening illnesses.
Who is Affected?
Elevated cholesterol affects approximately 52 million, or one in five, Americans.
What are Options for Treatment?
At the Magaziner Center for Wellness, we utilize natural alternatives to the widely prescribed cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, the safety of which has been called into question by the FDA repeatedly. In our opinion, statins should not be taken as a first line therapy and should be used only as a last resort. We have plenty of effective, natural options with which to customize a cholesterol-lowering program for patients that also help them decrease inflammation, another heart health risk factor.
Rather than “popping a pill” and hoping for the best when it comes to side effects, we help our patients follow a cardiovascular health enhancement program, created by Dr. Allan Magaziner. Called DEAR, the program focuses on:
- Diet – An eating plan rich in phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and amino acids, especially “super foods”, and one that takes into account a person’s unique special needs
- Exercise – A sedentary lifestyle is one of the most serious risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease – we work with our patients to develop an activity plan that takes into account their risk factors, interests, budget and time constraints, and includes aerobic exercise, as well as strength training and flexibility work.
- Additional Supplementation – We ensure an adequate supply of all necessary nutrients with supplements, with dosages customized to take into account a person’s age, weight, general medical condition, health history, etc.
- Relaxation – Identifying the stressors in a person’s life, then working to find ways to alleviate them – whether through practical alternatives, meditation, exercise-based meditation, acupuncture, massage or a better connection to others – is critical to overall cardiovascular health.
Through our treatments, we have been able to successfully get hundreds of patients off of prescription statin drugs and lower cholesterol levels with natural therapies.