The Ultimate Solutions to Heart Disease, Stroke and Alzheimers, part 3 – Niacin & CoQ10
Alternatives for Red Yeast Rice
Additional supplements may also be beneficial for those taking a statin drug. Chief among these are the plant sterols and stanols, which prevent the body’s absorption of the cholesterol found in food. These substances are structurally almost, but not quite, identical to cholesterol. They are very poorly absorbed through the intestines, and interact with “regular” cholesterol in a way that also blocks its absorption. Afterwards, they simply pass out of the body in bowel movements. Two commercially available margarines, Benecol (a plant sterol) and Take Control (a stanol), may lower LDL cholesterol levels as much as 10% to 14%. Basikol, a vanilla-flavored powder sold in health-food stores, is a plant sterol, and if used according to package instructions (2 scoops daily), should provide a 14% drop in cholesterol.
The B vitamin niacin has been used as a cholesterol-lowering agent for decades. In fact, niacin is the only therapy that positively affects virtually all cholesterol abnormalities. Niacin will lower total and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, raise HDL cholesterol, and lower lipoprotein (a) [Lp(a)], another blood fat associated with heart disease. And, of course, consider policosanol, which is now appearing among cholesterol-control supplements from several different manufacturers under a variety of brand names.
Other Heart-Healthy Supplements
Certain nutritional supplements should also be included in any program designed to protect your heart. One of the most important is coenzyme Q10, a cell-protecting antioxidant normally produced in the heart and other tissues. “Statins can deplete CoQ10 levels,” warns David Edelberg, M.D., WHMD Advisor’s chief medical consultant. “And low levels of this nutrient can damage the heart, especially if you already have heart disease.”
In addition, those concerned about high cholesterol can benefit from the antioxidant vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin E, which together help to prevent the “bad” (LDL) cholesterol from converting to a form that can clog arteries. An herbal supplement to consider is milk thistle, which protects the liver from damage caused by various chemicals, including possible toxicity induced by statin drugs or red yeast extracts.
Suggested dose for red yeast rice substitutes:
Policosanol: 10 mg, once or twice a day with food; plant sterols: 800 mg a day (2 scoops) Basikol powder, with food. In addition, to help lower cholesterol take coenzyme Q10 (50 mg twice a day),slow release Niacin 500 mg two or three times a day), vitamin E (400 IU a day), and vitamin C (500 mg a day). Add milk thistle (150 mg twice a day) if you’re concerned a bout liver problems. Be sure to consult with your doctor before you start on Niacin.
THIS JUST IN (02/02/2007)
It has been suspected that Policosanol made from rice reduces the stickeyness of blood platelets. (Plavix is prescribed for this) The New England Journal of Medicine has announced the results of a study to confirm this effect. I now take 3 of the 10mg a day.
It is now clear that statins are highly effective in preventing heart attacks and strokes among individuals at increased risk. Researchers recently reported the preliminary results of the Heart Pro¬tection Study (BPS), which examined the effects of long-term therapy with simvastatin (Zocor) in more than 20,500 people. The findings showed that statin therapy reduced the incidence of heart attacks and strokes by about one third. Statins were effective with those with existing heart disease as well as in those with diabetes, peripheral arterial dis¬ease, or a history of stroke. Even peo¬ple with pretreatment cholesterol levels within the normal range benefited, indi¬cating that lowering cholesterol below current target levels may offer addi¬tional protection.
One finding that suggests statins may work in multiple ways is the rapidity with which statin therapy reduces heart attack risk. The question thus arises: What effects of statins, other than their effect on cholesterol, might account for this observation? One pos¬sibility is that statins quell inflamma¬tion. A recent review in Circulation describes the critical role that inflam¬mation plays in coronary heart disease (CHD). More than a dozen studies have shown that baseline levels of the C-¬reactive protein (CRP), a marker of chronic inflammation, can predict the future risk of heart attack. Inflamma¬tion appears to render fatty plaques in the coronary arteries more vulnerable to rupture, blood clot formation, and heart attack. Statins apparently short-circuit this process by curbing the havoc wreaked by inflammation, an action that seems to be independent of their effects on cholesterol because statins counter the destabilizing effect of inflammation. All of the various statin drugs carry with them a substantial risk of liver and mussel problems. You should have you liver enzymes tested a regular intervals. A product that appears to have no side effects on liver or mussel tissue is one used by the Chinese for the past 1800 years, called Red Yeast Rice.
The statin group of drugs were developed from extracting and synthesizing one of the active ingredients in Chinese Red Yeast Rice, a by product of making rice wine. This product was sold by many supplement stores including major drug and department stores until the FDA declared it a drug and the stores had to take it off the shelves. The condiment version is the only one allowed to be sold in the United States. It contains the same cholesterol lowering benefit as the standardized version sold in the rest of the world except there is only a fraction of the active ingredient in it. It has been found that 20mg per day of the standardized Red Yeast Rice reduced cholesterol by over 34% in 87% of the test patients.
Much of the problem with heart disease lies with arteries that are 30% to 40% blocked. These are the silent killers. Many become restricted because of inflammation of the artery lining, which causes breakdown of tissue and build up of contaminants including fatty deposits. They are the ones that doctors are most concerned with. You can get a C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test on your next blood test for a fairly accurate prediction of future heart attack. Readings should be below 4; but preferably around 1 or 2. Fortunately Homocysteine can be controlled by taking 100mg of B6, 400mcg Folic Acid and 500mcg B12 each day. To lower inflammation which causes soft plaque to rupture and cause heart attacks, you need to take 40mg per day of Chinese Red Yeast Rice until you clear up the arteries. Then maintenance dose of 10mg per day. To prevent platelets from sticking, you need 20mg per day of Policosanol. To provide heart attack protection take 100mg per day of CoQ10 because the Red Yeast Rice or a statin drug will restrict 60mg production in the liver each day and it vital to a healthy heart.
Usually we turn our attention to the arteries that are 80% to 90% blocked because they are the ones that are obvious; however the lower percentage blocked arteries can have cracking in the lining, which in turn leads to blood clots and further damage. Therefore the goal is to lessen the irritation of the blood vessel lining. Statin drugs and RYR do a good job of lessening the irritation. (otherwise known as inflammation). For many years it was believed that a gradual build-up of fatty deposits lead to the narrowing of an artery supplying blood to the heart, causing the state of oxygen deprivation that characterizes an attack. While that certainly causes some attacks, it turns out that a more insidious type of deposit is the major cause of heart attacks. “Ninety percent plus of heart attacks are not occurring at the tightest blockage that a person has in their anatomy,” explains Dr. Richard Page, head of the division of cardiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. “The great majority are due to vulnerable plaque.” So-called vulnerable plaque, also known as unstable plaque, is a fatty deposit that triggers inflammatory responses in the body, which in turn attracts immune cells. These immune cells, acting in the body’s defense, eat through and weaken the deposits, which can lead them to burst or rupture, suddenly blocking the flow of blood through the artery. What was once a relatively minor blockage that did not cause any symptoms such as chest pain or even show up on clinical examination can quickly become lethal.
Research done over the last 20 years has proven as much as 40% of heart attacks and strokes are a result of high levels of Homocysteine in the body. The AMA and N.E. Medical Journal now agree with this research. Apparently this problem is hereditary. The liver excretes Homocysteine and in normal bodies it is broken down and assimilated. In others it is not broken down and attacks the lining of the blood vessels which leads to coronary heart disease. The good new is that it can be remedied by taking high potency vitamin with Folic Acid, B6 and B12 at prescribed levels once a day. Normal levels of Homocysteine should be between 4.9 and 11.7 micrograms per liter of blood.
Because the statin drugs can provide both a reduction in vessel lining irritation and cholesterol production in the liver, it serves very well except for the liver damage it causes. The Red Yeast Rice however provides these benefits without liver damage.
The Statins came about when research on Red Yeast Rice produced a statin called Lovastatin which was approved by the FDA for clinical reduction of potentially harmful cholesterol. Merck, the company that chemically synthesized it, named this drug Mevacor. The key point here is that the drug used only one of the “statins” while the naturally occurring supplement contains many. The use of the natural product produces no side effects in long term use. If you are taking the commercial statin drug, do not take Red Yeast Rice also. Ask your doctor before you switch. Statins and RYR inhibit coenzyme C0Q10 so it is recommended that you take daily supplement of 60 mg. CoQ10 is vital to a healthy heart and cost about 45 cents each. A side effect of CoQ10 is softer skin and you will find it available in face creams because it bathes the epidermis.
CoQ10 has a nice side effect. It bathes the epidermal (the under layer of the skin) and keeps it soft and smoothes out some wrinkles. It is found in expensive body creams for women, so buy a cheep bottle of lotion and dissolve 2 CoQ10 pills in it and use it after your shower.
Niacin appears to be superior to “statin” drugs as a lipid lowering agent.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
Niacin is an essential B vitamin. Lack of Niacin causes the disease, Pellagra. Large doses are used in treating hypercholesterolemia (high blood cholesterol) as it lowers bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol. It works particularly well with Chromium. Niacin also lowers triglycerides. The Coronary Drug Project demonstrated that Niacin is the only lipid lowering agent that actually reduced overall mortality. It appears to be superior to the “statin” drugs. Be sure your product contains Nicotinic acid. Many No-Flush do not.
A head to head comparison with the popular prescription drug, Lovastatin (Mevacor™) showed the following results in percentages:
Group Week 10 Week 18 Week 26
LDL Cholesterol reduction
Lovastatin 26 28 32
Niacin 5 16 23
HDL Cholesterol increase
Lovastatin 6 8 7
Niacin 2 29 33
Lp(A) Lipoprotein reduction
Lovastatin 0 0 0
Niacin 14 30 35
Niacin was the old original treatment for high Cholesterol!
It was thought that the results would be even more impressive except that the subjects could not tolerate the itching that comes with a full niacin dose so the dose was reduced from its most effective level. Slow release Niacin does not have as much of this problem.
Niacin has also been shown to enhance memory. In one study, subjects performed 10 to 20% better on memory tests after taking 420 mg of Niacin.
Large doses of Niacin have been used by orthomolecular physicians to treat chizophrenia.
Niacin has also been shown to be effective in Raynaud’s disease and Intermittent claudication. Claudication (pain in lower legs and calf’s) is an indication of clogged heart arteries.
Slow Release Niacin is superior to ordinary niacin as it does not cause the usual niacin side effects such as flushing, itching, heat and redness in the skin. If a physician has prescribed Niacin, it might be advisable to discuss changing to Slow Release Niacin.
None known. Large doses of any form of Niacin should be taken under the supervision of a physician and monitoring liver enzymes. Extract should not be taken with LARGE amounts of niacin (2 grams or more/day) but small amounts of niacin will also help lower your cholesterol, and folate is desirable to help protect against buildup of homocystiene. Homocystiene levels have been shown to play an even more important roll in preventing heart problems. It should be keep between 5.0 and 15.0 MMOL /L.
CoQ10 and Claudication
Numerous research has proven that high concentrations of CoQ10 in the heart muscles significantly improve chances of avoiding heart attacks, heart failure, or serious rhythm abnormalities. Research over the past 30 years has shown that this nutrient protects the heart, helps prevent heart disease and helps repair the heart after an attack. If you research CoQ10 on the Internet, you can find many references to recommending it. A secondary effect of CoQ10 is softer skin. It bathes the epidermis and helps prevent wrinkles. You will find it a number of skin lotions for women.
My note: These creams are costly (Rite Aid has 12oz for $12.00) I dissolve a few CoQ10 caps into a $2.00 bottle of lotion, then I know how much CoQ10 is in there..
Back in 1969, a study revealed that doses as low as 100 mg per day dramatically increased the survival rate of patients with heart disease. The survival rate of seriously ill, CoQ10 treated patients was 62 % compared with the average survival rate of 25%.
In a landmark case in 1985, Dr. K. Folkers treated 12 patients who had not improved with the standard treatment of digitalis and water pills. Two thirds of the patients showed remarkable improvement on just 100 mg of CoQ10 per day for 30 days. When treatment was stopped, all of the patient’s health rapidly declined. They experienced liver congestion, shortness of breath, increased heart rate, swelling of the ankles and over-all complained of “feeling lousy”. When the daily dose was resumed, their symptoms declined.
Coenzyme Q10 ( CoQ10 )
January 6, 2007
Sometimes called Vitamin Q, this enzyme is produced by the liver and is vital to a healthy heart. The “Statin” drugs as well as “Mevacor”, the active ingredient in Statin drugs, found in Red Yeast Rice, reduces the amount of CoQ10 the liver produces. It is recommended that the doctors who prescribe Statin drugs, suggest 60mg per day of the CoQ10 to replace the lost amount. CoQ10 has no known side effects except one, it makes the skin softer, which should please the women. This enzyme increases the suppleness of the skin’s epidermis (under layer).