The dangerous fat, hidden for decades
It’s like a dramatic turning point in a science fiction movie. Scientists suddenly realize that the giant robots aren’t trying to kill us — it’s the giant spiders we should have been worried about all along.
That was the general reaction to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine. According to headlines, medical mainstreamers were shocked (shocked!) to discover that triglyceride fats are more dangerous to your heart than cholesterol.
So why was cholesterol cast as the villain instead of triglycerides all those years ago? Pretty simple: There were no triglyceride-lowering patent drugs on the market. If there had been, “triglyceride” would have become the household word instead of “cholesterol.”
In recent years, Lipitor and Crestor have been shown to have some small effect on triglycerides. But it’s a classic case of too little too late. At this point we know all about statin drugs and their monstrous side effects.
Even so, the drug industry just might catch up. In fact, it looks like this new study is geared toward what they call “guiding the selection of therapeutic targets.” In other words: Let’s cook up some drugs!
No doubt, they’ll give it a go. After all, drug companies are desperate for another mammoth blockbuster to fill the money bins the way statin drugs did for about 20 years.
Ah but fool us once, shame on them. Fool us twice? I don’t think so. That’s because Dr. Wright and others have been putting the word out for years: You don’t need a drug to protect yourself from the enormous dangers of triglycerides. You just need to do a couple of things right.
Here’s how it works: Your body converts calories it doesn’t use into triglycerides, then stores them in fat cells. So when excess calorie intake is combined with a low level of physical activity — then multiplied by days and years — well, that’s a health train wreck, pure and simple. And not only does it put your heart at risk, it also puts terrible stress on your liver, laying the groundwork for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that the triglyceride train wreck can be turned around. And apparently it’s easier than lowering cholesterol.
The first step, of course, is to cut back on calories — especially from foods with added sugars, and any source of simple carbs, like potatoes and corn. And the next step is just as obvious: get off the couch and get some exercise. You don’t have to run a marathon or even join a gym. Just put those calories to work so they don’t have a chance to convert to triglycerides.
After those two steps, a few supplements come riding to the rescue.
You might already be taking niacin (a form of vitamin B3) to reduce cholesterol. If so, don’t change a thing. As I mentioned in an e-Tip last year, research shows that niacin also boosts HDL, and in at least one study cut triglycerides in HALF!
And if you’re also taking omega-3 supplements along with vitamin E (as mixed tocopherols) for heart health, again you’re on the right track. Both have been shown to help drive down triglycerides.
And finally there’s berberine, a component of several herbs used by Chinese healers for centuries. As Dr. Wright has often noted, berberine helps control blood sugar, while also driving down cholesterol AND triglyceride levels. You can read more details at this link.
When the mainstream finally catches up and starts beating the drums about triglycerides, you’ll be way ahead of the curve on that one.
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