Q: I was told by a friend who works at the hospital that he took cinnamon capsules to lower cholesterol, and it worked. I have taken one 1000 mg capsule with chromium per day for about nine months and my cholesterol went from 225 to 190. I don’t have the breakdown but it has improved greatly with no side effects. I would like your opinion on this.
A: A number of years ago when the first Dr. Gott Compelling Home Remedies Health Report was published, it contained tips for lowering cholesterol with cinnamon. Other known dietary possibilities to lower levels include garlic, barley, artichokes, and oat bran.
Cholesterol is a substance found in literally every cell of the human body. Its purpose is to build healthy cells and some vital hormones. When a person has high cholesterol levels, this implies he or she has fatty deposits referred to as plaque in the blood vessels. These deposits may make it more difficult for blood to flow through the arteries, resulting in the heart failing to receive the amount of oxygen-rich blood it requires. Those individuals with a higher risk of development include smokers, individuals with a family history of heart disease, obesity, having a diagnosis of diabetes, and being on a consistent poor diet. Foods such as red meats, full-fat dairy products, fried foods, saturated fats found in many fast foods and snack products contribute to elevated cholesterol readings.
High cholesterol levels can be inherited or result of a sedentary lifestyle; however, they can also be the result of poor dietary choices, making the condition known as hypercholesterolemia preventable in many cases. There are initial steps a person can take to reduce bad readings while increasing good cholesterol ones and the place to begin is at home. Read labels before consuming food items. If they contain saturated fats or trans fats, put them back. Avoid cookies that contain tropical oils. Modify snacks to include raw vegetables such as red and green peppers, carrot sticks, raw broccoli, and raw yellow or wax beans dipped in a low-cal dressing. Choose whole grain breads, brown rice and fish such as halibut, tuna, salmon, mackerel or cod. Consider an over-the-counter omega-3 fatty acid supplement to help lower your triglycerides. Discontinue smoking, if appropriate.
Speak with your physician for his or her approval regarding exercise. I do not know your medical history so will not recommend you begin with a two-mile run! Seriously, get the okay and begin slowly. Walk briskly around the block when you get the go-ahead. Park a distance away from your entrance at work instead of finding how close you can get to avoid the exercise involved. Take the stairs at work instead of the elevator.
In 2006 a clinical study published by the European Journal of Clinical Investigation determined that cinnamon MIGHT lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Even the Mayo Clinic agrees that up to six grams of cinnamon daily MIGHT affect the way the body processes sugars and fats, but goes on to indicate there is little in the way of clinical evidence to support the cholesterol lowering theory. So, what we must consider here is that if you try niacin, cinnamon, artichokes, other natural foods, or anything else, you are now consciously aware of the high levels in your blood and are taking steps to make better choices. This may be why your cholesterol numbers are better. I must admit there are some individuals who do not change anything in their diets other than adding the spice and experience positive results from cinnamon. If you are one of them, lucky you. As you are likely aware, medication is not always the best approach. Statins can have unwanted side effects and they are expensive to boot unless you go with a generic form or deal with a large chain that offers drugs for around $4 a month. So keep up the good work and thank you for sharing your success story. Hopefully other readers will follow along and will also experience good results.
Readers who would like related information can order Dr. Gott’s Health Report “Understanding Cholesterol” by sending a self-addressed, stamped number 10 envelope and a $2 US check or money order to Peter H. Gott Health Report, PO Box 433, Lakeville, CT 06039. Be sure to mention the title or print an order form from www.AskDrGottMD.com.