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Nutrition & Healing - High Triglycerides

By Dr. Jonathan V. Wright

If you have high triglycerides, you may have high cholesterol, too. Many diet changes and supplements that lower triglycerides also lower cholesterol, but here we'll focus on the triglycerides.

The most important dietary changes are the elimination of sugar, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, and even fruit juices. All of these contribute to high triglycerides. For general good health, it's just as well to eliminate the first three anyway, and if triglycerides remain a bit high, the fruit juice may need to go, too.

Adding garlic to your diet can also help to bring down triglyceride levels. If you like, or at least don't mind, include it with what you eat regularly. If you don't care for the taste of garlic, pure garlic oil in capsules, 25 to 50 milligrams daily, or garlic powder in capsules, 1 to 2 grams daily, can also help lower triglycerides.

Niacin (one form of vitamin B3) brings down serum triglycerides. Many medical doctors prescribe up to 1000 milligrams, three times daily, but since high doses of niacin can cause a considerable "flush" and on rare occasions, liver problems, it's wisest not to use higher quantities of niacin unless you're working with a doctor skilled and knowledgeable in nutritional therapy. Ordinarily, I recommend no more than 300 to 500 milligrams of niacin daily in combination with other nutrients, and herbal treatments. Remember, a key difference between nutrient therapy and drug therapy is that many nutrients working together almost always do a better job than just one or two, just like in food, while drugs are usually best used singly or in minimal numbers, since the more drugs we use, the more risk of adverse drug interactions there are.

I usually recommend flax oil, 1 tablespoon daily, as an aid in triglyceride control. Flax oil is also available in 1000 milligram capsules; 5 make a tablespoon.

L-carnitene, a non-essential amino acid, can help lower triglycerides in quantities of 250 milligrams, three times daily.

Herbal remedies can lower triglycerides, too. Defatted Fenugreek- [fen-u-greek] seed, three tablespoons daily, can be very helpful. It can be used by itself, or mixed in with other foods such as oatmeal.

Gamma-orzanol is extracted from rice bran, and often used by weight lifters and body-builders, 200 to 300 milligrams daily is frequently enough to help lower serum triglycerides.

An herbal remedy from India, guggulipid [goo-hp-id], lowers both triglyceride and cholesterol. I usually recommend 1 to 2 grams daily.

All of the specific triglyceride-lowering supplements, garlic, niacin, flax oil, L-carnitine, fenugreek, gamma-oryzanol, and guggulipid, help lower cholesterol levels, too. As they're all nutrients it's best to rely on smaller quantities of a combination of these items, rather than using one singly, like a drug. Capsules containing a majority of these items in a single formula are still hard to find in natural food stores, but may be increasingly simple to locate over the next few years,

Since high triglycerides are a "risk factor" for heart disease, its also wisest to use vitamin E, 400 to 800 units daily, and vitamin C, 1000 rnilligrams, twice daily, to cut down heart attack risk.

It's also wise to use a good general multiple vitamin-mineral supplement whenever individual nutrients are being taken.

"Mainstream" medical treatment for high triglycerides might be a drug, or in some cases larger doses of niacin.

Because of differences in age, sex, Metabolic or potential allergy, these diet and supplement therapies may not be suitable for you. Consult a health care professional skilled in nutritional and natural therapies. To locate one near you, you might call the American College of Advancement in Medicine at 800-532-3688 or the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians at 206-323-7610.


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