One of the most prominent health concerns in America today is high cholesterol. Much of the public understands high cholesterol and high triglycerides as being a cardiovascular disorder, or a health concern due to heart and blood vessel troubles. In fact, this is actually a disorder of the body’s ability to properly breakdown and digest, or metabolize, lipoproteins (chains of fat and protein molecules).
These lipoproteins in the form of cholesterol, and/or triglycerides, accumulate in the blood and this greatly increases one’s risk of cardiovascular disease.
Western medicine focuses on treating the symptom of high cholesterol to prevent cardiovascular disorders from occurring but rarely does it focus on the root causes which allow the cholesterol to build up in the first place: The weak metabolic functioning of the body, the poor diet, and the unhealthy lifestyle of the patient. Rather it relies on statin medications which have a very high propensity for severe side effects while acupuncture and Chinese medicine offers the same benefit without the influences of statin medications and therefore without the potent side effects.
Lifestyle and nutritional/dietary changes can greatly reduce one’s cholesterol for they can increase how one’s body breaks down the cholesterol itself and limits the intake of cholesterol inducing foods.
If one suffers from high cholesterol or high triglycerides they can: Increase consumption of foods low in cholesterol such as fresh cold water fish, apples, bananas, carrots, garlic (this is a great one to increase for it is very beneficial for this purpose), olive oil, grape fruits (do not take if you are on statin medications), and oats and bran. Also, increase intake of niacin for it alone can decrease cholesterol levels (see your supplement practitioner prior to beginning this), Co-Q10, quality EPA-DHA omega 3 fish oils, vitamins B5, C, E, along with chromium picolinate, and lecithin are great additions into one’s diet.
One must also decrease the harmful cholesterol influencing foods such as tobacco products, sugar, greasy/fried foods, wine, beer, cheese, and red meats. Along with these suggestions, the National Institute of Health recommends taking 2 grams of plant sterols (phytosterols) per day to combat cholesterol. The plant sterols aid in the body’s reabsorption of cholesterol into the large intestine for elimination from the body.
In regards to lifestyle advice, one must exercise regularly to decrease the cholesterol within the blood vessels. Instead of grabbing a high sugar drink such as a soda; drink oolong, black, or green tea in its place for they help the body metabolize consumed fats. This is especially effective when drinking the teas after a meal.
In addition, acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulations are used in the treatment of cholesterol and high triglycerides for these medicines focus on the patient’s underlying weaknesses along with the symptom of high cholesterol and its influences of high blood pressure, etc. Acupuncture focuses on the underlying weakness in particular while the Chinese herbal formulations have been proven to effectively target the high cholesterol levels. Within 2 to 3 months of treatment with both acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulations, patients should start to see their cholesterol levels decrease.
With a change in diet and lifestyle, along with the proper application of acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulations, one will have the health benefiting tools at their disposal to lower their cholesterol and triglycerides and avoid the cardiovascular complications which result from such conditions.
Dr. Jon Hagenburg, DA
Rhode Island Acupuncture and Complementary Health Center.com