A recent issue of The Medical Letter (Volume 55, Issue 1415, April 29, 2013, page 33) carried an article on new advances in the treatment of severe hypertriglyceridemia. Here is the link, but you will need a subscription to be able to read the main article: http://secure.medicalletter.org/TML-article-1415a
There is an equally important non-pharmaceutical treatment option that has come to my attention. In this article it will be discussed as well.
Triglyceride levels are stratified into three groups:
- mildly elevated (150-200 mg/dL)
- moderately elevated (200-500 mg/dL)
- severely elevated (above 500 mg/dL)
The greatest risk to health posed by hypertriglyceridemia, according to studies, is of developing pancreatitis when levels are above 1000 mg/dL. There are also few studies that demonstrate lowering triglyceride levels in a controlled manner statistically decreases the pancreatitis risk. In other words, high triglyceride level in the blood can cause pancreatitis, but lowering levels may not decrease the risk.
In medicine, there is concern about elevated triglyceride levels and risk of a heart attack. This risk may be due to the structure of some of the carrying proteins that combine with the triglycerides in the blood. That lowering triglyceride levels in the blood decreased cardiac risk is unclear. However most people in medicine consider severely elevated triglyceride levels to be a risk to the heart.
Treatment options include:
- Fibrates (an example is fenofibrate)--these can lower levels 30-50%
- Niacin --can lower levels 10-50%
- Omega 3 Polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFAs) --can lower levels by 20-50% (fasting)
- Lovaza and Vascepa are both PUFA's. They are taken twice a day and cost about two hundred dollars a month. Side effects are similar to fish oil--bad taste, gas with fishy eructation (burping), and very high levels can inhibit platelet aggregation and lead to bleeding.
So what is the non-drug option?
One woman I know, a long-time vegan, came back from vacation in France with triglyceridemia over 1000 mg/dL. Her doctor wanted to treat her with medication. She was concerned and consulted someone she trusts, who gave her this advice and she followed it:
She ate exclusively RAW vegan for thirty days, three meals a day, and brought her levels down to 100, where they remain today.
After thirty days, she went back to her regular vegan diet.
No medication was required. At any time.
Dr. Richard Shulze, well-known naturopath on the internet, had both of his parents die of heart disease in their fifties. His father died in his arms because they were snowed-in when he had his heart attack, and medical help was not available. Richard was diagnosed with hereditary, incurable heart disease-a cardiomyopathy I think--and given only two years to live as a teenager. He was orphaned at fourteen, and given the 'death sentence' not much later. Instead Richard sought the help of naturopaths around the world, trained with them, and cured his heart. His technique with others was, 'you are sentenced to die anyway. Let's get the most aggressive treatment going--what have you got to lose?' He is a little 'out there' in his marketing, but I take his super green powder every morning, and it makes a difference in my energy throughout the day. I like him. You will either love him or hate him, but here is the link to his website so you have the chance to see for yourself: https://www.herbdoc.com/index.php/?c=1
Someone is going to have to take note of the non-drug options in conventional medicine. Medicine can only moved forward once all options are equally considered in the medical literature. The only concern is that traditionally, all funding for studies comes directly from the big pharmaceutical companies, and a little from the government. The drug companies are in business, and need to pay for the research costs that were paid up-front to develop these new drugs.
Something needs to change, I am not sure exactly how or what. But as a consumer and patient, you should know you have options.
A reasonable approach would be to set time limits, like with my friend, one month to get her triglycerides down before starting medication, according to her doctor. Try it and see, but be sure to test, and what isn't working should be abandoned and something else that might work next should be tried.
Last night, my kid with the allergies and sinus condition the allergist says 'isn't really' but couldn't breathe all day after being all weekend at dad's with the dogs--he agreed to try the raw turmeric 'smoothie' to open his nose. He slept well all night. We'll see how he is in the morning. I might be on to something! It certainly worked for me. The strong anti-inflammatory effect of the Turmeric is decreasing the swelling of the nasal mucosa, and allowing the tiny ostia ('holes') of the sinuses to open again like normal, to permit free drainage of the sinus cavity again.