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Using Guggulipid to Manage Cholesterol and Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in America. Each year over a million people die from heart attacks, and half a million more are killed by heart disease. Keeping your heart healthy is an important priority for people of all ages, and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is central to your cardiovascular well-being.

What is High Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a thick, waxy substance that can accumulate in the arteries, hardening the walls and blocking the normal flow of blood. The plaque formed by cholesterol can break off and block narrowed arteries, causing a stroke or heart attack. The type of cholesterol responsible for blocking arteries is called LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, and is also known as “bad cholesterol”. This is the type of cholesterol referred to when doctors discuss the dangers of high cholesterol, because elevated levels of LDL place a patient at increased risk of developing heart disease. Triglycerides are also a problem, because they can contribute to atherosclerosis and high cholesterol.

Although many people know that high cholesterol is dangerous, there is one type that is beneficial in the body, and doctors aim to keep patient’s levels of this cholesterol high. HDL, or high-density lipoprotein, is often called “good cholesterol” because it can break down LDL and clear it from the bloodstream. Both HDL and LDL cholesterols are influenced by a number of factors.

What Determines Cholesterol Levels?

A number of circumstances and conditions influence cholesterol levels. Some risk factors cannot be changed. These include:

  • Age – Cholesterol levels rise as men and women get older.

  • Gender – Women tend to have healthier levels of cholesterol and lower incidence of heart disease than men of the same age, but women’s cholesterol levels often rise after menopause.

  • Heredity – Some people have a genetic predisposition towards high cholesterol and heart disease. If these conditions run in your family, it is important to know the lifestyle factors that can decrease your chances of developing heart disease.

Many lifestyle habits can increase or decrease a person’s risk of high cholesterol. Good habits can be preventative, and changes in habits can lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol even once a problem has begun. Important lifestyle factors include:

  • Diet – A diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which is found in liver, egg yolks and full-fat dairy products, may increase a person’s risk of developing heart disease. Reducing saturated fat and cholesterol intake and increasing fiber consumption may lower bad cholesterol levels.

  • Weight – Excess weight can increase a person’s cholesterol levels and is another risk factor for heart disease. Losing weight can lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while raising HDL levels.

  • Exercise – A sedentary lifestyle can lead to a number of health problems, including high cholesterol and heart disease. Regular exercise can impact both forms of cholesterol, lowering levels of LDL while raising HDL. It can also impact weight, which is another risk factor. Doctors recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity each day.

  • Smoking and Tobacco Use – Smoking cigarettes and using tobacco can increase a person’s risk of developing high cholesterol. Quitting can decrease the risk.

  • Medical Conditions – Diabetes is a strong risk factor for high cholesterol. Other medical conditions and medications may also increase a person’s risk of developing the disease. Managing conditions such as diabetes may keep cholesterol levels in check.

Medication and Supplements for High Cholesterol

Although maintaining healthy habits can decrease your risk of developing high cholesterol, it is still important to have your levels checked regularly. Many people, especially those with genetic risk factors, will develop heart disease despite their lifestyle habits. Doctors may prescribe statins, nicotinic acid, bile acid sequestrants, fibric acids or cholesterol absorption inhibitors to treat high cholesterol, but these medications can have unpleasant and even dangerous side effects. Many patients prefer to manage their cholesterol through a combination of lifestyle improvements and natural supplements. One popular option for cholesterol management is guggulipid, which may be sold on its own or as part of a heart-healthy compound.

What is Guggulipid?

In India, guggulipid has been important in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for over 2,500 years. It has been used to treat ulcers, obesity, epilepsy, rheumatoid arthritis and atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Guggul is extracted from the resin of the Commiphora mukul, or mukul myrrh tree. This extract contains guggulsterones, which are the active agent in supplements containing guggulipid. Guggulipid is a popular supplement for many reasons.

  • It can inhibit cholesterol synthesis in the liver. Guggulsterones antagonizing the bile-acid and farsenoid X receptors. When activated these compounds may reduce the amount of cholesterol created by the liver, striking heart disease at the source.

  • Data suggests that guggulipid is most effective when used in combination with a low-fat diet and adequate exercise. These healthy habits not only contribute to increased cardiovascular health in their own right, but are also thought to maximize the effects of guggulipid in the body.

  • While guggulipid is currently available only in supplement form in the United States, it has been approved for medical use in India for many years.

  • Many supplements combine guggulipid with another heart-healthy product such as panthetine, polycosanol or red yeast rice to maximize cardiovascular function. In combination with a diet, exercise and other lifestyle factors, these supplements can increase HDL “good” cholesterol levels while lowering LDL “bad “ cholesterol and triglycerides. These supplements may also help with weight management, which is an important factor in preventing heart disease.

Men and women seeking to maintain healthy cholesterol levels often use guggulipid supplements to decrease the amount of cholesterol produced by the liver and protect the heart and arteries. Heart disease is a dangerous killer, but diet, exercise and heart healthy supplements can contribute to cardiovascular fitness and a long, healthy life.