If you are over the age of 40 chances are that your doctor will suggest cholesterol-lowering statin drugs as a first line of defence against cardiovascular disease — irrespective of whether you have any risk factors or not.
That’s because these side effect-ridden drugs are still being touted by the mainstream as the only sure-fire way to protect your heart by lowering your cholesterol to ridiculously low levels.
If you are a regular reader of The Daily Health you’ll know that we’ve written on this topic for the past decade. And in recent years, there is mounting evidence disproving the mainstream’s belief that cholesterol is enemy number one.
In addition to that, more and more medical experts have been stepping forward saying that the so-called benefits of statin drugs have been over-sold by the mainstream and its cronies. That’s because these drugs have been linked to distressing side effects including memory loss, depression, kidney failure, liver failure, muscle pain, fatigue and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Of course, we’re not saying that high cholesterol levels don’t affect the heart health of some individuals — especially those suffering with a hereditary condition called hypercholesterolemia. Instead, what we have always said is that it is all about maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and keeping inflammation, blood pressure, triglycerides and homocysteine levels in check.
Now, the results of a recent study, published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine, show that you can have healthy cholesterol levels without taking statin drugs.
For the research, 112 people with raised blood-fat levels (including cholesterol and triglycerides) were randomly assigned to one of four groups: The first group received a combination of 20 grams of garlic and one tablespoon of lemon juice per day; the second group received only 20 grams of fresh garlic per day; the third group received 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per day; and the final group did not receive any intervention.
After eight weeks, the researchers found that the combined garlic and lemon juice group experienced a “significant reduction in total cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol, and fibrinogen”, compared with the other groups. Fibrinogen is a certain type of protein that speeds up the formation of blood clots.
In addition, greater reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure were also observed for the combination and garlic only groups, compared with the other two groups. The researchers also detected a greater reduction in the Body Mass Index (BMI) of the mixed group, compared with the lemon juice, garlic only and control groups.
Commenting on the findings the researchers said: “A combination of garlic and lemon juice resulted in an improvement in lipid [blood-fat] levels and blood pressure of people with hyperlipidaemia [raised blood-fat]. Further studies to determine the appropriate doses of garlic and lemon juice for these patients are warranted.”
As for those blood pressure benefits mentioned earlier, a previous meta-analysis of 7 randomised controlled trials also found that garlic supplements could help reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 6.71 mmHg and 4.79 mmHg, respectively.
Compared to the side effects associated with statin drugs, garlic and lemon juice certainly sounds like the better option when it comes to protecting your heart… and by the sound of it, keeping your weight in check and your blood pressure levels down too.
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International Journal of Preventive Medicine 2016; 7: 95. doi: 10.4103/2008-7802.187248
Phytomedicine, Vol 22, pp. 352–361