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Doctors all over the world are keen to lower cholesterol. Some have proposed adding statins, like fluoride, to municipal water supplies. Statin treatment for all, however, would be extremely expensive. Plant foods are a better way.

Doctors in Russia have proposed a real solution to the worldwide problem of high cholesterol. In the modern world, nearly everyone has health or diet issues that call for reducing total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. Statin drugs for billions of people are simply too expensive. A workable solution for the problem of high cholesterol may be a functional food, or a food that can be used as a medicine.

Why Are Doctors So Keen To Lower Cholesterol?

The leading cause of death in most of the world is heart disease, caused by clogged and dysfunctional arteries wrecked by atherosclerosis. About one in four people dies of heart disease. Nearly 100 percent of people, however, have "subclinical" atherosclerosis by the age of 40. Their arteries are occluded but they do not yet display the symptoms of heart disease or other vascular problems that would spur them to go to their doctors and get treatment.

Medical researchers are working on treatments for atherosclerosis, but currently none exist. There is only prevention, and the only prevention that is readily available for most people is medication to lower cholesterol. 

For lowering cholesterol, statins have definite advantages. Most statin drugs (except pravastatin, which is sold under the trade name Pravachol in the Western world) are very effective. They produce dramatic lowering of total and "bad" (LDL) cholesterol levels. They can produce side effects, but only in a few people, and side effects typically go away when a more appropriate statin drug is prescribed. For instance, rosuvastatin (Crestor) is simply too strong from some people. It makes them "loopy." It can cause fatigue. However, the undesirable side effects generally disappear when rosuvastatin is replaced by atorvastatin (Lipitor).

The problem with statin drugs is that they can be quite expensive. Four of the generic statin drugs, atorvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, and simvastatin, are widely available at a discounted price, as low as $4 a month in the US, and no more than $35 a month in most other countries. The brand-name statin drugs, however, can cost up to $250 a month. If you don't have an insurance plan to pay for them, chances are you will tend to skip doses, especially if you have merely "subclinical" atherosclerosis, with no symptoms yet. In a large part of the world where heart disease is a problem, even $35 a month (in poor countries there usually aren't programs for cheap generic drugs) can be too much of a financial burden. What is needed is an even more inexpensive natural medicine.

A New, Cellular Model Of Atherogenesis

To sort through the thousands of potential herbs and foods for treating hardening of the arteries, Russian scientists working at the Moscow State University, the Ogaryov Mordovian State University, the Skolkovo Innovation Center, and two research centers in Australia have developed a "cell-centered" screening method. This method screens plants for chemicals that stop some part of the process of atherosclerosis. To satisfy doctors around the world, these chemicals need to lower cholesterol. Doctors use lower cholesterol as a measurement of protection. 
 
However, the plant chemical should also directly attack cholesterol deposits, perhaps even reversing hardening of the arteries once it has occurred. Such an plant chemical has been discovered by the Russian investigators.
Continue reading after recommendations

  • Orekhov AN, Sobenin IA, Revin VV, Bobryshev YV.Development of Antiatherosclerotic Drugs on the basis of Natural Products Using Cell Model Approach. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2015
  • 2015:463797. doi: 10.1155/2015/463797. Epub 2015 Jun 9.
  • Photo courtesy of mdid: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mdid/199386734
  • Photo courtesy of navin75 https://www.flickr.com/photos/navin75/169945568/