Have you been told you have high cholesterol? Time to give up the burgers, fries and all the other less-than-healthy foods you crave and start exercising, possibly with the addition of medication.
Having high cholesterol can be detrimental to your overall health. If left untreated, high cholesterol can lead to heart disease, making you more susceptible to a heart attack or stroke. Addressing your high cholesterol immediately after diagnosis can help you live a longer, healthier life.
While having high cholesterol isn’t fun, you may be able to manage it with a natural supplement called guggul.
As far back as 600 BC, the people of India have been using a gum resin called guggul to treat many ailments. Guggul comes from the commuphoa mukul tree and is used in the practice of Ayurvedic medicine -- one of the oldest systems in the world which utilizes plants and herbs and focuses on the diet. After using guggul, these people experienced relief from several different conditions, including:
• Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
• Lowered cholesterol
• Skin disease
• Weight loss
On the February 29 episode of "Dr. Oz," Dr. Mehmet Oz recommended individuals experiencing slow digestion take guggul with their meals. He did also emphasize the need for exercise in conjunction with the supplement.
Clinical Studies of Guggul
Research has shown guggul reduces "bad" (LDL) cholesterol and increases "good" (HDL) cholesterol -- this is especially true for people who eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. It is the antioxidants, or guggulsterones, in the gum resin that helps oxidize the LDL cholesterol, preventing it from hardening in the arteries, a condition called atherosclerosis. The accumulation of LDL cholesterol in the arteries prevents the passage of blood to the heart. If the arteries become too clogged, blood cannot pass through, which results in a heart attack.
Since guggul does not cease the production of cholesterol, most people find it helpful to take guggul along with statins. Statins block the production while guggul lower the cholesterol already in the body.
Guggul has also been shown to help individuals with inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis. In one clinical study, participants were given 500 milligrams three times a day and experienced substantial relief from the inflammatory pain they felt.
Who should take guggul?
• Anyone who has been told by their doctor they have high cholesterol can benefit from guggul to help decrease their LDL cholesterol and increase their HDL cholesterol.
• Older individuals who have body pain from osteoarthritis can also take guggul to help ease the pain of this condition.
• Anyone with back pain, headaches, or stiffness can find relief by taking guggul.
How much should you take?
For people with high cholesterol, it is recommended to take the maximum dose to start with, which is usually two tablets twice a day. Once LDL cholesterol levels begin to decrease, guggul dosage can also drop. Taking the minimum dose regularly, which is two tablets a day, can contribute to low cholesterol maintenance.
For those who would like to take guggul for pain or stiffness relief, start with the highest dose and taper off as symptoms subside. Guggul's effects can be felt in as little as an hour in many people.
Who should not take guggul?
If you take estrogen supplements or birth control, you should not take guggul. It has been known to decrease the effectiveness of estrogen in supplemental form.
Possible Side Effects
Most people can take guggul with no side effects. However, taking the maximum dose can result in some side effects which may include:
• Upset stomach
• Skin rash
Speak to Your Doctor
Due to the possible drug interactions and side effects with the use of guggul, speak to your doctor before starting this supplement, especially if you are already taking a prescription medication for lowering cholesterol.