Facts about Inherited high cholesterol
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Amla extract forms part of the Indian Gooseberry, a type of natural ingredient used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years and one known to help reduce cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol can be split into two types, HDL and LDL. It is the LDL level that most health officials are concerned with as this forms as a plaque in the arteries, increasing blood pressure.
One study, published in 2019, in the BMC Completement Alternative Medicine journal, suggested that the extract could help reduce cholesterol levels. They concluded that the amla extract “has shown significant potential in reducing…lipid rations…and thus has scope to treat general as well as diabetic dyslipidaemia”.
The study in question studied the impact of consuming 500mg of the extra twice a day for 12 weeks in order to reduce LDL levels; the study in question had 98 participants, all of whom had abnormal blood lipid levels.
Overall, the BMC study ascertained that those who consumed the amla extract had a 39 percent reduction in atherogenic index of plasma, this is a phenomenon used to measure the risk of excess cholesterol build up.
Meanwhile another study, also published in 2019 with a small cohort, found that consuming amla extract for 12 weeks improved several risk factors associated with heart disease in adults who were overweight or obese.
While the amla extract has shown potential in contemporary studies, it has to be noted that these studies involved highly concentrated doses of amla rather than just amla juice. As a result, more studies need to be conducted in order to ascertain the full bandwidth of amla’s benefits.
Nevertheless, any positive treatment for high cholesterol is an optimistic one given the condition can cause a range of complications if left untreated.
According to more recent research published in the Frontiers on Immunology journal, high cholesterol leads to long term scarring of the liver and immune cell dysfunction.
The study, which says it is the first of its kind, published the data after studies of cholesterol were conducted in laboratory settings in mice models.
In the models, the researchers fed the mice a diet high in fat and sugar, one which led to the onset of fatty liver disease similar to that seen in humans. The disease began to develop after a period of around 20 weeks, or just under half a year.
Co-author of the study, Professor Ana Maretti-Mira said: ““We saw that you may have a high-fat and high-sugar diet, but when you add high cholesterol to that, it will accelerate the process that causes inflammation in your liver. People focus on high cholesterol as a risk for heart disease, but we showed that your liver may also be affected, causing inflammation, scarring and, potentially, cirrhosis.”
As well as increasing the risk of fatty liver disease, high cholesterol levels were found to have an impact on the operation of immune cells, the body’s frontline defence against viruses.
High cholesterol led to changes in cells known as macrophages, these cells fight off invading viruses through inflammation. However, they also work to reduce the inflammation once the threat has gone.
Macrophages are also used by the body to communicate with other cells and help with healing in some scenarios. Any damage which comes to these cells can be highly significant; mice with high cholesterol found that the diet resulted in long term damage to these cells.
On the importance of this research for humans, Maretti-Mira said: “Our daily diet has lots of carbohydrates, such as sugary drinks, bread, rice and pasta. Then there’s high fat, since everybody likes deep fried foods. At the same time, we don’t have the same active life we used to, so we end up eating much more than our body needs.”
What should we do?
Although high cholesterol can cause a range of health problems, it is not undefeatable or untreatable. Maretti-Mira added: “Everything’s a balance. If what — and how much — you eat is causing this excessive inflammation in your liver, it’s time to take care of yourself.
“Change your diet and exercise more, so you can burn that fat in the liver, because it can cause damage in the long term.”
As a result, it is a case of everything in moderation and a case of eating a balanced diet with regular exercise. While food high in sugar and fat can have detrimental impacts on your body, it all depends on how to fit one is when the food is consumed.
Regarding exercise, health bodies tend to recommend at least two and a half hours of moderate to intense exercise a week – as a minimum – alongside a balanced diet of fruit and vegetables to maintain and improve overall health.
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