Recently, I had blood work taken and was told my cholesterol and trigliceride levels were off the charts. Just what I wanted to hear, right?
The Central for Disease Control states: “Having high blood cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. About 1 of every 6 adult Americans has high blood cholesterol.”
Unfortunately, this is great news for the drug companies who make the statin drugs, but not so wonderful for 1 out of 6 Americans.
My cholesterol levels had been high in the past and my doctor had prescribed many different types of statin drugs, but all of them give me vicious leg cramps. Luckily, my doctor didn’t like that I was having leg cramps so she took me off them.
Research shows that statin drugs can cause other problems such as memory loss, liver damage, and/or muscle damage. In my opinion, these issues can be as problematic as possible heart disease.
This time around, my doctor has prescribed fish oil supplements which are supposed to be especially good for lowering triglycerides. Fish oil is more of a natural source than the statin drugs, but can also have side effects.
Webmd.com reported the side effects in their section on fish oil. “Fish oil can cause side effects including belching, bad breath, heartburn, nausea, loose stools, rash, and nosebleeds. Taking fish oil supplements with meals or freezing them can often decrease these side effects.”
Although these side effects sound rather unpleasant, I have to believe that most of us would rather suffer with a bit of gas over liver damage or memory loss.
Speaking of memory, look what ScienceDaily.com had to say in its report: "Fish Oil's Impact On Cognition and Brain Structure Identified in New Study."
“Researchers at Rhode Island Hospital's Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders Center have found positive associations between fish oil supplements and cognitive functioning as well as differences in brain structure between users and non-users of fish oil supplements. The findings suggest possible benefits of fish oil supplements on brain health and aging.”
In conclusion, if studies suggest that fish oil may help with memory and brain health, doesn’t it stand to reason that we should use it for lowering our cholesterol and triglyceride levels, too? You be the judge.
Sources and Information:
High Cholesterol: Understand Your Risks, High Cholesterol: Understand Your Risks. July 7, 2011
Triglycerides: Why do they matter? by the Mayo Clinic Staff. June 1, 2011 http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/triglycerides/CL00015
What Is Cholesterol? July, 2011 http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Hbc/HBC_WhatIs.html
Statin side effects: Weigh the benefits and risks by Mayo Clinic staff. October 28, 2011
Lifespan (2011, August 17). Fish oil's impact on cognition and brain structure identified in new study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 26, 2011, from
Reviewed August 26, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Jody Smith