Curbing Cholesterol Helps More Than Your Heart

March 16, 2011

Keeping cholesterol levels low is something that most doctors are very hot on – mine certainly is – and despite my recent piece on chocolate helping with cholesterol he remains unconvinced. However I have found a new product to help lower cholesterol and that it seems will also help the body’s immune system fight viral infections, according to researchers at the University of Edinburgh.

They have shown a direct link between the workings of the immune system and cholesterol levels and as high cholesterol is linked to heart disease, which is the most common cause of death in the UK, this is an important connection. What they have discovered is that when the body succumbs to a viral infection a hormone in the immune system sends signals to blood cells that causes cholesterol levels to be lowered.

Cholesterol produced by our cells is needed for viruses and certain bacteria to grow and so it is logical that limiting our body’s production of cholesterol would therefore curb the opportunity for viruses to thrive. According to Professor Peter Ghazal who led the research: “Drugs currently exist to lower cholesterol levels, and drugs such as antibiotics are used to fight infections by targeting the bug directly. The next step would be to see if such drugs would also work to help bolster our immune systems.”

How to help yourself reduce cholesterol:
The researchers hope to find new ways to manipulate the body’s immune system by targeting cholesterol metabolism. This could involve mimicking immune signals sent to lower the production of cholesterol.

In the meantime, you could do much to help yourself naturally lower your cholesterol levels, and avoid having to take drugs at all for the condition – particularly the use of antibiotic or statin drugs can be avoided by adopting some natural strategies.

High cholesterol levels usually start with the diet so opting for a Mediterranean diet rich in fruit, vegetables and fish is an excellent place to start. Add in a daily glass of red wine and a brisk walk and then look at some healthy additions such as reduction in saturated fats by switching to skimmed rather than full fat milk, but please stick with butter but in reduced quantities as margarines are unhealthy for many other reasons.

A new supplement specifically aimed at reducing cholesterol has been tried by one of my ‘guinea pig’ volunteers and seems to have done the trick in bringing down his levels. Works with Water Nutraceuticals has produced help:cholesterol which is a fairly self explanatory name. It contains only natural ingredients including barley beta glucan which has been proven to help reduce LDL cholesterol levels after a minimum period of six weeks.

Clinical research has shown that taking 3 to 8g of barley beta glucan a day, the key ingredient in help: cholesterol, reduces the ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) by an average of 10-14%. These results have been confirmed by the EFSA (European Food Standards Agency) in 2009 after analysis of the clinical research into the cholesterol-lowering benefits of beta glucan.

Beta glucan is the soluble fibre naturally found in the cell wall of cereal grains and the easiest and most effective solution to ensure you get your necessary daily intake of barley beta glucan is to take a supplement such as help:cholesterol twice a day. You mix a sachet with water or juice and the only drawback my tester mentioned is that you have to drink it immediately you have put it in water and stirred vigorously as its textures changes when it hits the liquid. You should find it in health stores and Boots, but in case of difficulty visit the website at


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