Amla vs. Drugs for Cholesterol, Inflammation, & Blood-Thinning

Amla vs. Drugs for Cholesterol, Inflammation, & Blood-Thinning
4.58 (91.58%) 76 votes

Indian gooseberry extracts put to the test head-to-head against cholesterol-lowing statin drugs and the blood thinners aspirin and Plavix.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Indian gooseberries, otherwise known as amla, have been touted as everything from a cancer fighter to a “hair tonic” to a “refrigerant,” whatever that means—what, like freon? Not to mention, a “snake venom detoxifier.” Complete with fancy diagrams, but based on what kind of research?

Yes, “[d]ietary intake of [both turmeric and amla] increases the life span [of fruit flies].” But, do we really care about the effects of amla on the life span, or the “sexual behavior” for that matter, of fruit flies? How do you even study the sexual behavior of fruit flies? Why, obviously, you just introduce “a virgin female and [a] bachelor male…into an “Elens-Wattiaux mating chamber.” Can you imagine having an insect-mating chamber named after you? And, it looks like there were two fighting over naming rights, so they had to go with both!

Then, it’s just a matter of getting out a stopwatch. Twenty minutes is the average duration, but almost a half-hour on amla, the studly beast, and it dropped the mating latency, the time between when they were introduced to one another in the chamber, and when they started getting busy from ten down to seven…seconds! They don’t mess around. Well, actually, they do mess around—and quite rapidly.

And, on amla, they lay more eggs, and more hatched into larvae. But, just like when you hear amla is “the best medicine to increase…lifespan,” you’re probably not thinking about flies. When you read about amla may be a “potent aphrodisiac”, you’re probably not thinking, “More maggots!”

Now, there was this study that found extraordinary improvements in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol—in actual humans, but that was compared to placebo. What about compared to simvastatin, a leading cholesterol-lowering drug, sold as Zocor? Treatment with the drug “produced significant reduction[s]” in cholesterol, as one would expect. But, so did the amla. In fact, you could hardly tell which was which. Now note, this was only about a 10 to 15% drop in total and LDL cholesterol. In this study, the amla dose was only 500 milligrams, which is like a tenth of a teaspoon. So, smaller than the eighth of a teaspoon a day. And, it wasn’t just the powdered fruit, but the powdered juice of the fruit, which may have made a difference.

How about versus Lipitor, the cholesterol-lowering drug known as atorvastatin? No effect of taking placebos, but significant improvements for the drug, and significant improvements for two amla doses—but again, only about 15% or so. Did they just use the juice again? No, worse; some patented extract of amla. So, instead of five cents a day, it’s 50 cents a day, and doesn’t seem to work as well. But, because there’s this proprietary version, at least there’s someone willing to pony up the funds to do the research.

It’s like the cancer story. “For [Indian gooseberries] to become relevant clinically,” they’re praying that “patentable derivatives [be] synthesized. Without the possibility of patents, the pharmaceutical industry [isn’t going to] invest” in the research; their shareholders wouldn’t let them. It’s patents over patients. But, without that research, how can we ever prove its worth—or worthlessness, for that matter?

So, drug and supplement industry interest in patenting natural food product remedies is a double-edged sword. Without it, there would never have been this study—showing not only benefits for cholesterol, but also arterial function: reducing artery stiffness in the two amla-extract groups and the drug group, but not placebo, as well as a dramatic drop in inflammation; C-reactive protein levels cut in half.

So, amla—or at least amla extracts—”may be a good therapeutic alternative to statins in diabetic patients with [artery] dysfunction because it has [many of] the beneficial effects of the statins but without the well known [potential] adverse [side-]effects of [the drugs]”—including muscle damage or liver dysfunction.

The amla extract was also compared to the blood-thinning drugs, aspirin and Plavix, often prescribed after heart attacks, and achieved about three-quarters of the same platelet aggregation-inhibiting effect as the drugs; significantly increasing the “bleeding and clotting time,” where they poke you with a needle, and see how many seconds it takes you to stop dripping. So, that’s actually a good thing, if you have a stent or something that you don’t want to clog up. But, it didn’t thin the blood outside the normal range, and so it may not unduly raise the risk of major bleeding.

It also appears to decrease the effects of stress on the heart. They had people plunge their hand into ice water, and keep it there until the pain became “unbearable.” This causes your arteries to constrict and blood pressure to go up—but not as much if you’re taking amla extract. Good to know for your next ice bucket challenge.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Parkjisun from The Noun Project.

Image credit: Kristina DeMuth. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Indian gooseberries, otherwise known as amla, have been touted as everything from a cancer fighter to a “hair tonic” to a “refrigerant,” whatever that means—what, like freon? Not to mention, a “snake venom detoxifier.” Complete with fancy diagrams, but based on what kind of research?

Yes, “[d]ietary intake of [both turmeric and amla] increases the life span [of fruit flies].” But, do we really care about the effects of amla on the life span, or the “sexual behavior” for that matter, of fruit flies? How do you even study the sexual behavior of fruit flies? Why, obviously, you just introduce “a virgin female and [a] bachelor male…into an “Elens-Wattiaux mating chamber.” Can you imagine having an insect-mating chamber named after you? And, it looks like there were two fighting over naming rights, so they had to go with both!

Then, it’s just a matter of getting out a stopwatch. Twenty minutes is the average duration, but almost a half-hour on amla, the studly beast, and it dropped the mating latency, the time between when they were introduced to one another in the chamber, and when they started getting busy from ten down to seven…seconds! They don’t mess around. Well, actually, they do mess around—and quite rapidly.

And, on amla, they lay more eggs, and more hatched into larvae. But, just like when you hear amla is “the best medicine to increase…lifespan,” you’re probably not thinking about flies. When you read about amla may be a “potent aphrodisiac”, you’re probably not thinking, “More maggots!”

Now, there was this study that found extraordinary improvements in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol—in actual humans, but that was compared to placebo. What about compared to simvastatin, a leading cholesterol-lowering drug, sold as Zocor? Treatment with the drug “produced significant reduction[s]” in cholesterol, as one would expect. But, so did the amla. In fact, you could hardly tell which was which. Now note, this was only about a 10 to 15% drop in total and LDL cholesterol. In this study, the amla dose was only 500 milligrams, which is like a tenth of a teaspoon. So, smaller than the eighth of a teaspoon a day. And, it wasn’t just the powdered fruit, but the powdered juice of the fruit, which may have made a difference.

How about versus Lipitor, the cholesterol-lowering drug known as atorvastatin? No effect of taking placebos, but significant improvements for the drug, and significant improvements for two amla doses—but again, only about 15% or so. Did they just use the juice again? No, worse; some patented extract of amla. So, instead of five cents a day, it’s 50 cents a day, and doesn’t seem to work as well. But, because there’s this proprietary version, at least there’s someone willing to pony up the funds to do the research.

It’s like the cancer story. “For [Indian gooseberries] to become relevant clinically,” they’re praying that “patentable derivatives [be] synthesized. Without the possibility of patents, the pharmaceutical industry [isn’t going to] invest” in the research; their shareholders wouldn’t let them. It’s patents over patients. But, without that research, how can we ever prove its worth—or worthlessness, for that matter?

So, drug and supplement industry interest in patenting natural food product remedies is a double-edged sword. Without it, there would never have been this study—showing not only benefits for cholesterol, but also arterial function: reducing artery stiffness in the two amla-extract groups and the drug group, but not placebo, as well as a dramatic drop in inflammation; C-reactive protein levels cut in half.

So, amla—or at least amla extracts—”may be a good therapeutic alternative to statins in diabetic patients with [artery] dysfunction because it has [many of] the beneficial effects of the statins but without the well known [potential] adverse [side-]effects of [the drugs]”—including muscle damage or liver dysfunction.

The amla extract was also compared to the blood-thinning drugs, aspirin and Plavix, often prescribed after heart attacks, and achieved about three-quarters of the same platelet aggregation-inhibiting effect as the drugs; significantly increasing the “bleeding and clotting time,” where they poke you with a needle, and see how many seconds it takes you to stop dripping. So, that’s actually a good thing, if you have a stent or something that you don’t want to clog up. But, it didn’t thin the blood outside the normal range, and so it may not unduly raise the risk of major bleeding.

It also appears to decrease the effects of stress on the heart. They had people plunge their hand into ice water, and keep it there until the pain became “unbearable.” This causes your arteries to constrict and blood pressure to go up—but not as much if you’re taking amla extract. Good to know for your next ice bucket challenge.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Parkjisun from The Noun Project.

Image credit: Kristina DeMuth. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Doctor's Note

I profile the study that used the whole fruit in my previous video, The Best Food for High Cholesterol. The double-edged sword of patenting natural substances comes up over and over. For example, Plants as Intellectual Property – Patently Wrong?

With a healthier diet neither drugs nor supplements may be necessary:

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209 responses to “Amla vs. Drugs for Cholesterol, Inflammation, & Blood-Thinning

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  1. This episode was hilarious and super informative. Looks like Amla, flax seeds, and turmeric have all earned the right to be called super foods.




    24
        1. Good point, WFPB-Liisa. They know what’s good! It reminds me of an experiment with fruit flies in my 8th grade science class. We kept them in jars & fed them different things. The ones in the jar with white bread all died.




          13
  2. FYI, regarding sources of Amla in the U.S., I haven’t been able to find any good local sources of the Amla powder. However, in the local Indian grocery store, I have found three different brands of “candied” Amla. Granted, they all have a little added sugar and citric acid, but these are the only added ingredients on the label. And they taste very similar to other dried fruit and are not bitter. If anyone is interested, the three brands are as follows:

    Swad, packed and distributed by Raja Foods

    Tapi Food Products, and

    Herbi +, distributed by Piece of India, Inc.

    All three state the original source as being India.

    I’ve been eating about two berries worth, maybe equivalent to a tablespoon, a day. I can’t really say whether they have had the same effect on me as they had on the mating behavior of the fruit flies! After watching this video, maybe I’ll increase the dose a little :-)




    16
    1. There might be some options that interest you here WFPB-Hal https://nutritionfacts.org/video/amla-vs-drugs-for-cholesterol-inflammation-and-blood-thinning/ When I tried amla, I bought Organic Traditions, and it isnt cheap. From my experience it wasnt effective either – didn’t help high cholesterol at all. (though even here Dr Greger admits the effect would be modest 15% or less) I am not sure if that is because I am on WFPB diet to start with or not.
      The blood thinning aspect of foods, herbs, and spices is something I am having to be aware of. I complained to my doctor about the bruising from the aspirin , and she would prefer I cut back on the spices/herbs etc. Her argument is that medications are known entities whereas food items are a wild card with unpredictable effects. She applies the same argument in defence of statins. I may just try fasting for the next blood tests to see where I’m at.




      9
        1. Hi Susan, Thanks for the link. I, too, am on a Whole Plant Foods diet, and as a result my cholesterol is fine at around 150 total, although it was never really “high” even before I started WFPB. I eat the Amla just for general health reasons. I haven’t had any issues with blood being too thin. (I don’t take aspirin.) Hope you can resolve all of your issues by adjusting the amount of those healthy herbs and spices!




          6
          1. WFPB Hal – can I ask your age? I am still working on lowering my cholesterol after years of WFPB excellent eating. But I am F, 64y/o, post menopause which seems to make a difference with less estrogen coursing through my veins. Thanks!




            0
      1. susan, I’m thinking about getting whole, dried amla from Rose Mountain herbs (https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/amla-whole/profile) and trying to grind them into a powder up myself. Or if that’s not feasible, I may just drop a few pieces into the blender when I make my smoothies. I’m also going to check out my local Indian stores to see if they might have it as well at a lower price ($1.75/oz – yikes!). I’ve become leery of commercial powders because you never know if the actual contents are as claimed on the package.

        BTW, I think it’s interesting that your doctor sees food as the wild card.




        13
        1. You can buy high quality Amla on eBay, I just bought some but afterwards contacted the seller to see if his product had been tested and they assured me that to enter my country it had to pass special tests, some spices from Indian can contain metals and this was my concern. So this is my first day of taking it.




          0
        1. Thanks Hal, George, Nancy and Liisa for your comments -I appreciate the feedback. George, my doctors are (married couple) recent graduates , board certified in emergency medicine and family practioner. They are very pleased with where I’m at in general and believe in lifestyle first. The problem is I had heart surgery, so from their point of view, a statin and aspirin is protocol. I am eating sooo healthy though with all the spices in indian cooking, herbs, vegies etc that my blood is ‘running thin’. As doctors, they are saying the food is terrific.. we just can’t regulate exact amounts day to day. Anyway, I cut the baby aspirin on half at my own peril.
          Nancy, terrific ideas, and I’ll be on the lookout for gooseberries or amla products here.

          Just as a side note.. in reading the comments beneath the videos about cholesterol related issues on NF, I see that I am definitly not alone in suffering higher cholesterol as a post menopausal woman. Time and again I see posts from older women who try their darndest to lower cholestetol levels in spite of being vegan/ WFPB sometimes for years! I remember our fellow poster ‘TG’ posting links about declining estrogen and rising cholesterol levels. I sure would appreciate Dr Greger speaking on this issue, about our associated risk, and our options at present. Thanks!




          18
          1. Susan, I imagine you are “NO” (no oil?) When I quit using oil and eating occasional Chocolove chocolate bars, (w/ no dairy,) my cholesterol dropped, but I also took up running a couple of months earlier. (Note: I am well over 65….)




            9
            1. Good for you Liisa! And yes, I do the no oil thing etc. I have noticed that any flour /grain products ie bread, pasta, even oatmeal will raise triglycerides. My first 30 days on wfpb reaped a stunning 40 % drop.. then my body seemed to adapt, and cholesterol creeped up. Yes I swim a lot, and walk daily.

              I may take Rebecca’s suggestion (below) and write to Dr Esselstyn for his take on it. I dont think he heditates to recommend statins but we’ll see Ty all




              3
              1. Susan, I know somebody personally, who is in her 70s, whose triglyceride level goes up every time she eats any wheat product, even a home-made one, apparently similar to your experience.




                3
                    1. Do to the tiny particle size of most commercial flour products the body will use it like sugar. You can avoid this by purchasing stone ground flours, which has a moderate GI rating.

                      I use chickpea flour for many baked goods, doesn’t work on everything but it is amazing




                      5
              2. Susan, is it the lower cholesterol,numbers that are good? Could it be that they are really a marker for a healthier lifestyle? Don’t think this has been determined.
                Most of the studies I have seen on post-menopausal women have shown that statins don’t help women.
                Sorry, really busy right now, but you can probably find these.
                Another thing to consider is that statins interfere with memory function, and rates of heart Failure go up.
                I am post-menopausal also, also run, and hadn’t been able to for two weeks before my last test due to travel.
                My hdl went down 20 points, ldl and tg went up 20, although tg still only 60. I am back to my runs.




                0
                  1. Thank you Tom. Fairly well balanced article.
                    Unfortunately there are far too many doctors like Noel Bairey Metz, who should have been disqualified because of her affiliation with drug companies.
                    Her comment “Although the new treatment guidelines recommend lifestyle changes, I think they should probably go out the window. We have yet to find any kind of lifestyle change intervention that actually helps people live longer.”
                    Really? Maybe she needs to read ‘How Not to Die’ and spend some time here instead of with her drug company buddies.
                    My cousin is a chemist in one of those companies, and they hire statisticians to manipulate the studies outcomes to make their drugs look better. One company says their drug reduces risk by 33%.
                    What that means is they had 3 deaths per 100 on placebo. There were 2 per hundred on the drug. But the average person thinks, wow, 33% is really effective.




                    4
                1. Oh, one other thing. I understand that people with genetically low cholesterol tend to live longer than average. People with genetically high cholesterol tend to have higher than average mortality. And people whose LDL cholesterol levels are lowered by drugs, diet or lifestyle tend to have reduced mortality. All of these things show that LDL cholesterol is not just a marker nut a modifiable risk factor.




                  8
                  1. I assume you mean the PCSK9 studies. Granted these people do not get heart disease. The question I have however is, what do these people die of? Are there other diseases that they are more prone to? Are they healthier overall? Do you have any info on that?
                    I agree that lower ldl is good. But I’m not convinced that -drug lowered- ldl is helpful in women. I’ve seen too many friends develop joint pain, muscle pain, and become mental zombies on statins.
                    Lifestyle lowered, absolutely!
                    I personally lowered mine greatly by eating a very high fiber diet, red grapefruit with the rind intact, oat bran, soybeans etc. I shoot for about 50 grams of fiber per day from food.
                    Keeping blood sugar low with runs also seems to matter, especially with triglycerides.




                    1
                    1. Yes. I lowered mine with diet also. I had to. When my doctor put me on statins, I suffered liver damage – a very unpleasant experience.

                      However, the evidence that statins help most peoiple seems convincing to me, I don’t know what people with genetically low cholesterol (hypocholesterolemia) die of but they apparently do seem to live longer than average . The other stream of evidence suggesting that high cholesterol is a real risk factor rather than just a marker, like eg CRP, comes from Mendelian Randomisation studies. These look at genetic variations which lower cholesterol but don’t all result in very low cholesterol eg

                      “The fundamental principle of Mendelian randomisation is that if genetic variants that either alter the level of, or imitate the biological effects of, a modifiable biomarker that is causal in disease, then these genetic variants should also be associated with disease risk to the extent predicted by the effect of the genetic variant with the biomarker.16 This can be thought of as an analogy to a RCT: when stronger doses of drugs are used that have a greater effect on a causal biomarker (eg, use of more potent statins that have a greater reduction on low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels), the resultant effect on risk reduction for CHD is greater.18 Thus, use of genetic variants that have stronger effects on LDL-C should have stronger relationships with risk of CHD, and this is exactly what is seen.19”
                      http://heart.bmj.com/content/103/18/1400.long

                      and

                      “RESULTS:
                      All 9 polymorphisms were associated with a highly consistent reduction in the risk of CHD per unit lower LDL-C, with no evidence of heterogeneity of effect (I(2) = 0.0%). In a meta-analysis combining nonoverlapping data from 312,321 participants, naturally random allocation to long-term exposure to lower LDL-C was associated with a 54.5% (95% confidence interval: 48.8% to 59.5%) reduction in the risk of CHD for each mmol/l (38.7 mg/dl) lower LDL-C. This represents a 3-fold greater reduction in the risk of CHD per unit lower LDL-C than that observed during treatment with a statin started later in life (p = 8.43 × 10(-19)).
                      CONCLUSIONS:
                      Prolonged exposure to lower LDL-C beginning early in life is associated with a substantially greater reduction in the risk of CHD than the current practice of lowering LDL-C beginning later in life.”
                      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23083789?dopt=Abstract&holding=npg




                      3
          2. Susan, I had been told that a low fat diet caused gallstones, because the gallbladder didn’t have to expel bile often enough. So I wrote Dr Esselstyn through his website to ask and he answered that this diet doesn’t cause gallstones.

            Based on that, I recommend you write him and ask how he treats patients in your situation. He can’t give you direct advice, since you’re not his patient, but perhaps he would answer you in a general way as to how he handles that kind of situation.

            http://www.dresselstyn.com/site/




            5
            1. I will forward your request and if there are others interested in this topic Dr. Greger may f/up, although of course there are so many topics to investigate no guarantees which one can be focused on.
              There is one NutritionFacts video on estrogen. Have you reviewed that? https://nutritionfacts.org/video/relieving-yourself-of-excess-estrogen/
              I was able to find two studies related to postmenopausal health, diet and estrogen which you may find helpful:
              https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11907915/
              Effects of dietary phytoestrogens in postmenopausal women.
              https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10843150/ Leptin in postmenopausal women: influence of hormone therapy, insulin, and fat distribution.
              Best of health to you,
              Joan-NurseEducator




              7
          3. Keep the baby aspirine and cut forever statine! Read about high cholesterol, iti si not allways bad! Take amla, ginger, turmenic, etc., eat healty (you do that already) and everything will be good.
            Don’t forget, the doctors smile, are nice, but they are not always on your corner. Maybe is time to find a good nutritionist. Helps a lot.




            1
          4. Susan – I am in the same boat as you, working on cholesterol, post menopause, WFPB, SOS and at 200mg cholesterol. Wine is about my only vice and I am now cutting that back. My cholesterol doesn’t seem to get any worse, but isn’t improving either. I would love to see what else Dr. G might find out about our situation. There are still many of us who are still struggling with this. Thanks for bringing it up




            2
            1. Guest: About your WFPB, SOS and 200mg cholesterol .. I’ve heard this repeatedly from women in a plant-based group I participate in, who are truly “working” at the problem without success, so I want to second your hope that Dr. G. might look into this group of us. So I’ll echo your “Thanks for bringing it up.”




              1
      2. !!!SHOCKING!!! …well, of course, your chemist, I mean Doctor, is going to prefer chemicals vs. organic superfoods! Time to SWITCH chemists – I mean Doctors. ROFL… OBVIOUS




        7
      3. Beware of nonsense support of prescription drugs from doctors. Refer your doctor to the Kaiser publication (circa 2014) about suggesting plant-based diets versus prescription drugs. See Dr Greger’s lectures on plant based diets and reversing heart disease…




        2
    2. anyone in Canada , there is a mostly clothing store called Winners and they have a small food section , i was surprised to see Amla in there , Organictree brand name certified organic amla for 12.99 one pound bag . it is sour stuff but not impossible to take a half teaspoon




      4
      1. Hi, HemoDynamic–I agree. I had a conversation with them and they were *extremely *careful in dealing with me to make sure I got the correct product that I was trying to get. I would trust this company (and no, I don’t work for them.)




        2
    3. I got mine from amazon. I used it in a smoothie which also contained black raspberry powder and gave it to my husband daily. He had a 2cm cancerous tumour at the base of tongue, connected partly to his oesophagus. He underwent chemo and radiotherapy, but I truly believe he recovered better and quicker because of the smoothie. It also contained turmeric, goji berries, ground flax seed and other goodies. I also bought him dandelion tincture to sip in water. He is completely recovered with no lasting effects. I got all the info from dr greger and a ted talk! Quite something!




      9
    4. Ebay lists many sources of Amla, along with any other powdered potions you could ever want. The dosage cost when you buy by the pound is pennies per day for any of them.




      0
  3. Do any studies examine the beneficial effects of whole Alma fruit, which is easily purchased frozen at one’s local Indian grocery?




    7
    1. Unfortunately, it seems all the studies that are found in PubMed use either powdered or juiced alma, not the fruit. I was only able to find this one paper on use of the whole fruit which was sketchy at best with no specifics on dose (2-6…? gooseberries producing what effect?) http://www.lifescienceresearch.net/admin/archive/2017-26-015889bf66956a2.pdf
      Phyllanthus emblica (Emblica officinalis) : An Important Medicinal & Commercial Fruit of India-Part IV.
      I suspect that designing studies using the whole fruit, even though we know that should be the most beneficial, is just too complicated (administering/monitoring a small dose as a powder is so much simpler, although I agree with you studies using the whole fruit would be welcome. Dr. Greger speaks to why whole fruits and vegetables often are not used in research as well in this video. .




      4
  4. Hoping someone can provide opinion…Per Gregor, now on WFPB diet for 2 months. Very strict, no processed food. No oils, sugar….LDL went from 195 to 105, TC 272 to 166. Great! However, my TG went from 145 to 160 and my fasting glucose went from 80 to 100….Any thoughts? I know his videos dispute that fruit fructose can raise sugars but could this be case? Was thinking of adding the amla to see if it helps….I am stumped.
    thanks




    2
    1. Hi Shan,
      Since you are seeking only opinions I will weigh in. Congratulations on your lifestyle improvements! To me, 2 months seems like a relatively short time for your body (specifically your liver) to adjust to the changes you have made, especially if this represents a big change for you. Your TG and FG are high normal at this point, and if you don’t have other risk factors for metabolic syndrome and diabetes, you’re probably OK. Be confident that WFPB is wonderful for your cardiovascular health. I have found that close monitoring of lab values in the absence of disease or illness is more anxiety than it is worth. Focus on feeling well, eating well, and being well. Lab tests don’t define your health.
      Thanks, Chris




      19
    2. Shan,

      How much fat are you eating? You mentioned no oils, but what is the fat content of the rest of your diet? On a strict, very low-fat Pritikin diet, my fasting glucose was in the 70’s. But Pritikin forbids nuts and seeds (at least the original Pritkin did).

      When I added nuts and seeds back into my diet, my fasting glucose rose into the 80’s. Still not bad, but fats of any kind, even those from nuts and seeds will raise your fasting glucose. At least it did mine. To lower it, you could try eliminating all fat, except that in whole grains. That means no avocados, no olives, etc.

      I know this goes against Dr. Greger’s dietary recommendations.




      2
    3. Shan, your fasting glucose is more important than your cholesterol which is just an indication. As long as your TC is below 300 then it’s OK. Ideally you want your TC to be below 200 but different people have different measurements. But your fasting glucose is a good indication of inflammation and insulin resistance, and you want to stay below 100 as much as possible.




      1
      1. And your TG going from 145 to 160 is not very good. TC has many components and TC can be high but TG should be kept close to 100 or below.

        I know that most people around here don’t like to hear this but believe me, by consuming coconut fat, your TG will go down and your glucose will go down. Your TC may go up or down depending on if your LDL will go up or down depending on the person but it is not too important,




        2
          1. Shan, TG is right. Do you want to believe the science? Or do you want to believe some guy on the internet, who you don’t even know? The choice is yours.




            10
            1. Jerry If you are referring to me, I am 67, slim with nornal BP and cholesterol. The only medication I am on is eye drops for glaucoma (probably genetic since my father also had glaucoma). I also have some very mild osteoarthritis which isn’t getting worse – if anything the symptoms are getting less. Given that I smoked and drank most of my life, and was overweight throughout middle age, the fact that I am still here and healthy is testament to the beneficial effects of a WFPB diet adopted even late in life. If that is being “not in very good health” according to you, so be it.

              In any case, you are misrepresenting the position again. I don’t ask people to accept my opinions – instead I suggest they should base their actions and beliefs on what the evidence shows.




              11
          2. I find it hard to buy into this TG, the AHA that endorses the flawed Fat approach to HD which has resulted in increased Carb consumption and obesity resulting in more heart disease. My approach to Sat fat is somewhat fence sitting, I am not sure either way. Latest meta studies show no connection between sat fat and HD, on the other hand sat fat does seem to have artery performance negative affects and also has been linked with T2 diabetes. Could it be that Sat fat really is not potent enough to cause HD but as Dean Ornish stated, and at the time I thought it was a cop out, that to reverse HD you have to remove sat fat. Also linking sat fat via lipid levels is not really proof and with so many contradictory epidemological studies shwoing high sat fat consumers with low HD levels I do think that sat fat is not the elephant in the room here at all




            0
      1. Thanks for the information. I do eat a fair amount of nuts and avocados…I can cut those out but don’t I need some fat for brain and neurological health? Plus I love avocados!

        Thanks for the references, I will definitely review




        2
        1. “but don’t I need some fat for brain and neurological health?”

          There are all sorts of weird and wonderful claims on the internet about this. Most of them are nonsense.

          Plants contain fats – usually around 3% by calories content. However, some contain much more. Oats are about 15% fat and soybeans 43%. olives are also high in fat. However, Dr Greger does recommend an omega 3 fat supplement for brain health
          https://nutritionfacts.org/video/should-vegans-take-dha-to-preserve-brain-function/




          2
      2. TG- thank you for your excellent posts! That NCBI report is full of interesting stuff. In regards to my issues, I exercised a lot (4-6 times/wk, avg 120-150mi/wk road cycling) and ate what I consider a good diet- high in veggies, salads with romaine lettuce with a little VOO & lemon, chicken (5/wk). Plus, I’ve done the 5/2 intermittent fasting (IF) for 3.5yrs. My cholesterol with that diet and IF resulted in TC of 115-120 with great LDL, TG but low HDL (a genetic trait?). That was good and fine, but my diet was primarily about reducing my Hb-A1C (fasting glucose around 100), which kept creeping up each year till it reached 5.7. The diet, exercise and IF worked- lowering A1C to 5.4. But this year, I transitioned off 5/2 IF and changed from an Omnivore to a WPF Vegan with a little fish (sardines) this year, along with a Time Restricting Feeding (TRF, see https://youtu.be/-R-eqJDQ2nU) window of 9h. I just got the labs back and the cholesterol still looks great 115, TG low & HDL still too low (40), but my Hb-A1C fell to 4.5 with fasting glucose/insulin of 75/1.9. This struck me as amazing. I attribute it to the WPF and restricted eating window. One diet not represented in the NCBI report on the Adventists is vegan-pescetarian. I know vegan is no meat, but I wonder if this combination would come out nearly as well as vegans in preventing type II. It may help others here… Thanks.




        0
    4. Shan – I went WFPB 8 years ago. A similar thing happened to me re: trigycerides and fasting glucose. First off, I check at Dr McDougall’s site. You might have to search for it but he did a newsletter on this subject. He feels that if one’s triglycerides go up to 200 it is not a problem. On the grand scale of things, says McDougall, being slightly over the outside triglyceride parameter is not a huge deal given the better cholesterol numbers. Mine still wavers between 150 and 200. But I’ve noticed that I can get better numbers if I eat my starch vegetables and grains earlier in the day so that I can burn them off. In the evening I will eat something like a salad with some beans and other green non-starchy vegetables i.e., I keep the high carbs low later in the day and evening. I also build in 12 hrs of fast each night to give my body time to burn off the calories of the day. I am in my 60’s so metabolism is not what it was years ago. So this has helped me. . .see if any of it fits for you. And let us know how it works out!! :-).




      3
  5. Does anyone know if I can safely take amla while I’m on Eliquis? I currently have a DVT and have been taking Eliquis for several months at 5 mg twice per day. I’d love to take advantage of amla’s antioxidant and cholesterol-lowering properties but don’t want to add amla and potentially create a dangerous situation by over-thinning my blood. Thanks for any information you may have in this regard.




    2
        1. Yes, I’m a similar case, already taking plavix and aspirin. Any further thinning, eg. from fish oil or amla, is risky. Blood thinner drug dosage seems sometimes to push it to the limit, near to the point where bleeding complications can set in. There was a case where even a health authority on thinners hit her head on the side of a swimming pool which was fatal. Teflon coated platelets.




          2
  6. I want to start including amla in my daily diet. How are you all using the powdered amla, other than smoothies. I don’t drink smoothies because I find they don’t stick with me for long. Thanks for sharing.




    2
    1. Ellencwebb, The way I make some of my smoothies more filling is to add a few chunks of cooked sweet potatoes. The carbs and fiber keep me satisfied for a longer period of time. I imagine you could also add some cooked beans, which I would think would do the same, but don’t know how that would affect the taste. Just a suggestion.




      6
      1. Thanks, Hal. I also do IF and don’t eat my first meal of the day until 10:00am – I try to eat only when I am hungry. I usually have Killer Dave’s toast with avocado/spicy guacamole, and that holds me until I eat again – usually a soup, chili, curry, etc. I guess I could have a smoothie for my last meal of the day which could help me incorporate the rest of my daily dozen.




        4
        1. Ellen,
          We also love Dave’s Killer Bread. I wouldn’t call him Killer Dave, though. If you read the package, he’s an ex-con trying to do right by hiring other ex-con’s in his company. Just sayin ;)




          7
    2. One thing I do when having a smoothie is eating something on the side…. There’s nothing that says you can only have a smoothie. : )




      5
    3. I put alma powder in my bean mixtures and in split pea dhal- I fold it in after they are cooked or sprinkle it on and fold it in just before I eat it – adds a tartness similar to lemon. Love it!

      A proud monthly supporter of Nutritionfacts.org




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  7. I bought the powder and vegan capsules and made my own capsules. The taste is too off-putting for me to put it in anything to eat or drink. You can buy a little pill “stamper” or filler to get the powder in the capsules. Without it, I was like I Love Lucy with the powder flying everywhere. It’s very light and hard to get in the capsules otherwise.




    8
    1. Blanster – where did you find vegan capsules? I looked all over for them but could only find capsules that included HPMC — Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose –derived from vegetable cellulose. Thanks.




      1
      1. Ellencwebb- I got my vcaps on Amazon from a company called Now Healthy Foods. Package specifies: No yeast, wheat, gluten, corn, soy, milk, sugar, starch, preservatives or animal products. I hope that helps.




        1
  8. There are several questions and issues:

    – The fact that amia comes from plant foods does not mean it is not like a drug. So if you have inflammation in the first place and your cholesterol as a reliable indicator goes up and taking amia makes it goes down, is this a fix at the sources of the issue or fix for the symptom?

    – Why use something so exotic when there are so many plant foods that will lower “cholesterol” and improve blood flow? A food that does this has to fix at the source such as provide the proper nutrition, such as consuming arugula, broccoli, DHA/EPA oil from fish oil or algae oil, etc.

    – We have to stop being fixated on cholesterol but need to concentrate on CRP for instance which is a measurement of inflammation. And considering that when cholesterol drops by a big amount then it is an indication of cancer, what does it say about avoiding certain foods such as healthy fats to just keep cholesterol low?

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11502313?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum




    5
    1. – The fact that amia comes from plant foods does not mean it is not like a drug. So if you have inflammation in the first place and your cholesterol as a UNRELIABLE indicator goes up and taking amia makes it goes down, is this a fix at the sources of the issue or fix for the symptom?




      1
      1. Good question. I would say it is definitely a fix of the symptoms, perhaps also a fix at the source. Most important is a healthy diet, too.




        2
    2. Healthy fats are found in healthy foods. We are not avoiding healthy fats; we are avoiding processed fats from foods, processed being the key word.




      7
      1. So let say that you eat healthy fats and let say that your “cholesterol” shoots up to 200 but your CRP is low, do you need to be concerned about it and consume amia or worse take statin drug?

        I know that some self proclaimed health guru on this forum claimed that statin is beneficial and he took statin drug to the detriment of hurting his pancrea.




        3
        1. It is what the evidence shows Jerry, not what I think. All you can offer is the usual crank claims delivered with the absolute convicion of a scientology or mormon missionary.

          But you like to pretend it is just your opinion versus someone else’s. That way it is not so obvious that you are promoting counterfactual nonsense.




          10
    3. I have been WFPB/ no oil for almost six years. I have attended conferences and Immersions, and met privately with Dr. Esselstyn. In spite of avoiding all the damaging foods and eating only the right foods I still struggle with my cholesterol numbers. Dr. Esselstyn called me and told me not to be so concerned that my numbers are higher than ideal, however my doctors are not so forgiving and have repeatedly tried to get me back on medications. Within weeks I always end up with unbearable side affects and in the past doubled my liver enzymes. I am finished buckling under the pressure of the medical world and have decided to go it on my own if they try again to pressure me. I am saying all this because it is important to realize that not all people are so fortunate as to achieve perfect cholesterol numbers even with 100% compliance to a a WFPB diet. I am eating copious amounts of whole grain barley and adding psyllium husk to my grain and have seen a significant improvement. I am awaiting the arrival of my first order of Amla Powder. Oh…by the way recently I was sent to a Lipidologist and he ordered testing that indicates that my inflammation factors are insanely low. All of you out there with the same challenges….I feel your pain!




      7
      1. Janet, first of all you need to take the CRP test which is a test for inflammation. Insurance does not normally pay for it but it only costs about $50. Just google to see which lab in your area will do it.

        If your CRP is close to zero or below 1 then there is nothing to worry about despite your high cholesterol which is a lousy indication. But I am not a doctor and cannot say at which level of cholesterol you should worry about? I am just throwing a number, below 300 is OK as long as your CRP is below 1.

        Next you need to eat a lot of antioxidant and anti inflammatory foods because just eating WFPB is not adequate. For the list of such foods, google for it because the list is pretty long. You need to eat all of them as much as possible and not just eat a few.

        By the way, I suggest that you stop eating grain, no matter how whole it is. Because its benefits are small but the harm is big, especially to some people.

        And then I am not a doctor to say at which point you need to take statin drug but statin drug has all kind of side effects such as muscle ache, damaging liver, kidney, pancrea and most importantly damaging your own heart muscle, something you want to protect in the first place.




        2
        1. Jerry Lewis, in your reply to Janet, you state:

          “Next you need to eat a lot of antioxidant and anti inflammatory foods because just eating WFPB is not adequate. For the list of such foods, google for it because the list is pretty long.”

          Why not give Dr Greger some credit and refer Janet to the “Daily Dozen” list which provides just the right amount of antioxidents and anti-inflammatory foods?

          https://nutritionfacts.org/video/dr-gregers-daily-dozen-checklist/




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          1. The Daily Dozen is good and I follow that plus more like a Daily Fifteen. Nevertheless, that list contains a lot of foods that are probably more suitable for people with no health issues such as grain and a lot carb, albeit all good carb and fructose from fruits. So if I have a health issue, I will concentrate on antioxidant and anti inflammatory foods and cut down on carb, grain and fruits.




            1
      2. My lipid profile is similar to your’s. Oil and sugar free did help…234 to 174. In reading over these posts, looks like good advice to try our best and get on with our lives, especially after reading Esselstyn’s advice, I’m dropping my obsession and moving on. Thanks.u




        7
      3. My lipid profile is similar to your’s. Oil and sugar free did help…234 to 174. In reading over these posts, looks like good advice to try our best and get on with our lives, especially after reading Esselstyn’s advice. I’m dropping my obsession and moving on. Thanks




        2
        1. I recommend reading Dr. Joel Kahn’s The Whole Heart Solution, if you can get it from the library or something. He talks about how cholesterol number alone is not a quality indicator of your health. For instance, you can be on a WFPB diet and sometimes have a higher cholesterol number than someone on a standard diet, because there are subcomponents to cholesterol we can’t see. But it doesn’t mean you aren’t healthier.




          0
      4. hi Janet Raycraft, thank you for sharing about your talk with Dr Esselstyn. This is very helpful, as are the comments of TG and Marilyn up near the beginning of todays comments. I am under pressure at times from some physicians (not all) to take statins, but I can only endure 10 mg 2 x per week. Thats it! Interesting what your lipidologist told you ! A cardiologist in emergency came over to ask me questions because my inflammatory markers were the lowest he had seen in his career. We have to be doing something right ! Ty again Janet, and let us know how you do with the amla.




        4
    4. I am glad to see you citing a study now Jerry. But do you have to post it so often?

      This was a study of older people (45-68 at commencement of the study I think). The most notable feature was declining cholesterol throughout the study period. Why does cholesterol decline in older people? Do they all take up WFPB diets and adopt challenging exercise regimes? Or do older people just tend to be sicker than younger people?

      Sickness and injury cause cholesterol to decline. The sickest people often have the lowest cholesterol. Chronic diseases like cancer and Alzheimers often take decades to develop. Chronic infections like hepatitis can last a lifetime. All these things lower cholesterol often many years before a formal diagnosis eg

      “RESULTS:
      Cholesterol levels in men with dementia and, in particular, those with Alzheimer disease had declined at least 15 years before the diagnosis and remained lower than cholesterol levels in men without dementia throughout that period. The difference in slopes was robust to adjustment for potential confounding factors, including vascular risk factors, weight change, alcohol intake, and use of lipid-lowering agents.
      CONCLUSION:
      A decline in serum total cholesterol levels may be associated with early stages in the development of dementia.”
      http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/fullarticle/793179




      5
      1. Do we NEED a Dr Greger website for those over 65? I’m finding more and more evidence that for people post 65 issues change.

        So if lower T cholesterol is associated with risk of dementia…and mine is at 160…WHY would I want to lower it? According to that chart I’m way into danger territory. Wouldn’t touch statins with a ten foot pole anyway.

        Seems that those over 65 do better on more animal protein. I only eat fish (salmon/sardines) and occasional cheese. Take some essential aminos/gelatin….relatively “clean” protein.

        Wouldn’t be surprised if added oils might be beneficial….I do use some MCT oil. Some EVOO. The usual seed oils that they sneak into foods.

        Those over 65 do better with higher DHEAs…Igf…testosterone levels.

        Seems that biochemically speaking…older people might need to put the pedal to the metal in some ways for better survival potential?

        Can’t expect these young whipper-snappers to give a hoot…even though aging is pretty much a given. Ageism is alive and well…I seem to be amused by my 93 yr old mother…I’ll be lucky or maybe not to reach her age for sure…but I’m 100% sure I’ll get older over time.

        There are age remediation measures on the way…but you’d better save your $ if you expect to see any use from them.




        0
        1. This reverse causation. Alzheimer’s causes cholesterol to decline. Low cholesterol does not cause Alzheimer’s.

          “RESULTS:
          Cholesterol levels in men with dementia and, in particular, those with Alzheimer disease had declined at least 15 years before the diagnosis and remained lower than cholesterol levels in men without dementia throughout that period. The difference in slopes was robust to adjustment for potential confounding factors, including vascular risk factors, weight change, alcohol intake, and use of lipid-lowering agents.
          CONCLUSION:
          A decline in serum total cholesterol levels may be associated with early stages in the development of dementia.”
          http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/fullarticle/793179

          It is the same with weight loss in older people. Being fat in old age is sometimes alleged to be “protective”. Weight loss in older people which is not the result of diet or other lifestyle symptoms, can be a subclinical indicator of eg cancer, Alzheimers or other conditions that cause poor appetite

          “Unintentional weight loss in persons older than 65 years is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. The most common etiologies are malignancy, nonmalignant gastrointestinal disease, and psychiatric conditions. Overall, nonmalignant diseases are more common causes of unintentional weight loss in this population than malignancy. Medication use and polypharmacy can interfere with taste or cause nausea and should not be overlooked. Social factors may contribute to unintentional weight loss.”
          http://www.aafp.org/afp/2014/0501/p718.html

          This may also explain the association between protein intake and mortality in older people. It seems a more credible explanation than assuming high protein intake suddenly switches from being a risk factor to being a protective factor on one;s 65th birthday.




          3
          1. So you are talking correlation not causation.

            Your implication seems to be that people just start going downhill and not much can be done except watch?

            I prefer looking at epidemiology type studies that show associations between certain behaviors and increased lifespan after 65 or so.

            So you have older people maybe living alone…. taking a lot of meds… poor diet…crackers and pop….lose weight and go downhill…(victims of the SAD advertising/medical estab. culture?) vs some of the Japanese studies where higher protein intake results in decreased mortality. Guess which way I’ll probably go. Will still eat mostly veggies though.




            0
          2. I COULD post links to the info I’m talking about…but winning an argument on a forum won’t make me live longer. You people need to reconsider your objectivity. The researchers behind Dr Greger seem to be using the same type of playbook that corporate entities use…only applying it to vegetarianism. Your putting your conclusions ahead of your research?




            1
          3. And yet…I know of several doctors with alzheimer protocols which can both stop progression of and/or reverse the disease. They involve diet/supplements/lifestyle changes. These are clinical trials. No large cohort blind placebo controlled studies.

            So I’d have to say that alzheimers is the consequence in many cases of poor lifestyle choices….SAD diet and so forth.




            1
  9. I have been taking Amla powder after reading about AMLA in HNTD for 6 weeks but this (today’s) video only references Amla extract. What is the effect of regular old Amla powder that I am taking? Is it beneficial for me?




    1
  10. Dr. Greger notes that 500 mg of the amla used in the study was like 1/10 of a teaspoon. In his previous video, he said that 1/2 teaspoon of the powdered amla was equivalent to the amount that dramatically lowered LDL cholesterol in humans. But the amount successfully used in the human study was 2 to 3 grams. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21495900

    I have an ultra-sensitive scale, and measured 1/2 teaspoon of the powder. I got 1.18 grams, not 2 or 3 grams. So 500 mg would be just a little more than 1/4 teaspoon (590 mg, to be exact), not 1/10 of a teaspoon.

    Also, in the study on humans, he diagrams the normal LDL control at 70 mg/dL, which cannot be right, because an LDL of only 70 mg/dL is normally possible only with aggressive statin therapy. The average LDL for non-diabetics is much higher than that. For non-diabetic patients, optimal is considered less than 100; near-optimal, from 100 to 129. So the idea that a normal control would be set at 70 mg/dL is obviously incorrect. It also doesn’t make sense, because the normal experiment starts out above 90, so how could the normal control be at 70??

    Perhaps Dr. Greger simply made a mistake here. I can’t imagine that he wouldn’t know that 70 is too low for a normal control. But that raises the question of the accuracy of the amla results depicted in the same graph. The fact that the normal experiment falls to below 50 mg/dL seems far too low. I would really like to see the actual numbers as presented in the original study.




    2
    1. William Dwyer, some vegans here claimed that they have LDL of 50 and proud of it. I have no idea what they eat but I hope that they are healthy.




      1
      1. They most likely eat no cholesterol and oils. They exercise. WFPB.

        Their liver supplies all the cholesterol their body needs.

        Sounds perfect.




        11
        1. I just looked at mine and it’s 59. WFPBRunner, you’re absolutely right: I’m WFPB, I don’t eat any cholesterol or oil (if I can help it,) and I run (at age 70.) I don’t worry about my LDL.




          7
          1. Lisa that’s great.
            I just got by blood work done yesterday. It will be great but it is still nice to know my lifestyle is paying off. And the running. So important. (Or whatever cardio we prefer)

            Thea if you are reading today’s comment section I wanted to give you my latest ear update. So this summer I decided to start biking and swimming. Kinda tentative about swimming with the ears. Anyhow after a summer of ocean swimming my ear doctor said everything looks great! Swim away! WFPB is the best for what ails you!!




            6
      2. “The new meta-analysis, published July 28, 2014 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, suggests that lowering LDL-cholesterol levels to very low levels results in a significant reduction in cardiovascular events. Individuals with LDL-cholesterol levels <50 mg/dL had a significantly lower risk of major cardiovascular events compared with individuals who had higher LDL-cholesterol levels, including those with LDL levels 50 to <75 mg/dL and 75 to <100 mg/dL."
        https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/828967




        10
    2. William Dwyer, Regarding your statement:

      “Also, in the study on humans, he diagrams the normal LDL control at 70 mg/dL, which cannot be right, because an LDL of only 70 mg/dL is normally possible only with aggressive statin therapy.”.

      Dr Greger covers the science explaining the optimal cholesterol level in this video:

      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/optimal-cholesterol-level/

      He references the research paper that explains the optimal level located here:

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15172426

      The conclusion reached in this research paper indicates that the optimum level of LDL is between 50 and 70 mg/dl




      13
        1. Jerry Lewis, If you watch the video referenced above, this is what the science says! You are free to choose what you want to do with this information. This website is about reporting the science. Here is a quote from the video transcript summarizing the pertinent part of the referenced video:

          “The optimal cholesterol level, the optimal “bad cholesterol” LDL level, is 50 to 70. Accumulating data from multiple lines of evidence consistently demonstrate that that’s where a physiologically normal LDL level would be. That appears to be the threshold above which atherosclerosis and heart attacks develop.

          That’s what we start out with at birth, that’s what our fellow primates have, that’s the level seen in populations free of the heart disease epidemic, but we can also look at all the big randomized controlled cholesterol-lowering trials. This is graphing the progression of atherosclerosis versus LDL cholesterol. More cholesterol, more atherosclerosis; but if you draw a line down through the points, you can estimate that the LDL level at which there is zero progression is down around an LDL cholesterol of 70. You can do the same with the studies preventing heart attacks. Zero coronary heart disease events might be reached down around 55, and those who’ve already had a heart attack and are trying to prevent a second one might need to push their LDL levels even lower.”




          15
        2. What drives people to take statins Jerry are people like you who encourage them to gorge on ‘healthy’ fats. The only fats the human body needs, literally needs, is linoleic and alpha-linolenic. You get both from a WFPB diet.




          10
        1. Well I have a fun short story. One of my patients is on 10 mg statins daily. Over the last year he has changed his diet. No oil. No dairy. WFPB. Stopped the junk. His refrigerator is full off veggies. He does eat a very small amount of turkey a few times a week. (And I see him even giving this up too eventually)

          Anyhow he just had his blood work done and the cardiologist cut him down to 5 mg and wants to see him in 2 months to see if he needs to be taken off completely! And the MD was so encouraging.

          Slowly but surely people will move in the right direction if given the information.




          6
    3. What is “normal” in Western populations may not be physiologically normal for our species.

      “The normal low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol range is 50 to 70 mg/dl for native hunter-gatherers, healthy human neonates, free-living primates, and other wild mammals (all of whom do not develop atherosclerosis). Randomized trial data suggest atherosclerosis progression and coronary heart disease events are minimized when LDL is lowered to <70 mg/dl. No major safety concerns have surfaced in studies that lowered LDL to this range of 50 to 70 mg/dl. The current guidelines setting the target LDL at 100 to 115 mg/dl may lead to substantial undertreatment in high-risk individuals."
      http://www.onlinejacc.org/content/43/11/2142




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  11. for any readers in the uk, I can recommend detoxtrading.co.uk for organic amla powder at a reasonable price (a lot cheaper than amazon)




    5
  12. Just bought some Amla fruit from the fridge at an Indian spice store. $2.39 for 12 oz bag. With all the impurities in powders, figure might as well try the whole gooseberry. Will know more tomorrow when I try it out.




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  13. Hello All,
    I am Susan2, I bought Amla at MOM’s for $12.99 for 60 tablets, USDA organic, non GMO.
    I am nightshade sensitive (very!). After 1 tablet of AMLA, I had serious shoulder pain very similar to what I’ve experienced after eating a certain nightshade, I felt much better when I stopped the AMLA. I researched AMLA and (please correct me) but there seems to be a link with gooseberries and nightshades. Is this correct?

    Getting off the subject a bit, please tell me: What does Dr. Greger have to say about night shades?




    1
    1. Susan there isn’t any good research on night shades. However some people may have a certain food allergy which is easily tested with an elimination diet.




      4
  14. It is time for the FDA to put a nail in the coffin of the “cholesterol” theory. Don’t get me wrong, soybean is nutritious but not because it lowers “cholesterol” and lowers heart disease risk. This is probably the first time that the FDA does anything right. I hope that they will ban statin drug next.

    I predict that within seconds, people here will trash me and the FDA and accuse of working for Big Pharma and Meat Industry whatever that is..

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/30/health/fda-soy-heart-health-claim-bn/index.html

    “But we’ve since learned that not every way of lowering cholesterol has benefits, and some things that do lower cholesterol actually have shown harm, (and) what we know is that there was never any clinical trials ever that showed eating more soy improves heart health,” said Dr. Karol Watson, a cardiologist and director of the UCLA Women’s Cardiovascular Health Center.




    1
    1. Interesting article. So soy is likely helpful (protein for veggie type diets), but doesn’t not appear to help the heart. But I assume that a diet w/ a limited amount of unprocessed soy can well be part of a healthy diet. Seems to work pretty well in Japan.




      2
      1. Can’t you give your cholesterol obsession a rest Jerry? We all;know what you think..

        But most people are not prepared to ignore the evidence and believe internet marketers and assorted cranks instead

        “We assessed whether the association between LDL and ASCVD fulfils the criteria for causality by evaluating the totality of evidence from genetic studies, prospective epidemiologic cohort studies, Mendelian randomization studies, and randomized trials of LDL-lowering therapies. In clinical studies, plasma LDL burden is usually estimated by determination of plasma LDL cholesterol level (LDL-C). Rare genetic mutations that cause reduced LDL receptor function lead to markedly higher LDL-C and a dose-dependent increase in the risk of ASCVD, whereas rare variants leading to lower LDL-C are associated with a correspondingly lower risk of ASCVD. Separate meta-analyses of over 200 prospective cohort studies, Mendelian randomization studies, and randomized trials including more than 2 million participants with over 20 million person-years of follow-up and over 150 000 cardiovascular events demonstrate a remarkably consistent dose-dependent log-linear association between the absolute magnitude of exposure of the vasculature to LDL-C and the risk of ASCVD; and this effect appears to increase with increasing duration of exposure to LDL-C. Both the naturally randomized genetic studies and the randomized intervention trials consistently demonstrate that any mechanism of lowering plasma LDL particle concentration should reduce the risk of ASCVD events proportional to the absolute reduction in LDL-C and the cumulative duration of exposure to lower LDL-C, provided that the achieved reduction in LDL-C is concordant with the reduction in LDL particle number and that there are no competing deleterious off-target effects.”

        https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/doi/10.1093/eurheartj/ehx144/3745109/Low-density-lipoproteins-cause-atherosclerotic




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      2. @Jerry “soy protein is a must if you are a vegan”? Is that so? You really do just make these things up as you go along, don’t you. Unless someone is eating only fruit, they’ll meet their protein requirements as long as they’re eating enough calories. In fact, vegans and vegetarians typically eat 70% more protein than they need-




        8
    2. The point of concern is that food producers not make claims about food that isn’t proven. It has nothing to do with the cholesterol theory. It has to do with packaging, labeling. Etc.




      6
      1. There are all kind of info on the label. Problem is that people don’t read it because they are fixated on “saturated fat” and calorie and ignore the transfat, sugar and carb. The new labeling put sugar in bigger letter so that it stands out but people will likely ignore it and look for “saturated fat” and “calorie”. And you guys and girls are indirectly helping Big Foods to poison the world.

        Case in point is that vegetable oil has zero saturated fat and so it must be good for you.




        0
        1. What do you mean “vegetable oil has zero saturated fat”?

          That is completely false. Canola oil contains saturated fat, so does olive oil etc Then there is avocado oil, coconut oil and palm oil. All vegetable oils.

          You just make this stuff up. The scariest part is that you probably believe your own assertions.




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    3. From the J.L. linked article

      “”If nothing else, it doesn’t contain cholesterol, and it’s not high in saturated fats, so if you’re replacing meat or dairy with soy, you’re automatically getting heart health benefits,” he said.
      Erdman was disappointed but not surprised with the FDA’s announcement, he said.
      After all, he said, the FDA has been “under tremendous pressure” from anti-soy groups like the Weston A. Price Foundation to revoke the claim, despite some studies suggesting that soy has health benefits. “




      1
      1. From the J.L. linked article

        “”If nothing else, it doesn’t contain cholesterol, and it’s not high in saturated fats, so if you’re replacing meat or dairy with soy, you’re automatically getting heart health benefits,” he said.
        Erdman was disappointed but not surprised with the FDA’s announcement, he said.
        After all, he said, the FDA has been “under tremendous pressure” from anti-soy groups like the Weston A. Price Foundation to revoke the claim, despite some studies suggesting that soy has health benefits. ”

        http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/30/health/fda-soy-heart-health-claim-bn/index.html

        My replys are going other than where they were meant to be.




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      2. That guy just repeated the 50 year old theory because that’s where the money is. If he said anything different than this theory then his “research” fund will be cut.

        The Weston A. Price Foundation is never against soy as the CNN article falsely reported. They are only against the false claim, and most importantly against the obsolete 50 year old “cholesterol” theory. Note that they are not against eating plant food either but just against the demonetization of plant food like coconut because it contains “saturated fat”. Just think for a moment how that false theory had cost the world so much in terms of health and money. People have been eating saturated fat for thousand of years and nothing had happened and then the U.S. invented the cholesterol and saturated fat theory 50 years ago and exported to the world and then the entire world is now sick. Where is your conscience by keeping promoting this falsehood?




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      3. That guy just repeated the 50 year old theory because that’s where the money is. If he said anything different than this theory then his “research” fund will be cut.

        The Weston A. Price Foundation is never against soy as the CNN article falsely reported. They are only against the false claim, and most importantly against the obsolete 50 year old “cholesterol” theory. Note that they are not against eating plant food either but just against the demonetization of plant food like coconut because it contains “saturated fat”. Just think for a moment how that false theory had cost the world so much in terms of health and money. People have been eating saturated fat for thousand of years and nothing had happened and then the U.S. invented the cholesterol and saturated fat theory 50 years ago and exported to the world and then the entire world is now sick. Where is your conscience by keeping promoting this falsehood?




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        1. This is just crackpot conspiracy stuff Jerry. The Weston Price crowd say that because they are crackpots. What is your excuse?

          The evidence that high saturated fat consumption is a risk factor, and high blood cholesterol is a risk factor, is absolutely overwhelming
          http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2017/06/15/CIR.000000000000051
          https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/doi/10.1093/eurheartj/ehx144/3745109/Low-density-lipoproteins-cause-atherosclerotic

          People like you who ignore the evidence or simply claim that 50+ years of studies from around the world are “faked” (by whom, why and how ..and why has nobody blown the whistle on a dastardly conspiracy in all that time?). And, when you do refer to studies, you consistently misrepresent what they show. Post after post after post of yours does this

          How many people have died or had their health ruined because they have believed the claims of quacks, charlatans and crackpots? The same utterly false claims that you make. Yet you have the outrageous nerve to ask JJ where is your conscience? Your hypocrisy is staggering.




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  15. Could a teaspoon of Amla powder every day for about six or nine months result in an increase in ALT (SGPT) from 12 to 42 from one year to the next on routine blood tests?




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    1. Hi Katie: this is Dr. Daniela Sozanski PhD Natural Medicine in Atlanta GA and Moderator for Nutritionfacts. I am puzzled by your question. I have been taking amla for about 6 months now for cholesterol lowering purposes and I saw a drop of 30+ points, but not an increase in the ALT marker. My suspicion is that there is another reason for the increase you noted, so I suggest you look at it holistically, with your Dr. or Natural Med practitioner. Also, if you still feel that may be a reason, take less for another 6 months or until you found the real culprit. What was the particular reason for which you were taking amla, if you could share? Thanks, Daniela




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      1. Hi Dr. Sozanski, thank you so much for your reply. I started taking the Amla powder after I saw a video on Nutrition Facts about its antioxidant power, and I just thought that generally it would be a positive addition to my diet. After I saw the increase in my ALT reading, and doing a little research online, I stopped taking the Amla all together, as the addition of it for those number of months was the only change in my habits that I could think of. Upon thinking about it further and especially after watching the current series of Nutrition Facts videos on lycopene supplementation, it seems like Amla powder is a sort of supplement itself, not really a “whole food” product. At any rate, I do appreciate your reply to my post. Do you know of any natural medicine practitioners in southern NH?




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        1. Amla is a supplement???!? Internet quote: “Amla in Ayurveda. Also known as Indian gooseberry and amalaki, amla is one of the most important plants in traditional Ayurvedic medicine and has been prized for its beneficial properties for thousands of years in India.” Also, I have whole amla, or Indian gooseberries, in my freezer…. I cut the pit out and add them to my smoothies; alternatively, I use the dried amla powder when I am short on ambition and time.




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        2. Hi Katie, this is Dr. Sozanski, you are welcome. By discontinuing use, you will be able to determine if Amla was the culprit for your elevated ALT reading. I do recommend that you do test again in a few months. You should be able to see a downwards trend. If not, there may be other causes, as we discussed. I do not consider alma to be a supplement, as it is not an extract, but just the powdered dried plant. You are correct to say however, that Amla powder is not a whole food, as it has been processed by grinding. Do not forget that Ayurveda used it for millennia, they did not quite favor processed foods…. got to trust them a little.
          I do not know practitioners in NH, but if you are looking into Functional health root cause analysis, this can be done via video conference. All the best Daniela

          Dr. Daniela Sozanski, PhD, PScD Sandy Springs GA c: 864-380-8017 Newhealthahead.com ; @Newhealthahead




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        3. Hi Katie

          You can get the gooseberry (Amla) fresh, frozen, dried (very hard on the blender!) or in the dried powered form. It is a fruit.

          Sure sounds magical doesn’t it?




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  16. I check around and all amia sources are all from India. Not that there is anything wrong about India because I have many Indian friends but they told me that they won’t touch their imported foods with a 10 foot pole because of the contamination. And for you guys who care so much about heavy metal when it comes to animal foods.




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    1. Dr. Greger’s Transcript notes: “In the Boston study, both amla and triphala were repeatedly tested—different samples, different brands—and not a single one had any detectable lead, mercury, arsenic, or cadmium. ”

      and

      “When the Boston study came out, there were calls for mandatory testing of all imported dietary supplements for toxic heavy metals. But this study found that the prevalence of metals in U.S.-manufactured Ayurvedic medicine was the same, if not higher, than those imported from India. They found lead levels violating safety limits in products with names like “Worry Free,” a pediatric preparation. Mercury in products like “Breath of Life.” And arsenic levels exceeding EPA limits in triphala. Mercury in triphala, and lead in triphala. Okay, I guess we can scratch that off the list.
      That’s why my smoothies have amla, not triphala.

      Just to put things in perspective, though, *Consumer Reports* recently remeasured mercury levels in canned tuna, and while a serving of triphala may have 46 micrograms of mercury, the average can of white tuna has 1,345.
      But as far as I’m concerned, practically any mercury is too much mercury.”
      (My note: another reason to avoid fish–in this case, tuna….)

      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/amla-and-triphala-tested-for-metals/




      4
      1. Liisa, I hear you, but I am still concerned if there are heavy metals in most spices but not others.

        If this is the only product to lower “cholesterol” if that even means anything, then I may eat but there are plenty of others so why try something complicated? Kind of like spending a fortune on goji berries when you can eat plenty of blueberries.




        1
  17. Hello Dr. Greger. I am a subscriber and love your videos, particularly how science/research driven they are. I wonder, would you consider doing a video on l carnitne? There is a video on VegSource with Dr. Michael Klaper that explains why some people struggle going vegan because of the liver’s ability to downregulate its own ability to produce l carnitine when a person has consumed animal products for a significant period of time. While he does state for most people the ability to produce l carnitine will begin to regenerate, that may not be the case for everyone. I would love to hear your thoughts on this, as well as any advice to overcoming potential challenges to this issue. Here is the link to the video in question: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tJyb1wTxg4




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  18. I thought on a previous video many years ago Dr. Greger mentioned that Amla was better at lowering blood sugar than medicine. But in the recent videos there was no metion about this. If Amla lowers blood sugar, then this is something that all diabetics should take. Has there been any updated research on this?




    1
      1. Thanks Christine but is it possible to let me know if there has been any further research on amla and diabetes? As you know millions of people have diabetes and if amla can help them and there is research to back this up then the word should get out!

        Get Outlook for Android




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  19. I remember a video a few years back in which Dr. Greger noted that many of the plant-based ayurvedic herbal supplements contained high amounts of lead and that supplement ingredients labels are often misleading and untrue. I know it is not Dr. Greger’s policy to endorse brand names on NutrionFacts.org, but in the interest of consumer safety, I was wondering if there are any particular brands of amla supplements that you know are certified lead free and genuine amla?




    1
    1. Hi, Jon Spitz. The following statement is personal opinion, and should in no way be interpreted as an endorsement of any product or company by me or by NutritionFacts. I buy amla and other bulk herb products (not supplements, per se) from Mountain Rose Herbs, and it is my opinion that they have good quality control. I don’t know that anyone has certified lead free products, nor that anyone certifies such things, as lead and other metals are found in many plants, absorbed from soil and water. I recommend inquiring with companies about their quality control processes and published results. I hope that helps!




      1
      1. Hi Christine Kestner,

        Thanks for your reply to my question. I went back to the NutritionFacts archive and found this video by Dr. Greger (https://nutritionfacts.org/video/amla-and-triphala-tested-for-metals/) that gives me pause as to the purity of Ayurvedic  medicines. To quote Dr, Greger:

        “Published in the /Journal of the American Medical Association:/ “Lead, Mercury, and Arsenic in…Ayurvedic Medicines Sold via the Internet.” Once again, one-fifth of the medicines: contaminated.

        When the Boston study came out, there were calls for mandatory testing of all imported dietary supplements for toxic heavy metals. But this study found that the prevalence of metals in U.S.-manufactured Ayurvedic medicine was the same, if not higher, than those imported from India. They found lead levels violating safety limits in products with names like “Worry Free,” a pediatric preparation. Mercury in products like “Breath of Life.” And arsenic levels exceeding EPA limits in triphala. Mercury in triphala, and lead in triphala. Okay, I guess we can scratch that off the list. That’s why my smoothies have amla, not triphala.”

        You’d think the FDA would test these products for heavy metals.




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  20. I have never rolled with laughter(that early in the day yet! I initially picked up the article shortly after 5am.), nor ever expected to, until the Amla presentation! The many talents you have, Dr. Greger, this presentation, albeit informative, and that delivery! Thank you, dear Dr. Greger, for the endorphins, and thank you for elevating my knowledge on many fronts, notwithstanding bugs’ copulation modus operandi, in the privacy of multi-named chambers, for 20 minutes! Rosette-Andrée




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    1. Thanks for your question. We don’t recommend any particular brand. There isn’t any research that says one is better than the other. You can buy it at Indian groceries, or I ordered some of the powder on Amazon.

      Kelly
      NF moderator.




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  21. Here’s trick I discovered for making amla taste a bit better when mixed with water: add turmeric! Sounds crazy, I know, because you’d think the combination would be worse than each herb taken separately – but for whatever reason, the combination of amla and turmeric blunts the harsh tastes of both. I’m not saying the combo is delicious, but it is certainly better than amla or turmeric on their own.




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  22. Dr.Greger or moderators,
    On receiving my amla capsules order, the ingredients unexpectedly list tannins.
    On-line info has me confused about whether these are helpful or harmful. Can you help? Much appreciation.




    0
  23. My amla powder is light brown but the frozen amla berries are greenish yellow. Is the dried powder oxidized? Would I get better results with the frozen amla berries in my smoothie?




    0
    1. Thank you for your question. Most of the studies mentioned in Dr Greger’s videos have used Amla powder which seems to have excellent health promoting properties. Therefore, using the powder in the smoothies is just fine




      1
  24. In the book De Greger mention that a cholesterol less than 70 was very good I just wanted to know if that is the total cholesterol or just LDL?




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  25. In addition to the amla powder that I bought at an Indian store, I also bought some amla capsules from an online seller, and received the capsules today. I broke open one of the capsules and tasted the powder. It had a mild, fruity flavor, unlike the bagged amla powder that I got from the Indian store, which did not taste fruity at all. The powder from the Indian store didn’t taste bad, but the flavor was definitely different from the powder in the amla capsules.

    I’m not especially surprised that the powder in the amla capsule tasted somewhat fruity, as the Indian Gooseberry is a fruit, but then why didn’t the amla powder I got at the Indian store taste the same?

    If any of you have tried the amla powder, what did it taste like to you?




    0
    1. Referring to my previous post, I did another taste test of both amla powders, and this time, the amla from the Indian store tasted much worse than the amla from the capsules. In fact, the amla from the Indian store was so bitter, I was almost inedible. I’ve had the amla from the Indian store for quite a while, and I’m thinking that it may well have oxidized, which would account for the far bitter flavor. The amla from the capsules was probably protected by the capsule enclosure and was evidently much fresher. I’ve decided to throw out the bagged amla from the Indian store and stick with the capsuled amla.




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  26. Amla powder or juice may be practical for clinical trials, but why would we consider it optimal as a dietary choice? For me, I’ve opted to consume the whole amla fruit (available, affordable, frozen at any South Asian grocery) – & they’re not at all unpleasant. They’re a little tart, like a crabapple, though not at crisp. Certainly never bitter or off-tasting. I slice them up daily in my morning porridge, along with berries & spices.

    How much? Tough to know how many amlas it might take to produce 1/2 tsp powdered; for myself, I toss in two whole amlas (each the size of a damson plum). At least I have no worries about heavy metal or other contamination.




    2
    1. Hi Mark,

      While you would absolutely need to consult with your doctor before switching from Warfarin to an amla powder, there does seem to be a beneficial effect of amla powder on thinning the blood. However, more research should be done before this can be used as a complete replacement for blood-thinning drugs like warfarin.

      One must also be careful not to thin the blood too much, so using both Warfarin and amla powder at normal dosages may be unsafe. Again, make sure to speak with your doctor about this.

      Hopefully more research will be done on the matter going forward.




      1
      1. I have never really understood this argument and perhaps someone could point out what I am missing. It is often cited that you must be careful not to take say Nattokinase or Amla etc with Warfarin as it may thin your blood too much. Hey good news because this would mean reducing the dose of Warfarin to counter balance and hence hopefully a reduction of Warfarin side effects eg hardening of arteries.




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    1. Hi Sefi,

      Amla does appear to be safe in normal individuals. However, individuals taking diabetes medications (amla may lower blood sugar levels too low), are prone to bleeding, pregnant women, and those with liver failure should be of more concern regarding the dose. However, even for healthy populations, there is insufficient evidence to provide an acceptable or safe dosage. It is recommended to eat quantities that would be reasonably available in food.

      I hope this helps!




      1
      1. Ok , I always see “extract” of this or that but never any info on how to obtain the “extract”. Can you tell me and everyone how and where to obtain the “extract” please.
        Thank you for your response.




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    1. Does a baby aspirin count as a blood thinner? I am post heart surgery on 81 mg aspirin, and also use amla powder, powdered flax, turmeric too. I tend to bruise fairly easily.




      0
      1. NavyRon,

        I would recommend you to check with a doctor or pharmacist ASAP. This combination could be dangerous and should NOT be mixed with blood thinners, especially if you tend to bruise easily!

        Moderator Adam P.




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  27. Although it was alluded to above I didn’t see a clear answer. We know that there are reasons to be concerned about impurities e.g. lead in Indian supplements, how do we assure a safe source?
    Is there any way to “put it to the test”?




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  28. I asked our doctor but he really doesn’t know much about herbal supplements. He thinks they aren’t very potent. He just said to stay away from omega 3 fish oil.
    We eat flax and chia daily and that doesn’t seem to be a problem.




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