The more LDL you have, the more cholesterol is in circulation and the greater your risk of heart disease. Your total cholesterol level should be less than 200 mg/dL. The LDL should be less than 130 mg/dL and the HDL level should be greater than 35 mg/dL. Lipoprotein (a), or Lp(a) has an additional molecule of an adhesive protein called apolipoprotein.
Niacin has been shown to lower LDL, cholesterol, Lp(a) lipoprotein, triglyceride, and fibrinogen levels while simultaneously raising HDL cholesterol levels. Several studies have compared niacin to standard lipid-lowering drugs, including the statin drugs. The results indicate that while lovastatin produced a greater LDL cholesterol reduction, niacin provided better overall results despite the fact that fewer patients could tolerate a full dosage of niacin because of skin flushing. The percentage increase in HDL cholesterol, a more significant indicator for coronary heart disease, was dramatically in favor of niacin (33 percent versus 7 percent).
Figure 1.3. Lovastatin vs. Niacin in a 26 Week Study
The most common blood lipid abnormality in type 2 diabetic patients is elevated triglyceride, decreased HDL cholesterol levels, and a preponderance of smaller, denser LDL particles.
Garlic has a wide range of well-documented effects useful for the diabetic including helping to improve blood sugar control, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and inhibit some of the factors associated with increased risk for vascular complications of diabetes such as increased fibrinogen levels.
One of the most important nutrients of heart health is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Supplementing CoQ10 (50 to 100 mg per day) is necessary to prevent the depletion of CoQ10 in body tissues while on these drugs. Coenzyme Q10 is available primarily in tablets of capsules.
Diabetic retinopathy has two forms: “simple” retinopathy, consisting of bursting of blood vessels, hemorrhages, and swelling; and proliferative retinopathy, with newly formed vessels, scarring, more serious hemorrhage, and retinal detachment. You should keep an eye on your hemoglobin A1C for maintaining optimal sugar control. The high the A1C level, the greater the risk for retinopathy.
Gamma-linolenic acid has been shown to improve and prevent diabetic neuropathy. Diabetes is associated with a substantial disturbance in essential fatty acid metabolism. One of the key disturbances is the impairment in the process of converting linoleic acid to gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).
Capsaicin is the active component of cayenne pepper (Capisicum frutescens), the ingredient that makes chili peppers hot. Topically applied capsaicin has been shown to be of considerable benefit in relieving the pain of diabetic neuropathy in numerous double-blind studies.
Alpha-lipoic acid, is an approved drug in Germany for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy. The beneficial effects of alpha-lipoic in diabetic neuropathy have been confirmed in several double-blind studies at a dosage of 300 to 600 mg daily.
Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) is probably best known for its ability to improve blood flow to the brain, but it also improves blood flow to the hands and feet. More than twenty double-blind clinical trials have shown GBE to be very effective in improving peripheral vascular disease and intermittent claudication.
Recommended reading: How to Prevent and Treat Diabetes with Natural Medicine (Michael Murray, N.D., Michael Lyon, M.D.)