High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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High cholesterol causes can include a variety of reasons including eating the wrong types of fat or being a smoker. Researchers aren’t sure why, but it seems that some types of fasting can potentially improve some risk factors related to heart health and cholesterol. Regular fasting and better heart health might also be linked to the way the body metabolises cholesterol and sugar. Could intermittent fasting help to decrease your low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol.
In a study published in the National Library of Health, improvements in coronary heart disease risk indicators by alternate-day fasting was investigated.
The study involved 16 obese participants who underwent a 10-week trial with three consecutive dietary intervention phases including a two-week baseline control phase, a four-week alternative day fasting (ADF) controlled feeding phase, or a four-week ADF self-selected feeding phase.
After eight weeks of treatment, body weight, fat mass and waist circumference were reduced.
Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and triacylglycerol concentrations were 25 percent and 32 percent lower, discount diflucan respectively, after eight weeks of ADF.
Decreases in LDL-C were related to increased adiponectin and reduced waist circumference.
Lower triacylglycerol concentrations were associated with augmented adiponectin and reduced leptin concentrations post-treatment.
“These findings suggest that adipose tissue parameters may play an important role in mediating the cardioprotective effects of ADF in obese humans,” concluded the study.
In combination with the reduction in body weight, preserved fat-free mass, and decreased waist circumference, it is clear that fasting produces some very powerful improvements in these cardiac risk factors, said world-leading expert on intermittent fasting and nephrologist, Dr Jason Fung
He continued: “But why does fasting work where regular diets fail? Simply put, during fasting, the body switches from burning sugar to burning fat for energy.
“Free fatty acids (FFA) are oxidised for energy and FFA synthesis is reduced (the body is burning fat and not making it).
“The decrease in triacylglycerol synthesis results in a decrease in VLDL (Very Low-Density Lipoprotein) secretion from the liver which results in lowered LDL.
“One way to lower LDL is to make your body burn it off.”
In another study published in Frontier, the impact of intermittent fasting on lipid profiles were analysed.
Sub-optimal HDL is a prognostic marker of cardiovascular disease with intermittent fasting (IF) being a type of energy restriction which may improve serum HDL and other lipids to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, began the study.
The intervention group was recommended to fast for 12 hours during daytime, three times per week for six weeks with pulse rate, blood pressure, body weight, waist circumference, serum lipid profile, and blood glucose levels being measured at baseline and after six weeks.
“Body measurements, including body weight, BMI and waist circumference, showed significant interaction effects, indicating that there were larger reductions in the IF group than in the control group,” said the study.
“Significant interaction effects were also observed for total, and LDL cholesterol with larger improvements in the IF group.”
The study concluded that intermittent fasting may protect cardiovascular health by improving the lipid profile and raising the sub-optimal HDL reducing cardiovascular disorders.
According to Dr Fung, benefits of intermittent fasting may include:
- Reduces weight
- Maintains lean mass
- Decreases waist size
- Minimal change in HDL
- Dramatic reductions in triglycerides
- Dramatic reductions in LDL.
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