Not Just for Regularity Anymore – Meta Heart Health
Posted 7/1/2016 by UHBlog
It turns out your grandmother was right. Not only will you be more “regular” by eating fiber, but you may be able to control your high bad cholesterol (LDL) as well.
More than 71 million people have high LDL levels, which increases the likelihood of having a heart attack, stroke or other conditions related to coronary heart disease. In the past, the single best way to lower LDL levels – other than through lifestyle modifications – was to take a statin drug. But studies now show that the same food supplement product your grandma used – Metamucil – helps lower LDL and total cholesterol, too.
“The product is called Meta Daily Heart Health, and it offers an integrative health approach to addressing high cholesterol that resonates with patients,” says cardiologist
Daniel Simon, MD.
At your wellness check-up, your doctor orders a blood test to check your cholesterol levels, which is measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood.
“The ideal LDL cholesterol level is less than 130 mg/dL in patients without heart disease,” he says. “If we draw blood and LDL cholesterol comes back at 190 mg/dL or above, our prevention guidelines recommend optimal lifestyle modification before initiating lifelong drug therapy with statin medication. Typically, we recommend that you exercise five days a week for 20 to 30 minutes each time, weight loss if necessary, and a healthy diet, such as American Heart Association Step 2 diet, to lower cholesterol.”
According to Dr. Simon, most people will comply to some degree, but they may not be able to get their LDL down to 130 mg/dL before their follow-up appointment. It's at that point, many doctors will prescribe statin drugs.
“We’re now also recommending that patients consider Meta Daily Heart Health before drug therapy,” Dr. Simon says. “In patients who are making reasonable lifestyle modifications, this natural vegetable product is helpful in lowering cholesterol up to 10 percent – possibly even higher in some patients.”
The product – which contains psyllium husk, a natural soluble, viscous, gel-forming fiber – works by trapping and eliminating bile via your stool. Bile acids help you to digest dietary fat and are normally reabsorbed to be used again. The psyllium in Meta Daily Heart Health forms a thick gel trapping and preventing the re-absorption of some bile acids that is removed as food waste. In response, your liver removes cholesterol from the bloodstream to make more bile acids, lowering serum total and LDL cholesterol.
“We are also seeing other benefits with this product, such as blood pressure lowering and reductions in markers of blood sugar elevation in patients with diabetes,” Dr. Simon says.
“When patients find out they can have these kinds of benefits from a natural fiber product, most people say, ‘I'm game, I'm in,’” he says. “I really can't think of a downside to using this product. It's convenient, it's easy to use and it will help you get more fiber in your diet, which most of us are lacking. Plus, it has the potential to reduce coronary heart disease as a consequence of lowering cholesterol.”
Daniel Simon, MD is a cardiologist, director of University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute. You can request an appointment with Dr. Simon or any other University Hospitals doctor online.