I've promoted fish oils as a safe and easy means to lower your cholesterol for many years. Some have asked if fish oils work as well as the statin drugs. And the answer I always give is: "They work better." And now a new study has proven this to be true.
The study shows that fish oils raise HDL (good) cholesterol better than the statin drug Lipitor. This is especially true for obese and insulin-resistant men. HDL cholesterol removes excess cholesterol from the cells in your arteries. Low HDL levels can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, particularly for the obese and insulin resistant.
In the six-week study, researchers gave 48 men fish oils and Lipitor, both separately and combined. Fish oil and Lipitor together greatly lowered triglycerides and raised HDL cholesterol levels.
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But fish oil by itself was the only treatment to raise HDL cholesterol. It altered the production and catabolism rates of HDL apolipoproteins (catabolism is the breakdown of complex molecules into simpler molecules). Lipitor did not increase this effect on its own. And the drug appears to stop fish oil's ability to do this. When they combined the two, they had no effect on HDL.
So if you want to lower your cholesterol to healthy levels, fish oils are the way to go. Not only are they safe, they're more effective than statins. And they protect many other parts of your body, such as your brain.
Ref: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 2006; 84(1): 37-43.