In 2005 I discovered the first edition of Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live, whose approach to a healthy (vegetarian-based, but not necessarily exclusively vegetarian) diet keenly intrigued me. It wasn’t long thereafter that I discovered Fuhrman’s website (drfuhrman.com), which, among other things, features his “shop” where you can order such dietary supplements as the subject of this review.
The primary purpose of LDL Protect is to support healthy cholesterol levels without resorting to such statins as the widely prescribed Lipitor. Statins reportedly entail some risk of adverse side effects (e.g., raised liver enzymes and muscle problems).
Around mid 2005, a blood test revealed that I (then) had a worrisomely high LDL level: 162 (mg/dL). [My "Total Cholesterol" was then 255 (today it's 194).] Although my regular doctor would’ve routinely advised me to immediately begin taking a statin (almost certainly Lipitor, which, at that time, had no available generic equivalent and hence would've been relatively expensive), I balked at going down that “pharmaceutical” road. Why? Well, partly, I suspected that my LDL level had gotten only “temporarily” out of whack due to some unfortunate dietary choices (involving saturated fats) I’d been making during the prior few months of that year. Also, I couldn’t forget something I’d recently discovered in Barry Sears’ books The Omega Rx Zone and The Anti-Inflammation Zone. According to Sears’ information, I myself needn’t unduly fear imminent cardiovascular catastrophe, insofar as my healthfully high “HDL” number (then 77 mg/dL, and today 68 mg/dL) and my healthfully low “triglycerides” number (then 77, and today 47) should have safely counterbalanced my relatively “bad” LDL number (then 162, and today 117) . [I won’t go into Sears' tedious “whys and wherefores” here; but if you’re particularly curious you can peruse either of his aforementioned books.]
Regardless of whether Sears’ pertinent remarks in those books are absolutely scientifically tenable (something a layman like me shouldn’t profess to know), in my quest to lower my LDL I opted not to take statins. Instead, I did two things: (1) I improved my diet by scrupulously limiting daily intake of [detrimental varieties of] saturated fats; and (2) I began taking Fuhrman’s LDL Protect daily with virtually any meal containing an appreciable amount of cholesterol or (especially) saturated fat.
According to this product’s “Supplement Facts” label, the “Serving Size” is “3 tablets;” and the “Suggested Use” line reads: “take 2-4 tablets daily with meals.”
Dr. Fuhrman claims that this product features:
—100% natural, food-derived ingredients;
—Plant sterols (which are FDA-approved for lowering cholesterol levels);
—Certain whole-food extracts shown in scientific studies to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure and promote blood vessel health.
Specifically, those “whole food extracts” are:
—Premium grade pomegranate extract;
—Chokeberry fruit extract;
—Green tea extract.
Fuhrman also asserts that LDL Protect is:
—Safe and effective in clinical trials;
Each virtually oval tablet is not quite three fourths of an inch long. Each tablet’s hard, smooth surface isn’t quite as slick as that of a typical gelcap; consequently, some users might absolutely require a little liquid to swallow these tablets. Generally, I myself (at age 57) find these tablets satisfactorily easy to swallow.
Note: You can behold this product’s “Supplement Facts” label (which, among other things, states precisely how many milligrams of plant sterols [240 mg], pomegranate extract [100 mg], Chokeberry fruit extract [240 mg], and Green tea extract [450 mg] each dose contains) by going to (and scrolling downward on) the following webpage: http://www.drfuhrman.com/shop/LDLProtect.aspx
Mind, I’m not here to declare that taking statins is necessarily unwise. (Indeed, for all I know, taking such a doctor-prescribed drug could be an absolute lifesaver for certain individuals.) Moreover, I’m certainly in no position to conduct any “scientific” tests of such alternative supplements as Dr. Fuhrman’s LDL Protect. But I do feel comfortable averring that this “all-natural” supplement doesn’t appear to have done me any harm whatsoever, and—especially considering that a recent routine “treadmill” (heart-stress) test at a local hospital verified that my heart is fully healthy—I think that LDL Protect just might indeed provide some significant health benefit. In any case, I believe that it almost certainly can’t hurt to take the suggested “2 to 4 tablets” (with meals) daily.
About the only thing that I dislike about this product is its cost. $48.99 for a mere 60-day supply seems exorbitant. Accordingly, being an early-retired—perforce frugal—consumer, I myself generally only take one or more [a daily total of up to four] of these tablets with those particular meals containing appreciable levels of saturated fat and/or cholesterol. But if you yourself aren’t unduly bothered by its price, the “all-natural” LDL Protect might be something you should consider adding to your regular arsenal of daily supplements, Just don't necessarily expect your average, mainstream American doctor to warmly endorse such a (non-prescription) approach to lowering your cholesterol!
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