10 mg cholesterol listed under Supplement Facts in your Multi-vitamin Powder?

Published: January 29, 2013
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I noticed under Supplement Facts in the multi-vitamin powder container I've just received, that it lists 10 mgs of Cholesterol I'm concerned because I've been on Simvastatin and Lisinopril for years. My primary physician is concerned about my cholesterol and asked me to inquire about this matter relating to your powder before doing away with it. I called the number on the label and was told that your company lists the amount of cholesterol, unlike other companies, because it is truthfully the amount of cholesterol coming from the ingredients in this powder. Please forgive my use of lay language here but I AM concerned about this large amount of cholesterol in this product, and would very much like to understand more about this matter before having to dispose of it. Could you please possibly explain the quantity of this ingredient in your powder, whether it is made up of so-called "good" cholesterol or "bad" cholesterol, and why there are so many milligrams of it? Thank you, Prof J Hill

Answer

Dear Prof. Hill, Interesting question. Happy to address it. The 10 mg of cholesterol in the powder, which is actually a fairly modest amount, comes from the whey. Not all cholesterol sources are equal, and numerous studies of eating 6 eggs a day for 6 weeks (with 1200 mg per day of cholesterol) showed no significant effect on blood cholesterol levels. So it is unlikely that the 10 mg of cholesterol from the whey is going to have a significant effect on blood lipid levels. More importantly, whey protein has been suggested as having Cardioprotective effects. Animal studies have also shown that whey results in decreased liver cholesterol deposition and increase bile clearance relative to casseine (the other major milk protein). In addition, the B vitamins in the powder also help to decrease elevated homocysteine levels, and research suggests that increased magnesium intake has multiple health benefits, including being cardioprotective and decreasing the tendency to arrhythmias. So overall, it would be expected that this nutrient combination is an excellent one for the heart.

As an aside, unless you have diabetes or known heart disease, the benefit versus the risk of the statins is pretty questionable. Leaving off the statistical juggling that occurs when people with known heart disease (secondary prevention) were added into studies of people taking statins for primary prevention, the benefits of statins for those with no known heart disease (primary prevention) is quite low – on the order of a 10% drop. To put this in perspective, eating a small square of chocolate each day is associated with a 20 to 50% drop in heart disease risk, optimizing thyroid levels (even in people with normal blood tests) is associated with a greater than 30% drop in heart disease. In my experience, cholesterol is more like the smoke coming from a fire, suggesting that a problem needs to be addressed. Simply blowing away the smoke causes little benefit. Instead, in males and elevated cholesterol suggests that thyroid (and in males testosterone) levels may be inadequate and sugar intakes too high as the direct cause of the high cholesterol. Research suggests that optimizing thyroid function (and in men testosterone) does significantly lower heart attack risk, while decreasing the risk of metabolic syndrome in general. It does these while improving overall clinical condition and well-being, while the statins are more likely to cause fatigue and in a small subset can cause muscle pain which is often debilitating. Hope this is helpful.

Best wishes,

Jacob Teitelbaum M.D.

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of four research studies on their treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome From Fatigued to Fantastic! and his newer The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution.  Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health. 

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