It’s likely you’ve viewed those commercials for cholesterol drugs, typically statins that talk about the ways one might bring about high cholesterol in the body. These are the ads that demonstrate that a piece of food might contribute to high cholesterol and then show a family member’s photo that has an astonishing resemblance to that food. Hyperlipidemia and high cholesterol are often associated with two different things: genetics and dietary choices. Statin drugs, however, are not the only ways to treat high cholesterol. Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture in New York combined with sensible dietary choices can be used to reduce cholesterol levels in the body, and either, lessen one’s reliance on medication or delay usage of it.
A condition in which fat or lipid levels in the blood plasma is high is known as hyperlipidemia. Various types of proteins transport these lipids in to different areas around the body. These proteins are the factors that anyone with high cholesterol is familiar with. The two proteins that play a role in high cholesterol levels are the LDL (low density lipoproteins) and the VLDL (very-low density lipoproteins). The liver is where the proteins are conveyed where they are processed into compounds appropriate for storage as fat or adipose tissue or for immediate usage. When there is a problem with the conversion of LDL and VLDL in the body, which causes excess cholesterol to stay in the bloodstream, hyperlipidemia occurs.
Hyperlipidemia, in Chinese medicine, can be categorized into symptoms resulting from spleen qi deficiency and too much phlegm dampness. The underlying issue is mainly deficiency of spleen qi and phlegm dampness is deemed a branch symptom as it usually occurs due to the deficiency. The spleen qi cannot remove nutrients from consumed meals in an efficient way when it does not function properly. The result is that the excess foods turn into either phlegm dampness or lipids, circulating in the blood. The digestive system’s function and spleen qi, which is its engine, can be weakened by three main factors. One factor is an unhealthy diet. An unhealthy diet can overwork the digestive system and make it hard for the spleen to function properly. Another factor is stress. Frustration, anger, or over worrying, are responses when one is constantly bombarded with stress. Frustration and anger injures the liver which has a close connection with the spleen while the spleen itself gets directly injured by worry. Under times of severe stress, you might notice that your digestive system oftentimes feel a little off. The third factor is genetic or constitutional. A specific amount of yin energy is possessed by each person in birth. As one ages, that amount of yin energy gradually declines. This usually leads to damage of the kidney and liver systems, eventually cuasing the accumulation of phlegm dampness in the body. Like Western medicine, Chinese medicine, regardless of the factor, considers unhealthy dietary choices as the biggest pre-disposing factor for hyperlipidemia and high cholesterol.
New studies dealing with acupuncture’s effectiveness on high cholesterol levels has concentrated on the use of the St (Stomach) 40 acupuncture point. This point is commonly used by practitioners for the clearing of phlegm dampness from the body. Studies conducted on rats led to outcomes in which the experimenters concluded could explain physiologically acupuncture’s ability to reduce triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Apart from the St 40, other acupoints situated around the body are used to help lower stress levels, supplementing spleen qi, and transforming dampness. A few herbs have proven helpful in reducing plasma LDL and VLDL as well. They include notoginseng, angelica root, and reishi mushrooms.
As a practicing acupuncturist, I never advise my patients to stop taking medications without the advice of their doctors but if you’re still not experiencing improvements from your medication and you are lowering your stress levels, exercising, and watching your diet, then a good option would be to try acupuncture. Besides, a lot of people taking medication have acceptable levels of cholesterol because of the medication itself. Those levels can potentially increase again once they stop taking the medication. To be on the safe side, I advise my patients to commit to a plan of treatment and changes in their diet that aim to reduce cholesterol levels below the ones produced by medication alone and then talk to their doctor about lowering their dosage. Obviously, it is vital, to remember that a person can gain other health benefits from acupuncture apart from its cholesterol lowering abilities.
So if you are tired of having to take medication every day for high cholesterol or are concerned about developing this problem, with Chinese medicine treatment, regular acupuncture and a diet based mainly on whole foods and vegetables, you can have control over your condition and just might be able to reduce your cholesterol to normal healthy levels.