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The Grisanti Report

A Reliable Source for Alternative Medical Advice

Report #1268


Written and Researched by Ronald J. Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O

Tony was recently evaluated by his family physician and found that his cholesterol was 327. Concerned that this might be an early warning sign for a pending heart attack, he asked his physician what he should do. Obviously the recommendations were right out of a television commercial. Lipitor was prescribed. Tony was also told to follow a low-cholesterol, low fat diet and check with his physician in three months to have his cholesterol rechecked.

With a family history of heart disease, Tony was determined to do whatever it took to lower his cholesterol. For three months Tony was on a mission: No fat. No meat. No cholesterol!! His diet consisted of bagels with margarine, fruit, pasta, vegetables and all the non-fat foods he could get his hands on. He began taking 10 mgs of Lipitor and worked his way to 40 mgs per day. He followed his physician's recommendations to the letter. His three month cholesterol follow-up was ordered and to Tony's surprise and disappointment his cholesterol had improved, but only by 15 points. A 312 cholesterol was not what he expected! His physician explained that it may take time and that Tony needed to continue with his medication and strict no fat/no cholesterol diet. In fact, his physician recommended that he increase the Lipitor to 80 mg.. the maximum dose allowed.

Again, Tony "pulled his straps up" and gathered his strength and began another three-month course of lowering his cholesterol. With added determination, Tony was confident he would not fall victim to the #1 killer in the country.. heart disease. His thought of his father lying in the hospital after his triple bypass was enough to keep Tony from going off course. The day of recognition was quickly approaching.. his cholesterol was to be checked in two days!! With a slight degree of apprehension, Tony had his blood drawn and had to wait five days before he received the call from his physician's nurse. "Tony, I wanted to call and tell you that your cholesterol results have come in. I don't want you to be too concerned, but your cholesterol has increased to 357." Your physician has scheduled you to see a cardiologist. Tony just knew that he was doomed. At 42 years old, Tony thought, "How could this be? I did everything right. I followed the program to the "T".

Tony is just one of the millions of people who suffer from a resistant high cholesterol. Health food stores are filled with people looking for a natural alternative to lowering their cholesterol. The consumption of garlic by health food zealots is enough to knock you out cold.

Cholesterol Facts

Although Cholesterol has been linked to heart disease, most people are not aware of some of it's more important functions. Cholesterol is responsible for the production of testosterone, natural cortisone and estrogen. The synthetic lowering of cholesterol has been linked to female hormonal problems and increased muscle and joint pain.

Like Tony, the frustration of not being able to effectively lower ones cholesterol runs rampant in our country. The over prescription of Zocar and Lipitor has been linked to a number of serious side effects. These medications, commonly referred to as statins, are some of the most frequently prescribed drug classes in the world with over five million people in the U.S. alone currently taking them.

Cholesterol Lowering Medication Side Effects

Some of the most common side effects are liver damage, sexual dysfunction, tendon inflammation and peripheral neuropathy. One of the more recent problems with cholesterol lowering medications is it's effect on insulin and anti-oxidants. In a recent study, Zocar affected insulin sensitivity by 13% and decreased important anti-oxidants by 22%. It is a well-known fact that decreased insulin sensitivity leads to insulin resistance, to Type II diabetes, and eventually kidney and heart disease.

What is the solution?

In order to lower cholesterol, it is important to understand the significance of why the cholesterol is high in the first place. A little bit of biochemistry will help solve this mystery. Most people with high cholesterol are not guilty of consuming too much cholesterol food. The fact is that cholesterol is synthesized in the body; at least 2000 mg per day. Don't eat enough cholesterol and the body will produce more. Remember, cholesterol is needed for important hormone production such as estrogen and testosterone... to name a few.

The problem lies in a defect or problem in lipid (fat) metabolism. Improve how lipids are metabolized and the cholesterol will improve and normalize.

Case Review

Mary entered my office with an elevated cholesterol of 359. After three years of following the traditional protocol of cholesterol lowering medications and restrictive fat and cholesterol diets, her improvement was to say the least "zilch" - no improvement!!

Review of her medical records confirmed my suspicion that Mary was never evaluated for a lipid metabolism defect or abnormality. The first step in Mary's case was to obtain an essential mineral profile and see if she was deficient in any essential minerals. Essential Mineral Assessment

Results of her mineral test revealed a significant deficiency of magnesium and selenium and a toxic level of copper. In addition, a fatty acid test was ordered which revealed a significant deficiency of omega 3 fatty acids. Fatty Acid Profile

Mary was given a dietary program emphasizing omega 3 foods. In addition, Mary was encouraged to eat a diet consisting of 30% good fats such as olive oil, nuts and avocado etc., 30% low glycemic carbohydrates, and 40% protein. Protein intake consisted of Atlantic salmon (not farm-raised), lamb, antibiotic-free chicken and beef. She was prescribed magnesium, L-carnitine and selenium.

A five week follow-up revealed a dramatic change of Mary's cholesterol from 359 to 173! Mary was able to discontinue her cholesterol medication and continues to maintain her cholesterol well within the optimal range.

It is important to understand that objective testing procedures is the only way to truly make this type of long-lasting improvement. The familiar clichй applies, "One must treat the patient and not the disease."

Routine prescription of a low fat, low cholesterol diet and not much else is inadequate case management which allows what could be a reversible condition progressing to the stage of a life threatening heart condition.

Dr. Grisanti Comments:

It is obvious that biochemical testing should be part of an overall cholesterol assessment. Simply prescribing cholesterol lowering medications such as Lipitor opens the door to additional health challenges. Addressing the underlying biochemical defects or abnormalities may soon prove to be the treatment of the future. As more progressive physicians begin to utilize the medical laboratory testing for lipid metabolism, a greater percentage of cholesterol compromised patients will undoubtedly win the battle against one of the risk factors of cardiovascular disease.


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13: Chazerain P, Hayem G, Hamza S, Best C, Ziza JM. Four cases of tendinopathy in patients on statin therapy.
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15: Phan T, McLeod JG, Pollard JD, Peiris O, Rohan A, Halpern JP. Peripheral neuropathy associated with simvastatin. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1995 May;58(5):625-8.

16: Rizvi K, Hampson JP, Harvey JN. Do lipid-lowering drugs cause erectile dysfunction? A systematic review. Fam Pract. 2002 Feb;19(1):95-8. Review.

17: Bruckert E, Giral P, Heshmati HM, Turpin G. Men treated with hypolipidaemic drugs complain more frequently of erectile dysfunction. J Clin Pharm Ther. 1996 Apr;21(2):89-94.

This page was last revised on July 11, 2002


2001 Ronald J. Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O
NOTICE: This information is provided for educational purposes. Any medical procedures, dietary changes, or nutritional supplements discussed herein should only be undertaken on the advice of a qualified physician.

Ronald J. Grisanti, D.C., D.A.B.C.O
The Grisanti Center for Integrative Medicine
4200 East North Street, Suite 14 • Greenville, SC 29615
(864) 292-0226 • FAX: (864) 268-7022

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