Douglas, a 72-year-old gentleman, presented to the office with mild depression and high cholesterol. He has been dealing with high cholesterol most of his adult life. He tried several prescriptions, but had to discontinue each due to side effects. He came to us seeking an alternative.
After the initial consultation, we made some minor modifications to his diet and exercise routine and sent him for some labs to evaluate his cardiac markers, including : a cardio crp, homocysteine, lipid panel and vitamin D levels.
Even though he is a very active man (Douglas does all his yard work and maintains his home with very little help) we added in an aerobic exercise 2-3 times a week His diet was good thanks to his wife who is a great cook, however he had to cut back on his portion size.
At the second office visit, we reviewed the blood work and made some suggestions based on the results. The blood work revealed a total cholesterol in the mid-two hundreds and a very low vitamin D level.
I recommended two supplements, Berberine for his high cholesterol and vitamin D which I was hoping would help his depression. Vitamin D also is so important because it helps hold on to bone mass, is good for cancer prevention, as well as supporting cardiovascular health.
Douglas returned after 6 weeks of his treatment to report he felt like a new man. Depression was no longer an issue–he felt wonderful! He also saw a difference in his joint pain and discomfort that he had not mentioned because he thought it was just due to old age. To his amazement, he then learned that vitamin D can make a difference in joint and muscle pain as well. He had no side effects from taking the berberine and found it easy to incorporate it in to daily schedule. The other success came with the follow up in his cholesterol labs.The cholesterol came down 40 points within six weeks !! Now both his cholesterol and vitamin D are within normal limits and most importantly Douglas said, “I don’t remember when the last time I felt this good!”
Supplement in Focus
Berberine. Berberine is a primary constituent of several plants including European barberry, goldenseal (photo left), goldthread, Oregon grape, phellodendron, and turmeric. Berberine has antihypertensiveeffects, and also lowers blood glucose and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) “the bad” cholesterol. Other preliminary research suggests berberine might have antitumor effects and protect the liver from toxins.