The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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  • Recent Comments

    LipidShield: The rest of the story

    A news release promotes this product as a “natural cholesterol supplement [that is] effective without side effects.”

    And on the LipidShield website there is an unpublished study in 30 men and women to prove it.

    Here are the significant findings recorded with LipidShield from the start of treatment to day 56.

    • Total cholesterol: -17%
    • LDL (bad) cholesterol: -17%
    • Triglycerides: -47%

    LipidShield contains the following ingredients.

    • Red yeast rice
    • Policosanol
    • Niacin
    • Selenium
    • Guggulipid
    • Sterols and stanols

    The bottom line?
    The changes in cholesterol levels are modest compared to prescription statins. The change in triglyceride blood levels is about what you get with prescription Omacor.

    It’s unfortunate that this study was never published in a reviewed medical journal. Perhaps the manufacturer was unwilling to share specifics about the concentrations of ingredients in this product.

    There is also no mention of safety and tolerability of the product.

    Regarding the LipidShield website, the information presented on the ingredients is incomplete. So, I added the missing information here.

    Red yeast rice

    • Lowers LDL-cholesterol about 22%.
    • Safety studies have not been done.
    • As it contains the same active ingredient as the statins, a similar safety profile might be anticipated.

    Policosanol

    • Outside of studies done in Cuba, this drug does not reliably lower LDL-cholesterol.
    • There is evidence that its side effects are likely to be similar to statins.
    • Report any unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness to your doctor.

    Niacin

    • Side effects (flushing with warmth, redness, itching and/or tingling) limit the ability of many people to use niacin.

    Selenium

    • The available evidence does not support using selenium to prevent heart disease.

    Guggulipid

    • A Medscape review reports that it actually increased LDL-cholesterol in some studies and reports of individual patients.

    Sterols and Stanols

    • Minimally effective in lowering LDL-cholesterol
    • No change in triglycerides.

    5/26/07 14:49 JR

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