A Vital Choice customer shares his experience using diet to dramatically lower triglycerides
According to the American Heart Association and other authorities, supplemental omega-3s from fish can lower elevated triglyceride levels.
But the experience of one longtime customer – Ernest J. Oppenheimer – suggests that a fish-rich diet may also do the job for some people.
We're pleased to publish his letter to Vital Choices … please note that his remarkable results may not apply to everyone.
Mr. Oppenheimer holds a Ph.D. in international relations from the University of Chicago. Readers interested in ordering his limited-edition book, Oppenheimer's Nutritional Autobiography, can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mackerels and sardines have helped protect me from heart attacks and strokes since 1994
By Ernest J. Oppenheimer, Ph.D.*
My active quest for wholesome nutrition started in 1965, when my dentist called attention to the harmful effects of refined sugar on my teeth and gums.
I went to the New York Academy of Medicine library to study these topics. I learned that the massive consumption of refined foodstuffs, including sugar, flour and fats, were major sources of life-threatening illnesses.
I decided to eliminate the refined foodstuffs from my diet. It was not easy to accomplish this objective in 1965.
In 1994, Dr. Arthur S. Lebowitz made a thorough examination of me, including a blood test, at my first visit to his office.
He discovered that my triglyceride level was abnormally high at 345 mg/dL, and pointed out that I was at great risk of a heart attack or stroke.
I asked him whether this risk could be reduced by nutritional measures.
The doctor responded it is possible, but from a medical standpoint it would take too long to get the triglyceride level down to a safer level of 200 mg/dL.
We could explore this option by eliminating fatty meats, butter, cream and cheese and other saturated animal fats from my food intake.
I implemented this program for thirty days. The triglyceride level was reduced by 20 mg/dL.
Dr. Lebowitz pointed out that even if that rate of decline were repeated every month, which was unlikely, I would be at great risk of heart attack or stroke for a long time.
He acknowledged that there was no known medical cure for triglycerides. However, he could give me medication to suppress the symptom. I would have to take the medication for the rest of my life.
I decided to do research on the problem at the New York Academy of Medicine library, one of the best in the world. The librarian brought me stacks of books and bound scientific magazines containing references to triglycerides and foods.
There seemed to be a general consensus that fish high in omega-3 could reduce triglyceride levels.
After more than five hours research I decided on a course of action. From the library I went to a leading seafood store on the west side of Manhattan.
I worked out an arrangement with the person in charge of filleting Spanish mackerel to supply me with two fresh fillets every second day for thirty days. He faithfully carried out his side of the bargain.
I ate eight ounces of fresh mackerel and canned sardines daily. At the end of the thirty days Dr. Lebowitz took a blood test. He was amazed to find that my actions had reduced triglycerides to 200 mg/dL.
When I told him what I had done, he was very .pleased with my performance.
He said it seemed to him that I had discovered a cure for my triglyceride problem, and suggested that I continue to eat mackerel and sardines, but at a rate of 3-4 ounces a day.
I continued to make progress. My latest blood test took place on September 20, 2012. My triglyceride level had declined to 98 mg/dL.
In recent years I have used mackerel and sardines in tins I purchased from VitalChoice, which I find rich and delicious.
The medical profession has become more receptive to using fish as a regular dietary suggestion to their patients.
This orientation was boosted by a Harvard medical school double-blind study which revealed that the 10,000 participants in the study who ate fish twice a week reduced their risk of heart attacks and strokes by about thirty percent.
These results applied equally to men and women participating in the study. More than a million Americans suffer heart attacks or strokes annually.
Many of these illnesses, though not all, may involve high triglyceride levels. They are also a major cause of death.
Readers of this letter should ask their physicians to take blood tests to determine their risk from high triglycerides and other risk factors, and then follow their doctor's guidance.
The financial costs of heart attacks and strokes are enormous. They could run into billions of dollars annually in the United States alone.
If Americans ate more fatty, omega-3-rich fish such as wild salmon, tuna, sablefish, mackerels, and sardines, that could drastically cut health care costs to individuals, their families, insurance companies, and governments at every level.