Alternative Medicine/herb meds


QUESTION: Hi Sharon!

A lot of info--hope I explain it well enough!

I am on two pretty low-dose prescription meds--Prevastatin 20mg once a day for cholesterol and Diltiazem 120mg once a day for blood pressure. Cholesterol at last check was 190 and my blood pressure has been super (117/77 on average). On the downside, my liver enzymes were high and my resting blood sugar was 122 I believe. I told my doc I only drink one or two drinks a day and he told me that it's not that which is causing my enzymes to be high, it's all the sweet crap I eat. I do have a sweet snack every night (try to make it at least a couple hours before bedtime) with my vitamins. I'm trying to cut down.

I also take the following daily:

1 Citrus Bioflavanoid
1 Quercetin (for allergy relief)
4 Garden of Life Vitamin Code (50 & Wiser) Vitamins
1 NatureWise Ubiquinol with C0Q10
2 NutriGold Triple Strength Omega-3 Gold 1000mg fish oil
2 VitaLife Blood Sugar Balance
2 Vita Breeze Pure Turmeric Cucumin C3 (an anti-flammatory)
2 Jarrow Milk Thistle
3 Himalaya Liver Care
I also take 2 tablespoons of whole Salba seed (NOT Salvia!) with my yogurt

I haven't gone back for testing yet so I'm eager to see if some of the herbs above had any effect on my blood sugar and liver. I do want to say that for a 6'1 185 lb soon-to-be 53 year old male, I feel great. I never feel any swings in my blood sugar and I always have tons of energy.

Since my cholesterol isn't sky-high, I recently started splitting my Prevastatin and halving the dosage. I will do this for about a month or two and when I go back for my test in October or November, I will see if it made my enzymes any lower. I will also try and not eat a lot of fried foods etc. as to not raise my cholesterol.

Any feedback on my supplement regime would be greatly appreciated, but the main reason I'm contacting you is to ask if there's any herbs that would help further reduce my cholesterol (other than the fish oil I'm taking) and not raise my enzymes so I can maybe one day stop taking the Prevastatin. It sucks because I've read many articles on how bad statins are for your long-term well being (muscles, liver, brain, etc) yet I've read other articles on how good statins are for you. Prevastatin is suppose to be a good one. I don't know what to think any more. Your opinion on this is very very appreciated as well.


looks like you've attempted to get yourself on track with this.
While that regime looks like its covering lots of bases, I'm unfamiliar with the brands (quality issues?) and dose is also an important consideration.

However, elevated liver enzymes can be caused by Diltiazem, so this needs to be looked at first.

One sweet treat a night is not a lot of "sweet crap" - so unless you eat lots of refined grains and fruit or fructose-sweetened foods, that is not the issue.

First get your enzymes rechecked.  Consider requesting a different anti-hypertensive..
Then I think you'd be best to see a naturopathic consultant to work through the other issues.

Hope this helps,
Kind regards

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Really? Diltiazem could be doing it more so than the statin? Wow, I always thought statins raised the liver the most. Good to know! Thanks so much!

ANSWER: You're welcome..
Diltiazem hydrochloride is extensively metabolized by the liver and excreted by the kidneys and in bile. As with any drug given over prolonged periods, laboratory parameters of renal and hepatic function should be monitored at regular intervals. The drug should be used with caution in patients with impaired renal or hepatic function. In subacute and chronic dog and rat studies designed to produce toxicity, high doses of Diltiazem were associated with hepatic damage. In special subacute hepatic studies, oral doses of 125 mg/kg and higher in rats were associated with histological changes in the liver which were reversible when the drug was discontinued. In dogs, doses of 20 mg/kg were also associated with hepatic changes; however, these changes were reversible with continued dosing.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: HI again---two more things---one, do you know of any other similar meds that would keep my blood pressure in check without elevating the enzymes? And two, would any of the supplements I'm taking elevate them?

Thanks again!

Hi there.

In terms of the BP medication, I am not a medical doctor and there are so many different antihypertensives available that to research this for you would be onerous on my time.  However, have you looked at other strategies for BP management - your body weight, exercise, stress levels etc are all critical.

Without knowing more about your supplements - eg the ingredients, quality (where produced/CE certification etc) - it is difficult to answer your second question.  There have been many issues with supplements being "contaminated" (deliberately) with pharmaceuticals or accidentally with heavy metals.

Kind regards

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Sharon Erdrich


Any health related question, particularly those related to an holistic approach, using nutrition, herbal medicine, aromatherapy and lifestyle options.


30 years as a registered nurse, Private health consultant and experienced educator of complementary medicine practitioners.

NZAMH, NZ Nursing Council., AIMA (Associate member), Naturopaths of NZ.

Kai Tiaki Journal. Healthy Options Magazine. See my website for downloadable articles.

Reg Nurse, Post Grad Cert Health Science (Nutrition), Dip Herbal Med, Dip Naturopathy, Dip Aromatherapy.

Awards and Honors
Best Research Paper, Top Naturopathic Student (2005)

Past/Present Clients
Varied, from all ages and with a range of health issues.

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