Guest: Gerald Quigley
Presenter: Patrick Reyes
Guest Bio: Gerald Quigley is a Community Pharmacist and Medical Herbalist with skills in the integration of complementary medicines with prescribed medicines. Gerald’s joint qualifications give him a unique overview of health from a holistic perspective. This means that Gerald not only looks at the symptomatic treatment which leaves a gap in the recovery phase. He is a regular columnist in Retail Pharmacy magazine, and contributor to a wide variety of health and pharmacy publications.
Segment overview: In this segment we welcome Gerald Quigley to discuss how we can maintaining our cholesterol levels within normal range. For more information about cholesterol management please visit www.raydel.com.au
Health Professional Radio – Cholesterol Level Maintenance
Patrick Reyes: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m Patrick Reyes and on today show we are joined by Gerald Quigley. He’s a community pharmacist and medical herbalist with skills in the integration of complementary medicine with prescribed medicine. He’s also a regular columnist in Retail Pharmacy Magazine and contributor to a wide variety of health and pharmacy publication. Welcome to the show Gerald.
Gerald Quigley: Thank you Patrick.
P: Tell the audience at home what it is that you do.
G: I’m a pharmacist as you mentioned. I do a lot of things. I’m a qualification of a master herbalist so I have a medical herbal practice. With there I really practice as a integrative herbalist, my patients tend to arrive with a bag of drugs and a bag of supplements and they say, “What in heaven’s name is going on all of these things?”. I teach, I lecture to the Bachelor of Southern School of Natural Therapist in Melbourne and I teach to the Naturopaths Nutritionist in my therapist in a subject called ‘Drug and Integrated Pharmacology’ where we give them an elementary understanding of the role of drug treatments in a person’s health. Bearing in mind that there’s upsides and there’s sometimes downsides. We teach complementary medicine therapists how to do that.
P: On the topic of cholesterol, when I think of cholesterol all I think of it is like fatty food or food that’s high in saturated fats. I know there are good cholesterol but most people seem to worry about having high cholesterol. What may be some of the effects for having high cholesterol?
G: Well essentially Patrick, what high cholesterol levels do is elevate your risk for cardiovascular disease. But remember, in thinking about cholesterol in food, about 60% of the cholesterol in our body is made in our liver. Our liver has a very important function in helping produce cholesterol a fair bit of which is used in producing bile acids which should digest fats. But cholesterol is an essential substance in our body. We need cholesterol. Cholesterol exists in every cell in our body and sometimes for various reasons, the adverse publicity about perceived high cholesterol levels takes away the benefits that cholesterol offers to every single one of us. For example, cholesterol prevents the walls of each cell from collapsing into a blood … So it’s essential for cell structure. Our cells are designed with liquid drops and cholesterol plays a role in there. It helps our brain to function. It repairs damaged arteries, helps our skin. It’s all about balance with cholesterol Patrick and this attack and this fight that we’re seeing to be constantly remind of what we have to have to keep our cholesterol levels low. Sometimes distract us from the fact that it’s all about balance. The balance between the so called good and the so called bad.
P: What are some of the main differences between good and bad cholesterol?
G: Bear in mind that we seem to think that good cholesterol is protective and we seem to think that bad or LDL cholesterol, that’s called LDL means ‘Low Lipoprotein Cholesterol’. The difference seems to be that the focus is really on managing that LDL. It’s oxidized LDL, which appears to be causing a lot of the issues that we’re concerned about. Oxidation is just like ageng, when our skin ages we get wrinkles. When LDL cholesterol is oxidized, it does potentially cause some damage. The tendency these days in both drug treatment and in complementary medicine treatment and in nutritional treatment is to manage that so called bad cholesterol and keep this so called good cholesterol at decent levels. Bear in mind as well Patrick, that it’s the particle size of the cholesterol that also plays a role. The total cholesterol that we get quite at constantly in our blood levels is only part of the picture. We need to look at the levels and the ratios of the levels and any way we can do to maintain lower levels of the so called bad or LDL cholesterol is certainly worth considering.
P: What are some ways that people can manage their cholesterol levels?
G: From a nutrition perspective, we look at three fatty acids things like krill. We look at legumes, and beans, and nuts, and oats, and avocado and olive oil, these lots of different things. But an interesting nutrient which has arrived is actually from Cuba. It’s a sugar cane, wax alcohol which in clinical trials and we have an expert from Cuba here recently lecturing to a huge conference. In clinical trials, what the substance does, this sugar cane wax alcohol and it’s been given a name Polycosanol. What it does is help control some of the oxidation of that bad cholesterol or that so called LDL cholesterol. That’s very important, because … protects all about blood vessels. It helps us with cholesterol, because that’s probably our topic today. But it actually helps the health of all about blood vessels right across the board particularly the main ones. Every single tube which contains our blood infect gets some measure of protection.
P: Some of the effects of having high cholesterol can lead to arteriosclerosis. Can you tell us what arteriosclerosis is?
G: This is essentially damaged to the blood vessel walls. It’s a plaque accumulation Patrick which means that … so called clogging, that common term clogging over the arteries. We really need to keep these pathways about bloodstream in top shape. We do that with exercising essentially. We do it with looking at some proper nutritional suggestions like stopping smoking and reducing alcohol intake and you mentioned fatty foods at the start of our chat. Fat food every now and then is okay. But it’s how we deal with the fatty food that’s very important and that cholesterol plays a role there because it helps us to produce bile salt. Arteriosclerosis is really, that’s the issue, that’s a vascular health issue that confronts a lot us as we age. That’s another challenge today Patrick if we are living to a longer age towards the end of older age. We want to be as well as we possibly can, quality of life as good as it possibly we can. With this few interventions as possible and that might mean we take probably more responsibility for our own health than just going to the system and hoping we can correct the problem which has occurred.
P: Which would you say is better for arteriosclerosis? Will it be prevention or treatment?
G: Prevention is the way of the future Patrick. If we know some of the courses of arteriosclerosis, and that usually, it last our related and we tend to blame genetic sometimes. It’s good to blame the relatives if that’s possible but they can’t take the blame for everything. What if we can maintain the health of active … so we can maintain circulation to peripheral areas of our body particularly our brain and our eyes, legs, hands and feet. Then we’re on the way to a quality of life improvement that we can trigger for the rest of our days. This doesn’t happen overnight Patrick, this takes many years to develop. This interventionss we talk about, we’ve got to start educating folk that it’s time to take some responsibility. Far, far easier to reduce the risk of the problem developing than throw the kitchen cabinet at it once it’s there, then we never get things back to normal.
P: Is there a way to increase healthy cholesterol naturally?
G: I mentioned some of the food groups before and remember its balance. It’s all about ratios of the total cholesterol to your good cholesterol. The triglycerides, we have mentioned that they can be a problem with the fat in our bloodstream as well. Exercise, absolutely important. Proper food choices and when you mention to folks about proper food choices, we all know what they are. Which is don’t like take them if we get a choice sometimes. We look at the easy options of usually high carbon, high salt. Those sort of things but it’s all about balance. If we can keep the ratios between the HDL or good cholesterol and the focus these days tends to be on the low density lipoprotein or LDL and stop it from being oxidized with any number of the nutritionally input as I have mentioned, as well as the sugar cane wax alcohol. Then, all of those things mean that we keep the pipes nice and clean. We reduced the risk of damage being done and if damage is done it is repaired efficiently.
P: Before we go ahead and end the segment right here, what’s the biggest misconception that the public has had about cholesterol?
G: I think the biggest misconception Patrick is this focus on the total, this total number. You can see people’s eyes blazed oval when they appear and they say, “My cholesterol is X and now I’ve got to go on to other options.”. What we have to do is point out as we mentioned earlier, the importance of having healthy cholesterol levels of moving away from this focus on the total and having some idea of where our HDL, good and LDL, bad levels lie. From that, we can see the changes as we improve our lifestyle, we get more exercise, we perhaps lose some weight, we move away from high carbs and move on to better protein and better fats, healthy fats and you can see the changes. The change of the total number which is the focus is quite slow. But if we can shift the ratios up and down and make those ratios healthier, everybody feels that they’re little bit involved. It’s almost empowering our patients to take some responsibility for themselves and that in the long term makes the difference.
P: It’s been a pleasure talking with you today Gerald.
G: My pleasure Patrick. Thank you for the chat.
P: Thank you. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Patrick Reyes. We’ve been in conversation with Gerald Quigley as we talked about the good and bad cholesterol and effects of high cholesterol that could lead to if it’s not managed correctly. If you’ve missed our conversation or if you’d like to listen to this interview again, transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm. You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.