Fish oil capsules may help lower triglycerides

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

July 16, 2000|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,Special to the Sun; King Features Syndicate

Q. My latest tests show a cholesterol of 251 (not unusual for me), an HDL of 60 and LDL of 128. I am worried because my triglycerides went from 82 or 88 in the past to 313 this time, with no change of diet. My cholesterol/HDL ratio is good. I already take Lopressor and Dyazide. Now the doctor wants to add Lipitor, but I am reluctant. I've heard that fish can help with some types of blood fats, but I dislike it and couldn't bring myself to eat it regularly. Would fish oil capsules be of any benefit?

A. You have reason to be concerned about your triglyceride count. Researchers believe that elevated levels of this fat are a risk factor for heart disease. A lot of data suggests that fish oil can lower triglycerides quite effectively, and it also helps bring down blood pressure.

We generally recommend eating fish, but since that is not an option for you, please discuss fish oil with your physician. A supervised trial for several months should reveal whether fish oil is beneficial for you. We are sending you our Guide to Cholesterol and Heart Health, which discusses a number of nondrug approaches, explains test results and lists medications that can make your cholesterol go up. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $2 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Graedons' People's Pharmacy, No. C-8, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, N.C. 27717-2027.

Q. My hands are real nasty from weeding and washing dishes. I know I am supposed to wear gloves when I do these things, but I tend to get carried away and dive in without always preparing myself properly. I am tired of spending a lot of money at the drugstore on hand creams that don't help that much. You have written about a farm remedy for cows. Where would I find it?

A. There are several farm products that might be helpful. Bag Balm goes back more than a century and is used to prevent chapping on cows' udders. Udder Cream, used for the same purpose, smells more elegant and feels more like hand cream. Both are excellent, inexpensive moisturizers. Bag Balm is available from the Vermont Dairy Association (800-232-3610), and Udder Cream comes from Redex Industries (800-345-7339). You might also find Hoofmaker helpful for your nails. This horse product comes from Straight Arrow Products (800-827-9815).

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of the People's Pharmacy, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, N.C. 27717, or e-mail them at their Web site (www.peoplespharmacy.com) on the HealthCentral.com network.

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