Can a fruit you’ve probably never heard of that’s native to India be just as effective for lowering cholesterol as Lipitor (atorvastatin), the most-prescribed statin drug?
Research published in a diabetes medical journal suggests that in patients with type 2 diabetes, amla fruit, aka Indian gooseberry, significantly raises HDL (the “good” cholesterol) and lowers LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels just as effectively as Lipitor.
Native to India and elsewhere in Asia, amla has many uses in herbal medicine. (It’s also a culinary ingredient in the subcontinent.) One of three exotic fruits in the formula, triphala, amla is also believed by natural health experts to benefit the gut microbiome.
Rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants, amla may protect the cardiovascular system. In the same study referenced above, amla was shown to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation markers.
Lipitor was approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996. Developed by Pfizer, the New York City-based drug giant that’s currently the world’s leading pharmaceutical company, Lipitor’s patent expired in 2011.
But before Lipitor’s generic equivalent, atorvastatin, one of the most prescribed drugs in the world, hit the market, Lipitor, according to Statista.com, earned Pfizer nearly $2 billion in revenue, in 2019. In 2006, when Pfizer still held a patent on Lipitor, the drug generated $13 billion in revenue.
And how does amla compare to Zocor (simvastatin), another leading cholesterol-lowering drug, which was prescribed over 48 million times in 2018?
Both amla and Zocor in this study from India were shown to significantly reduce cholesterol. But only the participants given amla experienced a significant reduction in blood pressure. The researchers suggested, “Amla … would offer significant protection against atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease, with reduction in the dose and adverse effects of [Zocor].”
Do the studies mean you should give up your cholesterol-lowering medication and buy amla extract powder or pills?
Not at all! Stopping your medication can be hazardous to your health. Speak to your doctor about taking natural remedies for cholesterol in conjunction with your pharmaceutical remedy.
If, over time, your cholesterol markers significantly improve, your doctor may tell you that you can lower the dosage or stop taking it altogether.