Open Letter To the Editor-in-Chief, Journal of the American College of Cardiology
October 27, 2017
Dear Dr. Fuster,
In your recent update to the Expert Consensus Decision Pathway, (1) no specific mention was made of a safe and efficacious non-statin therapy, the plant-based diet.
Vegetarian and vegan diets can be very efficacious in reducing serum cholesterol and, importantly, LDL. Studies have shown that those following a plant-based diet have significantly lower total cholesterol and LDL levels. (2)
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic systemic inflammatory disease of unknown etiology. There is no cure, so long term treatment is indicated. Medication-based therapies comprise several classes of agents, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), non-biologic and biologic disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), immunosuppressants, and corticosteroids. Other standard treatments include physical therapy and surgery.
Surveys have shown that a substantial proportion of people with RA will try complementary and alternative interventions, perhaps reflecting the lack of complete satisfaction with conventional approaches, and also a desire to help themselves. (1)
A printable (pdf) version of this article is available: hypercholesterolemia-and-atherosclerosis
Hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis are the subject of intensive research the world over. Epidemiological studies investigating different diets, laboratory studies aimed at elucidating the different etiologic factors and their pathogenic mechanisms, as well as a number of clinical and interventional studies, are all active fields of investigation.
As is well known, hypercholesterolemia raises the risk and is a prime etiologic factor of atherosclerosis, which in turn is an etiologic factor in a number of diseases such as essential hypertension, coronary artery disease, and ischemic stroke, just to name a few.
There has been increasing interest in the role played by the gastrointestinal flora in the etiology of a variety disease processes. It had been known that long term changes in diet influenced the human gut microbiome. Recent research has focused on how the flora of those following a vegetarian diet differ from those on other diets, and what advantages that may convey.