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Natural Awakenings San Diego

The Natural Way to Lower Cholesterol

Nov 30, 2011 09:13AM ● By Linda Sechrist

Through the eyes of the unadventurous, David McMahon’s leap from a successful 16-year career in the world of medical devices and research to founding Solana Health, might look very risky. Not so. From McMahon’s perspective, the Italian-manufactured, natural cholesterol-lowering product called Cardiol was a winner to market and distribute.

According to the American Heart Association 120 million American adults suffer from high cholesterol. McMahon was one of them, and has wrestled with the condition for most of his life. Keeping his total cholesterol under 200 with proper diet and exercise worked until he turned 40. Then he started to need a little more help to lower it. Thankfully, rather than a prescription for Statin drugs, McMahon’s physician recommended an all-natural regimen of omega-3 fatty acids, red yeast rice, and supplemental Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ 10).

Red yeast rice is an extract from a naturally occurring fungus. Pharmaceutical companies have synthesized it into a class of drugs called Statins, which are used to lower cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish varieties like sardines and herring. They have several health benefits—including reducing inflammation, raising HDL cholesterol, known as the “good cholesterol,” lowering LDL, the “bad cholesterol” and decreasing triglycerides (blood fats), all of which have been linked to heart attacks.

The 182-pound runner, who also practices yoga and eats well, turned to the Internet to do research on the regimen his doctor recommended. It proved particularly fruitful. “First I found a 2008 Mayo Clinic study, which compared two groups of patients with high cholesterol,” advises McMahon. “One group used Statin drugs and the other used red-yeast rice and omega-3 fatty acids.” The study concluded that both groups saw a significant decrease in their cholesterol levels.

Other studies, McMahon found, showed that it was common for Statin drug-users to report severe muscle pain as a side effect, though that wasn’t the case for those who took red yeast

David McMahon
David McMahon
rice and Omega-3. This group also saw triglycerides drop significantly. Muscle pain from Statins is due to mainly to depletion of CoQ10, and can result in a serious problem.

The good news for McMahon occurred within weeks of starting to use the red yeast rice, omega-3, and CoQ10 supplements, he bought at his local health food store. His cholesterol decreased by 20 percent. The bad news: he had to consume 9 to 12 capsules a day to get to the recommended daily quotas. “It was costing me $80 a month,” recalls McMahon. “And, I learned that red yeast rice is frequently contaminated with Citrinin, a dangerous fungus whose potency can vary from zero to 100 times the stated amount—those were the drawbacks researchers have mentioned while praising the benefits of red yeast rice.”

Again searching online, he found his all-in-one solution, Cardiol, which has been selling in Europe for many years. “Unlike the U.S., Europe regulates its natural supplements and has high standards,” advises McMahon.

After more research on U.S. government regulations, McMahon realized that it was quite challenging to have an Italian-manufactured product shipped to the U.S., so he began a process to register Cardiol with the FDA. He now has exclusive rights to distribute it throughout North America via Solana Health.

As an enthusiastic advocate for Cardiol—because it keeps his LDL “bad” cholesterol levels low, increased his “good cholesterol” levels about 33%, and lowered his triglycerides—McMahon tries to educate more people about this alternative that changed his life. “I believe in it so much that I offer a free 30-day trial and I put my mother on it,” enthuses the Solana Beach resident of 11 years. “I believe anyone who has cholesterol problems should do their homework on natural alternatives, which is why I also offer a free e-book on the topic at”

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