Letterman’s Cholesterol Issues – A Wake-Up Call to Us All

David Letterman on 'The Late Show with David Letterman' in New YorkNavy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, shares a laugh with David Letterman during an interview on The Late Show in New York City. Photo Courtesy: Chad J. McNeeley (Department of Defense, USA)

At the age of 52, late-night talk show host David Letterman underwent quintuple bypass surgery due to a constricted artery – the result of out-of-control cholesterol levels. Letterman frequently joked about his battle with high cholesterol on The Late Show with David Letterman; he even went on an all oat-bran diet for some time, which he complained about during his opening monologues.

But, high cholesterol is no joking matter. While it can be tackled through lifestyle changes and natural remedies, not taking action in time can lead to serious health complications – sometimes serious enough to require complicated surgeries as it did for David Letterman. According to the World Health Organization, 56% of all heart disease cases can be attributed to high cholesterol. If that’s not reason enough to take action while you still can, what is?

Natural Prevention and Maintenance

If you suffer from high cholesterol, aside from adjusting your diet and physical activity, you might also consider trying some of these natural remedies:

  • Niacin (Vitamin B3): Proven to boost ‘good’ cholesterol levels in the body, this B vitamin can assist with getting overall cholesterol levels under control. Niacin can be taken as a supplement, though it is also found in many foods such as lean meats, fish, nuts and eggs.
  • Raw Apple Cider Vinegar: This fermented fruit solution is used as an alternative remedy for a variety of health conditions — including high cholesterol — due to its detoxifying nature. It can be prepared at home or purchased in natural food stores and taken with food. Apple cider vinegar is very safe and rich in vitamins and nutrients, making it a healthy dietary supplement whether you suffer from high cholesterol or not.
  • Red Yeast Rice Extract: A dietary staple in China, Japan and other Asian communities, this rice fermented in red yeast has been suggested to have natural properties that assist in lowering cholesterol. Additionally, red yeast rice supplements have been used for a number of years to ease gastric problems. The extract is sold under a variety of names in the dietary supplement market.
  • Artichoke Leaf: Some studies have shown that a compound within the artichoke leaf may help to dispel excess cholesterol from the body. Researchers also speculate that this leaf extract works to block the very same enzyme that statins, or high-cholesterol prescription drugs, are used to block. No adverse effects have been reported from using artichoke leaf as a treatment for high cholesterol, so it’s a natural remedy that’s certainly worth considering.

High cholesterol can strike any person irrespective of their social or economic status. It is a consequence of the food choices that we make for ourselves. With so much health advice available nowadays, however, it should be easy to bring down your levels by sincerely following such advice.

Of course, it’s always advised to check with a qualified physician before trying any new medical or health treatment.


Adrienne RayskiAdrienne writes for special-interest magazines and has worked on the production of women’s lifestyle channels at AOL as well as at E! Entertainment Television. She graduated from CUNY Baruch, where she served as the editor-in-chief of the award-winning student newspaper The Ticker.


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