The latest wonder drug, Lovaza, is a chemically modified form of this familiar natural product. The patented process that turns everyday fish oil into Lovaza is a method that chelates heavy metals that can be found in ocean-caught fish, transforming them into harmless form. Many other fish oil products, however, remove any heavy metals without adding chemicals… and is there really any reason Type 2 diabetics should be asking their doctors for this drug, anyway?
Lovaza and omega 3 ethyl esters both treat a condition known as hypertriglyceridemia, a condition where triglyceride levels are elevated. The makers of Lovaza seem to believe that Type 2 diabetics need to have this condition explained with cartoon characters, but most Type 2’s can easily understand that uncontrolled blood sugars often occur at the same time as uncontrolled blood fats. Hypertriglyceridemia is a condition of having more than 500mg/dl of triglycerides in the bloodstream. Triglycerides are a storage form of sugar that can be transformed into fat. It’s only natural to have high levels of triglycerides when blood sugar levels are not well controlled.
The importance of keeping triglyceride levels normal is that too many triglycerides in the bloodstream can cause pancreatitis. High triglycerides also make it impossible to use an inexpensive blood test to measure LDL cholesterol. If the doctor is not aware of how LDL is estimated, it is possible a cholesterol test can be misinterpreted when there are high triglycerides. High levels of triglycerides also can cause the appearance of painless, but sometimes itchy white bumps called xanthomas on the knuckles or the sides of the legs.
The usual way to treat this condition is first to get blood sugar levels into better control by eating less carbohydrate. Up to 500mg a day of niacin helps to lower levels, and up 18g a day of fish oil can be used to get triglyceride levels back to normal. Many Type 2 diabetics just need 1 or 2g Lovaza daily.
Lovaza side effects
These are some of the Lovaza side effects:
- dry mouth
- back pain,
- upset stomach,
- skin rash,
- fishy aftertaste,
- loss of appetite
Lovaza, however, can cause all of those symptoms, and it will cost a lot more, too. If you pay for your own medications and your doctor writes a prescription for Lovaza,