Polypill and Polymeal

How much do you know about Polypill and Polymeal?

If you are like me, then not much. So I did some research. Allow me to share this with you. It may give a new meaning to the word prevention and may stimulate your taste buds as well!

It is no secret that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of death and disability in the affluent societies. There are several risk factors which cause heart disease and stroke. Four of these risk factors (LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, homocysteine, and platelet function) account for most CVD and can be reduced by drugs or vitamins.

So, in 2003, two Professors from the University of London, England published an article in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) titled, “A strategy to reduce cardiovascular disease by more than 80 percent.” And they introduced the concept of the Polypill.

The Polypill will be one pill containing six pharmacological components of commonly used drugs to prevent CVD. These are the drugs used by people at high risk for heart problems and stroke – a statin (to lower cholesterol level), aspirin (as a blood thinner), folic acid (to lower homocysteine), and three anti-hypertensives (a thiazide, a ß blocker, and an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor), all at half dose.

The authors proposed that the Polypill should be taken by everyone aged 55 and older and everyone with existing CVD. And they felt that it would be acceptably safe and with widespread use would have a greater impact on the prevention of disease in the Western world than any other single intervention.

Recently, BMJ reported that at a meeting of experts organized just before Christmas by the US Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta generally supported the idea of a Polypill but would like to see a series of trials to test its safety and efficacy before it is given to the whole population without screening. Sounds like a good idea!

What about the Polymeal? Sounds tastier than Polypill? May be!

From Netherlands comes a paper (BMJ DEC 18, 2004) titled “The Polymeal: a more natural, safer, and probably tastier (than the Polypill) strategy to reduce cardiovascular disease by more than 75 percent.”
The authors of the article say that pharmacological interventions are not the only option for preventing heart disease. A healthy diet and an active lifestyle reduce CVD as well. Certainly, they have a point. Many experts feel that the side-effects and cost of Polypill may be prohibitive. Polymeal may be a safer and tastier alternative.

They looked at the scientific literature and felt that the evidence based recipe should included wine, fish, dark chocolate, fruits, vegetables, garlic, and almonds. This variety of food has been enjoyed by humankind for centuries.

They calculated that a daily consumption of 150 ml of wine, 114 grams fish four times a week, 100 grams of dark chocolate daily, 400 grams of fruit and vegetables daily, 2.7 grams of fresh garlic daily, and 68 grams of almonds daily could reduce CVD by more than 75 percent.

The authors feel that the Polymeal and active lifestyle will bring us happiness and spare us a future of pills and hypochondria. That may be so. Only time will tell. In the meantime, I better learn to pronounce those names on the wine bottles! I don’t want to be left out.

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