Q. Taking lovastatin has controlled my total cholesterol and bad LDL cholesterol. But my triglycerides were always very high. My doctor had no suggestions, so I decided to try cinnamon.
My triglycerides went from 350 to 150 in four months. I took one-fourth to one-half teaspoon daily with a glass of water.
A. Thanks for sharing your extraordinary results. We have heard from others who have managed to lower cholesterol and blood sugar with a daily dose of cinnamon. Some people report that this spice causes heartburn. We would encourage anyone who considers cinnamon to treat it as a drug and check with a physician about safety and potential interactions.

Q. I dread flying because I suffer so much ear pain when the plane starts descending for a landing. I used to use an oral decongestant like pseudoephedrine to keep my ears open, but it has not been working as well as it used to. On my last flight I was in agony. Chewing gum did no good. Do you have any ideas?

A. Ear pain is caused by a change in cabin pressure so that the pressure inside the ear does not match the pressure on the outside. There are a number of ways to equalize the pressure.
One is to blow up a balloon during descent. Another is to continually sip water. Take along a small bottle in your carry-on bag. We have also heard that sniffing eucalyptus oil or sucking on a menthol cough drop can open the nasal passages that connect to the ears.
One product to try is a nonprescription pressure-regulating earplug called EarPlanes. The special ceramic filter in these silicone earplugs slows the change of pressure. They can be found in pharmacies or on the Web.
Q. I have suffered for years with digestive problems, including gas, bloating and cramps that my doctor blamed on irritable bowel syndrome. I recently decided to eliminate foods with gluten from my diet as an experiment. Now that I am not longer eating anything with wheat, barley or rye, my digestive problems have disappeared. Is there a test to see if I am actually allergic to gluten?
A. Gluten is a protein contained in the grains wheat, rye and barley. Gluten intolerance is not exactly an allergy, but a condition called celiac disease. It is far more common than most people realize.
Symptoms include vague digestive tract complaints such as diarrhea, cramps and bloating. Migraines, recurrent canker sores, anemia, nerve pain, osteoporosis and memory loss could also be linked to undiagnosed celiac disease.
There are blood tests that can help a doctor diagnose celiac disease, particularly the EMA (endomysial antibody) and tTG (tissue transglutaminase) tests.
To help you learn more about the diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease, we are sending you an hour-long CD of our radio interview with one of the country’s leading experts on the issue, Peter Green, MD. Anyone who would like a copy of this CD may send $16 in check or money order to: Graedons’ The People’s Pharmacy®, No. CD-558, P. O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It can also be ordered online at www.peoplespharmacy.com.
Q. Baking soda is fantastic for sweaty underarms. I’ve used it for many years because regular deodorants either cause an allergic reaction or don’t work. Baking soda beats them all.
A. We’re pleased to learn baking soda works for you.

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