Can Supplements Lower Your Cholesterol Levels?

Can Supplements Lower Your Cholesterol Levels?

If you have high cholesterol, you may be wondering if taking supplements can help lower your levels. While supplements alone cannot effectively control cholesterol, there is evidence to suggest that certain supplements, when combined with a healthy diet, can make a difference.

There are two main types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, also known as “good” cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol can lead to the buildup of plaque in arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. On the other hand, higher levels of HDL cholesterol are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.

Diet plays a key role in reducing blood cholesterol levels, particularly LDL cholesterol. Making healthy dietary choices, such as consuming more unsaturated fats (found in olive oil and avocado) and less saturated and trans fats (found in animal fats and processed foods), can lower cholesterol levels.

In addition to dietary changes, incorporating soluble fiber into your diet can also significantly reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in the gut, which binds to cholesterol molecules and prevents them from being absorbed into the bloodstream. Good sources of soluble fiber include fruits, vegetables, oats, barley, beans, and lentils.

Supplements such as psyllium, a natural soluble fiber, have been studied extensively and have shown promising results in improving cholesterol levels. Consuming around 10g of psyllium per day as part of a healthy diet can lower total cholesterol levels by 4% and LDL cholesterol levels by 7%.

Probiotics, which help adjust the gut microbiome to favor the elimination of cholesterol, are another supplement that may aid in lowering cholesterol levels. Several studies have shown that probiotics can reduce total cholesterol levels by up to 13%. These studies primarily used probiotics containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis.

Red yeast rice, a non-fiber supplement commonly used in Asia and some European countries, has also gained attention for its potential cholesterol-lowering effects. However, more research is needed to determine the long-term effectiveness and safety of red yeast rice supplements.

It’s important to note that dietary changes and supplements may not be sufficient to lower cholesterol levels significantly. Quitting smoking, reducing stress, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep are also vital for managing cholesterol levels. Depending on your cholesterol levels and other risk factors, your doctor may recommend cholesterol-lowering medications, such as statins.

Overall, while supplements can complement a healthy diet in managing cholesterol levels, it is essential to consult with your doctor and dietitian to develop a comprehensive plan tailored to your individual needs.


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