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Natural Supplements to Lower Cholesterol: Which to Choose and How they Work

Taking certain supplements can help to lower high cholesterol levels naturally. Learn which ones are most effective.

Natural Supplements to Lower Cholesterol: Which to Choose and How they Work

Plant sterols, such as those found in sunflower seeds, can help lower cholesterol

Certain supplements can help to lower cholesterol naturally. Please consult your physician before taking natural supplements if you are on prescription medications as interactions may be possible. High cholesterol is a very serious health issue. Working with your doctor to lower your cholesterol levels can be life-saving.

Which supplements work best at lowering cholesterol? This list is a good place to start. 

Fish Oil

  • Fish Oil - A mother forcing a spoonful of cod-liver oil into a reluctant child's mouth is a classic image. Today, capsules make getting the benefits of fish oil much more palatable. Omega 3, an important nutrient found in fatty fish, can slow the rate at which the liver produces LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. These fatty acids are also anti-inflammatory agents and can decrease the growth of plaque in the arteries.
  • Red Yeast Rice - Rice that has been fermented with a type of yeast called monascus purpureus grows a fungus from which the red rice yeast is derived. It has been a staple of many Asian diets for years and is often used as a food coloring. Compounds from red yeast rice work in the liver to slow the production of cholesterol. One of these compounds, monacolin K, is a naturally occuring form of lovastatin. Statins are well-known for their cholesterol lowering abilities.
  • Plant Sterols - Phytosterols are components found in foods such as whole grains and certain vegetables. They decrease LDL cholesterol by interfering with cholesterol absorption in the small intestine. Look for foods with added sterols such as margarine, salad dressing, snacks and juices. Phytosterols are also available in capsule form.
  • Policosanol - Derived from sugar cane, beeswax or yams, policosanol has been show to decrease the production of cholesterol in the liver. It also speeds the breakdown of LDL cholesterol and decreases the stickiness of blood platelets. Policosanol has blood-thinning properties and may not combine well with prescription blood thinners. Remember, talk with your doctor before taking supplements!

Eat a diet rich in fiber by consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables. Exercise often. Have regular checkups and talk with your doctor about natural ways to promote your health. Enjoy a long and rewarding life!

About the Author

Our editor, Jean Fisher, is a former elementary teacher. She offers What's For Dinner? as a free service for busy families.
One delicious meal is suggested for each day of the week, plus an organized grocery shopping list that can be customized to include all your shopping needs.
You will also find two stimulating table topics and one educational after-dinner activity for each day.
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