A Guide to the Most Effective Cholesterol-lowering Supplements
A Guide to the Most Effective Cholesterol-lowering Supplements

High cholesterol can lead to numerous cardiovascular conditions including heart attack and stroke. It is vital to lower the levels of bad cholesterol in the body. Along with a healthy diet and exercise, cholesterol-lowering supplements are a great way to keep high cholesterol in check. In turn, this will lead to a healthy heart. Many cholesterol-lowering supplements are available, and this guide will help you choose the right mix of supplements to lead a healthy life.

The best cholesterol-lowering supplements

Fish oil
These cholesterol-lowering supplements are useful in reducing triglycerides in the body by 30% due to a high content of omega-3 fatty acids. Consumption of this supplement has the potential to reduce the risk of cardiovascular heart disease and sudden cardiac arrest. However, the increased mercury content in fil oil supplements has made people wary. These supplements also have side effects such as bad breath, feeling of nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. They may also interfere with blood-thinning medication, and it is best to consult a doctor about the right dosage.

Artichoke extracts
These supplements may help reduce the total cholesterol levels, especially bad cholesterol, in the body. However, it may cause gas and trigger some allergic reactions. More studies are required to determine its long-term effectiveness.

This B-vitamin helps to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, and aids with the increase of good cholesterol in the body. However, one should only use it under the supervision of a medical practitioner as its side effects can range from a headache, flushing, and nausea to liver damage in rare cases.

Red yeast rice extract
This is one of the most popular cholesterol-lowering supplements. One of its main ingredients, monacolin K, decreases cholesterol in the body. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that it could be harmful as many red yeast rice products contain a medication called lovastatin, and there is no way to regulate the amount of lovastatin in these supplements.

Garlic is another popular cholesterol-lowering supplement, but research shows that it only lowers cholesterol slightly, and it may not be quite effective. The use of garlic in small quantities is good, but according to two studies in 2012 and 2017, it may not reduce cholesterol significantly.

Psyllium is known as a natural fiber-containing supplement and has proven to be effective in controlling cholesterol and reducing triglycerides in the body. This supplement can help people who have high cholesterol even after following a healthy diet. However, psyllium supplements should be taken under medical supervision as high doses can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation.

Barley and soy protein
These supplements may lower cholesterol without any side effects. Products containing barley may also decrease the risk of heart disease, and whole-grain barley foods are useful in lowering cholesterol. Soy protein is useful when used as a substitute for other protein sources that have a high-fat content.

Whey protein
Similar to soy protein, whey protein also helps in reducing cholesterol and triglycerides. However, its side effects can range from gas to vomiting and diarrhea.

Oat bran
It aids in reducing cholesterol and is healthy for the heart. However, as it is a rich source of fiber, too much of it can lead to gas and bloating.

Plant sterols or plant stanols
These oral supplements may help lower the total cholesterol as well as bad cholesterol in the body. However, these can cause side effects such as gas, nausea, indigestion, diarrhea, or constipation. Plant sterols may not work if a person is taking a cholesterol-lowering prescription medication called ezetimibe.

Ground flaxseed
It may help reduce triglycerides, but it comes with a range of side effects that include gas, diarrhea, and bloating. It may also interfere with some kinds of blood-thinning medications.

Green tea extract
Green tea extracts are one of the most commonly used supplements to reduce bad cholesterol, but it can lead to diarrhea, vomiting or gas. It can also interfere with certain types of blood-thinning medications.

Other supplements
Supplements such as policosanol, buckwheat, grape polyphenols, and many other plant-based supplements have been found to have cholesterol-lowering features, but in-depth research on their effectiveness is required. Supplements such as policosanol may interfere with blood-clotting medications.

It is vital to do some research about the benefits and side effects of each supplement and consult a doctor before taking these cholesterol-lowering supplements. Most supplements work to reduce cholesterol, but it is necessary to have a healthy diet and exercise regularly for these supplements to work effectively.

People with higher than normal levels of cholesterol may need prescription medications along with these supplements. It is essential to inform your doctor about the supplements you are taking so that it does not interfere with your prescription medication.

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