Cholesterol levels may be regulated through a healthy diet, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. Supplements can also be effective in lowering cholesterol. The following is a list of natural supplements that can be utilized to help manage and/or reduce unhealthy cholesterol levels.
Guggul is an Indian herb (resin extract) used in Ayurvedic medicine to help reduce cholesterol. It has been shown to increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind) while also lowering the bad LDL cholesterol. According to Ayurvedic use, this gummy herbal resin may improve the liver’s ability to uptake the LDL cholesterol from the blood stream.
According to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, olive leaf extract may help reduce high cholesterol levels. The cholesterol-lowering effects of olive leaf extracts are theorized to come from oleuropein, a substance in the leaf. A study, published in the November, 2008, journal “Chemico-Biological Interactions”, indicated that olive leaf extracts significantly lowered cholesterol levels.
Studies have shown that alfalfa supplements block the absorption of bad cholesterol levels and also help avoid the build-up of plaque. The nutrients and fiber in alfalfa stick to the bad cholesterol in the blood stream and stop it from attaching to the vein walls.
Garlic has been identified by the FDA as a treatment to help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It has been shown to aid in keeping cholesterol in balance by decreasing bad cholesterol levels while elevating the good cholesterol. A number of studies, including one published in the "Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry" found supportive evidence linking garlic extract supplementation with lower total cholesterol and LDL levels.
The leaf, blossom and berry of the hawthorn plant have been utilized to help manage heart issues and high blood pressure for many years. It may also aid in the dilation of blood vessels which support circulation of blood to the heart and help protect against irregular heart beat. Cholesterol levels may also be decreased due to the anti-inflammatory nature of the herb.
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil can be used for numerous ailments and works to decrease bad cholesterol levels and hypertension. The primary ingredient in evening primrose oil is gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid which may aid in protecting against embolism and high cholesterol.
Green tea has been used for centuries to treat various health issues relating to the heart. Research conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Center revealed that the antioxidant properties in green tea could help protect against coronary artery disease. It also indicated that green tea may help reduce bad cholesterol while elevating good cholesterol. Because of green tea’s diuretic effect, it may also assist in decreasing blood pressure. For some people, its caffeine content may contribute to raising blood pressure and heart rate if too much is consumed.
According to an article published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in October 2008, glucomannan was shown to be effective in lowering bad cholesterol, decreasing triglycerides and helping individuals with weight loss. Also called konjac or konjac root, Glucomannan, is a soluble fiber produced from the roots or tubers of the elephant yam plant.
According to the journal "Diabetes Care", Type-2 diabetics who supplemented with cinnamon daily for 40 days experienced as much as a 27% drop in their LDL cholesterol level. The research quoted did not address the use of cinnamon by non-diabetics.
Fenugreek is a spice derived from the seeds of a native Asian plant. It is used in pickling spice mixtures, as an ingredient in curries and as a flavoring for meat, poultry or seafood. A study published in the "Indian Journal of Pharmacology" indicated that supplementing with fenugreek powder may lower total cholesterol levels of people with high blood cholesterol. It is believed this effect is due to fenugreek's high concentration of saponins, compounds that have been shown to lower cholesterol production and absorption.
Policosanol is a mixture of alcohols extracted from sugar cane wax, wheat germ, rice bran or beeswax. More than 80 studies have been published on sugar cane-derived policosanol by a research group at the Medical Surgical Research Center in Havana, Cuba. Results from these studies indicated that daily doses of 5mg to 20mg of policosanol may lower cholesterol and LDL while increasing HDL (high-density lipoprotein).
“The Little Herb Encyclopedia”, 3rdEdition, Jack Ritchason, N.D.
Megan is our product curator and store visionary. Personally vetting every product that comes through the door, she evaluates thousands of items each month with a focus on quality ingredients and value. Well-schooled in the supplements department and the editor of our in-store newsletters, she still insists her main job is raising three daughters! (Wichita, Kansas)
All Eureka Market Education Guides are intended for educational purposes only. The guides are NOT intended to substitute for professional medical consultation and as such, do not diagnose, prescribe or offer personal medical advice. Always consult with your health care professional before taking supplements with prescription medications.