If you're interested in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, then adding supplements that lower cholesterol naturally can make sense. Of course, prior to adding these supplements to your regimen you'll want to have your cholesterol levels checked by your doctor and discuss what is right for you.
The supplements outlined below have been proven by multiple studies to have a beneficial effect on lowering LDL cholesterol ("bad"), increasing HDL ("good"), lowering triglyceride levels, or a combination of all three.
Again, which supplement(s) is best for your situation will depend on your lipid profile and what your physician feels is the best course of action. However, here are 4 great supplements that lower cholesterol you can discuss with them.
4 Supplements That Lower Cholesterol
Supplement #1: Niacin
Niacin (Vitamin B3) is a vasodilator that has been proven to lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol in high doses (500mg to 2000mg daily). It is believed that Niacin lowers cholesterol by dilating your capillaries near the skin helping the body to break up toxins and excess fat, including cholesterol, so that it can be taken to the liver and processed.
Niacin is famous for causing a "flushing" sensation where your skin can turn purple and itchy. This is normal, since you are seeing the increasing blood flow near the surface of the skin. The itching is caused by a rapid release of histamine. Though uncomfortable, this is normal and completely safe.
Note: Several companies sell "flush-free" or "time release" Niacin. These products are not the same chemical as regular Niacin and have not been proven to lower cholesterol to the same degree as the real vitamin.
If your goal is to lower cholesterol, we'd avoid the flush free version until studies have shown it to be as effective as regular Niacin.
Supplement #2: Red Yeast Rice
Red Yeast Rice contains the same active ingredient as the statin drug Lovastatin and has been shown to be extremely powerful for lowering cholesterol naturally. However, Red Yeast Rice can also have similar side effects as statin drugs, so it is best to get your liver enzymes checked regularly if you take it.
This is an amazing supplement that lowers cholesterol and has the added benefit of improving colon regularity (another potential reason for its effectiveness).
Supplement #3: Psyllium Husk
Fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet and for maintaining optimal bowel function. Psyllium is a supplement that lowers cholesterol by absorbing dietary cholesterol in the intestinal track, removing it from the body.
Psyllium comes in pill or powder form and is usually taken with 12 oz of water. In your body the Psyllium Husk turns into a gel that pushes waste out your colon; essentially acting as a "cleansing" agent.
Studies have shown that Psyllium can help lower cholesterol between 15 and 30% when taken daily and combined with a low cholesterol diet.
Note: Taking large amounts of Psyllium can result in gas and intestinal discomfort. Because of that, it is best to start with a small dose and increase over time.
Supplement #4: Plant Sterols and Stanols
Plant Sterols and Stanols are similar to cholesterol made by humans; except they are made by plants. They are an incredible supplement for lowering cholesterol naturally, as they have been shown to block the absorption of dietary cholesterol.
A study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association showed a diet containing Plant Sterols and Stanols lowered LDL cholesterol in the study population by an average of 13%.
Conclusion: There are a lot of great supplements for lowering cholesterol naturally, but these 4 have shown the most promise.
As with all supplement advice; especially advise geared toward addressing an underlying health issue, it is always best to have your blood tested and to speak to your physician before starting a regimen. These supplement are a great alternative for some people, but they may not be perfect for everyone.