Natural supplements that reduce your cholesterol
There are many natural supplements sold in pharmacies these days that claim to reduce cholesterol. The supplement always seems to advertise this new wonder herb that magically reduces your cholesterol. But what are the tried-and-true natural supplements that have research supporting their use in cholesterol management?
Citrus Bergamot Extract
Bergamot is a citrus fruit grown almost exclusively in Southern Italy. Oil is extracted from the peel which has a strong aromatic scent. This oil is commonly used in earl grey tea and aromatherapy. However, extracts from the juice of the fruit contains high amounts of a chemical known as Bergamot Polyphenols. These polyphenols are potent antioxidants that aid in improving cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels and decrease fat accumulation in the liver.
Studies looking at Citrus Bergamot Extract consumption showed that it increases HDL (Good Cholesterol) levels and decreases LDL (bad cholesterol levels). This was at a dose of 500mg twice a day (1000mg a day). Once with breakfast and once with dinner.
Red Yeast Rice (RYR)
Red yeast rice is essentially fermented. What makes it useful as a cholesterol lowering supplement is that it contains a compound called Monacolin K. This compound is structurally similar to Lovastatin (a pharmaceutical drug used to lower cholesterol levels). Monacolin K levels had to be reduced in RYR in order not to compete with pharmaceutical statins (cholesterol lowering medication) which are expensive.
Monacolin K works by inhibiting cholesterol synthesis in the liver as well as in other tissues such as the testicles, ovaries, and adrenal glands. Therefore, you should check with your medical professional first before using this supplement in order to rule out any condition which might contraindicate the use of RYR.
Studies on RYR have shown a reduction of cholesterol in a dose dependent fashion with RYR. Furthermore, benefits such as lowering blood sugar levels, improved metabolic parameters, and decreased systemic inflammation have been noted in studies looking at RYR.
The typical recommended initial dose is 900mg at breakfast (or 900mg once daily). If not effective, 900mg twice daily (900mg at breakfast and 900mg at dinner) should be used.
Whilst research is limited, Brazil nuts have demonstrated in a study conducted in Brazil to have cholesterol lowering properties. In the study participants were given between 1 to 8 Brazil nuts and the placebo group ate no nuts. It was found in this study that after only consuming 4 Brazil nuts LDL levels decreased by almost 20 points in 9 hours. This is faster than any statin available on the market. Furthermore, LDL levels were decreased for a month.
Although this is a small study and new studies have been produced, this could possibly suggest using 4 Brazil nuts a month to lower LDL.
There you have it. The ultimate supplement stack to lower your cholesterol and perhaps increase you good cholesterol.