High cholesterol is when cholesterol levels in the blood become very high. LDL (“bad” cholesterol) is considered a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. LDL cholesterol is thought to irritate the lining of blood vessels, causing the arteries to harden.
Natural Remedies To Lower High Cholesterol
Also called niacin, this vitamin helps to lower cholesterol, specifically lowering lower LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol. Studies have found that niacin lowers LDL cholesterol by 10–20%, lowers triglycerides by 20–50% and raises “good” HDL cholesterol by 15–35%. Niacin appears to significantly lower the levels of arteriosclerosis too.
Some researchers suggest that artichoke leaf extract (cynara scolymnus) may help to lower cholesterol. Artichoke leaf extract may work by limiting the synthesis of cholesterol in the body. Artichokes also contain a compound called cynarin, used to increase bile production in the liver and speed the flow of bile from the gallbladder, both of which may increase cholesterol excretion.
Soluble fiber appears to reduce LDL cholesterol by reducing cholesterol absorption in the intestines. It binds to cholesterol so that it is excreted. It can be found as a dietary supplement, such as psyllium powder or also in foods such as the following:
- Legumes like peas and beans
- Fruits like apples, prunes, and berries
- Vegetables like carrots, brussel sprouts, broccoli, and yams
Plant Sterols and Stanols
Plant stanols and sterols (such as beta-sitosterol and sitostanol) are naturally occurring substances found in certain plants. Stanols are added to margarine, orange juice, and dressings. Research has found that plant stanols and sterols might help to lower cholesterol. They are similar in structure to cholesterol and may help block the absorption of cholesterol absorption from the intestines.
Studies have found that stanols significantly reduced total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol but had no significant effect on HDL cholesterol or triglycerides. But they appear to enhance the effects of other methods, such as intake of statin drugs, to lower cholesterol.
Other Helpful Supplements
- Red yeast rice
- Coenzyme Q10
Who Needs To Lower Cholesterol Levels?
High cholesterol is usually treated based on the total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels. The people who need to lower their cholesterol levels and make sure their cholesterol is at a healthy level are the following:
- Individuals with diabetes
- People who smoke
- Anyone who has high blood pressure
- If you have low HDL cholesterol
- Someone who has a family history of early heart disease
- Men of 45 years and older
- Women of 55 years and older
- A person with a 10-year risk of heart attack greater than 20%