How to Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally?

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If you’ve found my website, you’re probably looking for ways to lower your cholesterol without medication.  In this article, we’ll take a look at some of your options to achieve this goal.

Current screening guidelines which give doctors a framework of when to screen individuals for various chronic diseases typically recommend that men start getting their cholesterol levels checked at the age of 40.  For women, the guidelines tend to be a little more relaxed with suggestions that women start at age 50 or after menopause–whichever is sooner.

Assuming you don’t have another medical condition such as diabetes, this testing basically involves a 12-hour fast followed by a simple blood test.  For most people, they find it simplest to stop eating after 8 or 9 pm, then go to the lab first thing in the morning to have their blood work drawn.  After the test, your doctor will typically input values of your cholesterol test (HDL, total cholesterol levels) along with other variables such as smoking status, your blood pressure (whether you’re on medication for hypertension),  age, gender, and whether or not you have diabetes into a Framingham risk calculator.

Here’s the app that I use (from the Canadian Cardiovascular Society) when I’m seeing patients:

lipids-iphone-app

If you’re curious about how this works, you can download it for free from itunes:  click here

As you can see from the picture on the above right, this app actually provides information on what your 10-year cardiovascular disease risk is as well as the corresponding target LDL (bad cholesterol) level.

What’s the Big Deal about High Cholesterol?

Elevated levels of serum cholesterol can dramatically increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes. Maintaining ‘healthy levels’ of cholesterol is important to reduce the risk of these diseases.  When your doctor is treating your high cholesterol levels, it’s important to realize that it’s not a just a number that they’re treating.  Lowering your LDL cholesterol levels and in some cases increasing your HDL cholesterol levels (good cholesterol) can dramatically reduce your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.  Depending on your risk category, your doctor might recommend statin medication along with healthy behaviour modification.

Homer Simpson Cholesterol

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Phytosterols May Lower Cholesterol

The results of a recent study suggest that Omega-3 fatty acids when combined with phytosterols may actually work together to help lower your LDL, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Further, this combination may actually help to elevate your HDL or “good cholesterol” levels.

Intervention:

  • 1.4 g/d (n-3) long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) capsules with or without 2 g phytosterols per day.
  • Phytosterols are phytochemicals which are naturally found in plants. Sources Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids or Omega 3-fatty acids include fish oil or flax oil.

Results:

Total Cholesterol:

  • The combination of phytosterols and (n-3) LCPUFA reduced plasma total cholesterol by 13.3% (P = 0.001), which differed from (n-3) LCPUFA alone (P < 0.001).

LDL-Cholesterol

  • 12.5% decrease (P = 0.002) in the combination group.

HDL-Cholesterol

  • Increased by (n-3) LCPUFA (7.1%; P = 0.01) alone and in combination with phytosterols (8.6%; P = 0.04), whereas phytosterol treatment alone had no effect.

Plasma Triglycerides:

  • Lowered by (n-3) LCPUFA (22.3%; P = 0.004) alone and in combination with phytosterols (25.9%; P = 0.005), whereas phytosterol treatment alone had no effect.

Conclusions:

In conclusion, the combined supplementation with phytosterols and (n-3) LCPUFA has both synergistic and complementary lipid-lowering effects in hyperlipidemic men and women.

The results of this particular study suggest that long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 fatty acids) which are found in fish oil may actually help to naturally lower your LDL and total cholesterol levels. Additionally, the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on lowering bad cholesterol were synergistically enhanced by the addition of phytosterols.

Fish Oil and Red Yeast Rice

Some research has found that red yeast rice either alone or in combination with fish oil is effective for lowering cholesterol levels naturally.

Pistachio Nuts

One resecent study found that a diet consisting of 2-3 ounces per day of pistachio nuts was effective in improving lipid profiles in patients:

Phytostanol Supplements

One study found that consumption of phytostanol margarine was effective in reducing cholesterol levels in both users an non-users of statin medication.

Reference:

  1. Micallef MA, Garg ML. The lipid-lowering effects of phytosterols and (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids are synergistic and complementary in hyperlipidemic men and women. J Nutr. 2008 Jun;138(6):1086-90.

5 thoughts on “How to Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally?

  1. Hi Dr Jarrow,
    your blog is very informative….in today world very few people know about normal levels cholesterol…I am sure now this blog going to help everyone to seriously check they LDL, total and HDL levels…
    Thanking you for precious piece of information…

  2. Dr. Morrow,

    Over the past couple of years I have been faced with increasing Cholesterol and Triglyceride levels. The dietician said my diet was not a serious problem and I felt at a loss as to how to fix the problem without resorting to drugs. In my search I came across products from USANA Health Sciences. Since using their nutritional supplement products I have experienced an increase in energy, a loss of 12 pounds in about 2 months, and a significant reduction in LDL, Triglycerides and total cholesterol. This has made me a firm believer that there are ways to lower Cholesterol levels naturally through nutritional supplementation as indicated in your article “Lower your cholesterol levels naturally?”

    I am very excited about the products USANA has to offer. Some of the ones I am taking are:
    Essentials – USANA’s adult multivitamin product which is a combination of mega antioxidants and chelated minerals that are highly bioavailable. They are a unique blend of powerful antioxidants that provide comprehensive protection from oxidative stress.

    Biomega – which contains ultra-pure, highly concentrated omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA

    CoQuinone (CoQ10) – promotes a stong and healthy cardiovascular system.

    Proflavanol – high concentrations of grape seed extract and vitamin C to support the body’s fight against free-radical damage and oxidative stress.

    “The company voluntarily meets Good Manufacturing Practices(GMPs) for pharmaceuticals-grade products, eclipsing the standards followed by most nutritional product manufacturers. Raw ingredients are quarantined until tested and quality control tests are conducted on the products during manufacturing. Products are laboratory tested and guaranteed to meet USP specifications for quality, potency and disintegration, where applicable. The company is registered with the FDA as a pharmaceutical manufacturer.”

    The above quote comes from the Comparative Guide to Children’s Nutritionals by Lyle MacWilliam, MSc, FP. (He also authored The Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements). In both publications USANA’s Multivitamin products rate 5 out of 5. Whereas, many of the off the shelf products rate around 1 out of 5.

    If you would like more information about the USANA product line go to http://www.USANA.com or contact me directly at t_rbreault@shaw.ca.

  3. Good information sharing

    I have an article entitled “Lowering Your Cholesterol With Medications” at my blog which will be useful reading.

    Hope this will help someone in fighting the high triglycerides level

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