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Supplements to Control Cholesterol

Nina Ghamrawi, MS, RD, CDE
November 20, 2022
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If you are already controlling your cholesterol with exercise and healthy eating, chances are you are already making improvements to your health. If your cholesterol is stuck or you’d like an extra boost for your health, there are several natural supplements that may benefit you, and others that may just be a waste of money. In this article, we will outline the supplements that are proven to work, those that are not, and those that have risks.

Regardless of what you are trying, all supplements have some risk, however slight. Keep in mind these risks, and always talk with your doctor before starting a supplement, especially when it may have a counter-effect to medications. Before you start reading, here are a few pieces of information to know:

  • High-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is the good cholesterol. If you take supplements, ideally you want ones that either raise, or maintain HDL.
  • Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, is considered ‘bad’ cholesterol. Supplements and foods you eat should aim to lower this number.
  • Triglycerides are a type of free fatty acid in the blood. These can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis, and can also lead to increased cholesterol and heart complications. The lower, the better.

Supplements that are likely Safe and Effective at improving cholesterol

The following supplements may be safe, per Mayo clinic, and various other linked sources below.

Supplements that May Not Work

Supplements that are Unsafe

Takeaways

While all of the above supplements come from natural sources, the tried and true methods of lowering cholesterol that remain most effective are still: quitting smoking, quitting alcohol, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, eating enough fiber (25g for men and 35g for women), and getting regular exercise. As with any supplement, talk with your doctor and dietitian about which supplements, if any, are right for you. And remember, just because it is natural, that doesn’t mean it is safe (or necessary).

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