According to the American Heart Association, 102.2 million Americans age 20 and older (almost 50 percent of American adults) have elevated blood cholesterol levels, a key risk factor for heart disease. Lifestyle changes such as improving diet, losing weight and increasing exercise are often effective. Various medications, such as the”statin” drugs and niacin, may be used to lower cholesterol, but various supplements may also be helpful as well, lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad cholesterol”), sometimes raising high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good cholesterol”), and improving the LDL/HDL ratio. Some supplements may also reduce triglycerides, which pose additional, although lower, risks.
As I have indicated previously, dietary changes that are useful in controlling cholesterol levels are spelled out in the following posts:
After changing one’s diet, however additional measures are often needed, which can be considered before resorting to drugs. Supplement ingredients that have been used to reduce cholesterol include sterols and sterol esters (produced in the normal refinement of vegetable oils, or alternatively as a byproduct of papermaking from the oil of pinewood pulp), stanols and stanol esters (substances closely related to sterols that are derived from the same sources), red yeast rice (a yeast grown on rice), garlic, fish oil, and soy protein. Soluble fiber such as oats in the diet as well as moderate intake of alcohol can also improve cholesterol levels. :
The evidence supporting the various cholesterol-lowering supplements varies. The best evidence is for sterols, stanols and their esters, soy protein and high dose-niacin (sold as a supplement as well as a prescription drug). These are sometimes associated with certain risks, which should be understood. ..
This review will be limited to the stanols and sterols, which constitute groups of agents that are inexpensive and possess a good safety profile. It should be noted, however, that while sterols and stanols can lower cholesterol and likely cardiovascular disease risk, no study thus far has shown a direct risk reduction by this means..
Scientific studies have shown that a dose of 800 mg or more of free sterols per day is required to produce effective reductions in cholesterol, usually around 10%. According to Consumer’s Lab, most of the supplements contain their claimed amounts of sterols other than Pure Encapsulations CholestePure, which. at the dose of one capsule, would provide only 450 mg of free sterols.
• Enzymatic Therapy Cholesterol Shield also includes pantethine, which may cause a modest decrease in total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides. In addition, HDL will rise at a dose of 300 mg 3 to 4 times a day
• Source Naturals Cholesterol Rescue includes Sytrinol™ (300 mg per day) which, may also modestly lower cholesterol.
Phytosterols at Lowest Cost
Comparing the cost to obtain an equivalent amount of free sterols (800 mg), the lowest cost is from Nature Made CholestOff, amounting to 33 cents, while the cost for the same amount of ingredient from other products ranges from about 40 to 60 cents. CholestOff Plus is also supported by a successful clinical trial.
List of Phytosterols: This following presents a compilation of effective products (capsule or tablet form): CholestaCare, Cholesterol Shield, CholestOff, CholestePure, Shaklee Cholesterol Reduction Complex CholestePure, and Source Naturals Cholesterol Rescue.
Butter-like spreads: Plasma total- and LDL-cholesterol concentrations are reduced by margarines enriched with free plant sterols. Results are effective at an intake of 1.5gm or more of plant sterols per day, but they have little apparent effect on HDL-cholesterol or triacylglyceride concentrations. One prime example of this group is Benecol, which is provided in the form of a spread, but it is also produced in a yogurt drink, cream cheese spread, and Dobrogea Benecol Rye Bread. Another spread that has between 0.85 to 1.3 grams of sterol esters per serving is Smart Balance HeartRite Light. Just 2-4 servings of this spread per day also can fulfill your daily recommended dose of phytosterols. In order to consume enough amounts of these spreads, try adding them to such foods as steamed broccoli and oatmeal.
Conclusion: Whether you have cardiovascular disease or are presently normal, consider including the strategies above in your diet, especially make use of the spreads on your bread or in your cooking.