Natural Ways to Lower Cholesterol

Wednesday Oct 24 | BY |
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Garlic can help lower cholesterol and widen blood vessels, to reduce your risk of heart attack.

There are many types of heart disease, but the most common is coronary artery disease, where the arteries become narrowed and clogged with deposits of fat, cholesterol, and other substances that form plaque and disrupt the flow of blood. This type of heart disease can lead to chest pain and high blood pressure, and can increase risk of blood clots and heart attacks.

Fortunately, there are natural herbs and supplements that can help lower LDL cholesterol levels, which may help you avoid or limit your use of cholesterol-lowering medications.

Lowering LDL “Bad” Cholesterol
Though cholesterol is essential for the functioning of all human organs, too much of it can start that deadly buildup of plaque in the arteries. It was back in 1910 that German chemist Adolph Windaus reported that atherosclerotic plaques from aortas of human subjects contained 20-26 fold higher concentrations of cholesterol than did normal aortas.

Later, in 1955, John Gofman, a biophysicist at the University of California at Berkeley, found that heart attacks correlated with elevated levels of cholesterol—and, that the cholesterol was contained in one lipoprotein particle, LDL. It wasn’t long after that physicians linked LDL cholesterol and atherosclerosis.

Now we all know that lowering LDL cholesterol is one way to prevent and/or treat heart disease. Here are a few natural ways to do it:

  • Flaxseed: Some studies have shown that 150 milligrams a day of flaxseed (about 3 tablespoons) decreased cholesterol. Other studies have shown no effect.
  • Oat bran: An analysis of 10 studies found that eating a large bowl of oat bran cereal every day can reduce blood cholesterol by a moderate amount. Eating oatmeal has also been found to lower cholesterol. Because of the strong evidence, the FDA approved a health clam in 1997 allowing manufacturers to advertise the heart healthy benefits of oatmeal on their products. Amounts of oatmeal per day consumed in studies was about 1.5 cups.
  • Garlic: Studies show that garlic may reduce LDL and raise HDL cholesterol. A recent study analyzing data from 26 well-designed clinical trials found that garlic was more effective than placebo in reducing cholesterol. Typical doses are about one-half gram to one gram per day.
  • Almonds: Researchers have found that consumption of almonds reduces LDL cholesterol. Study participants ate two 28-gram packages of almonds (about 24 almonds per package) a day.
  • Ginger: Animal studies show that ginger may increase the amount of an enzyme responsible for converting cholesterol to bile, so that it can be better removed by the body. It may also make blood less likely to clot. Mice received standardized ginger extract.
  • Fish oil: When combined with red yeast rice, fish oil helped reduce LDL cholesterol levels by over 40 percent. Fish oil has also been shown to reduce triglycerides in the blood, which also helps reduce heart disease.
  • Psyllium fiber: Researchers at the University of Kentucky gave male volunteers either 5.1 grams of psyllium or placebo twice daily for 8 weeks—those receiving psyllium had cholesterol levels 8.9 percent lower than those taking a placebo.
  • Walnuts: After looking at data from 25 studies, researchers found that patients eating about 2.4 ounces of nuts daily reduced their LDL cholesterol by about 7.4 percent. They also reduced their triglyceride levels. Nuts included almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, macadamia nuts, and peanuts. Another meta-analysis of walnuts by Harvard scientists found that diets rich in walnuts can significantly reduce cholesterol levels.
  • Soybeans: Clinical trials show that soy isoflavones can decrease total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
  • Artichokes: Researchers at the University of Reading found that artichoke leaf extract can lower cholesterol. The theory is that artichokes may directly interact with the same protein that statins do to lower cholesterol. Study participants typically had to take about 1,800 mg of the extract a day for 6 weeks to see effects.
  • Rhubarb: Some studies have found that rhubarb stalk fiber is effective in lowering LDL cholesterol, particularly in men with high cholesterol levels. Men consumed 27 grams of ground rhubarb stalk fiber per day for 4 weeks.
  • Yogurt: In a double-blind study with 60 participants, researchers found that those who consumed 10.5 ounces of yogurt a day experienced a 7.5 percent decrease in LDL cholesterol.
  • Turmeric: Preliminary research suggests that curcumin, the main compound in the curry spice turmeric, may decrease blood cholesterol levels.

Do you use natural options to lower cholesterol? What has worked for you?

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Sources
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, “Cholesterol—a Century of Research,” September 2003, http://www.hhmi.org/bulletin/sept2003/cholesterol/century.html.

Suzanne Hendrich, “Iowa State NWRC Study Finds Flaxseed Lowers High Cholesterol in Men,” Iowa State University, March 17, 2010, http://archive.news.iastate.edu/news/2010/mar/flaxseed.

“Lots of Oat Bran Found to Cut Cholesterol,” The New York Times, June 24, 1992, http://www.nytimes.com/1992/06/24/health/lots-of-oat-bran-found-to-cut-cholesterol.html.

“New Study Supports Cholesterol-Lowering Effects of Garlic,” Natural Standard Blog, February 14, 2012, http://blog.naturalstandard.com/natural_standard_blog/2012/02/new-study-supports-cholesterol-lowering-effects-of-garlic.html.

Omotayo O. Erejuwa, et al., “Honey Supplementation in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats Elicits Antihypertensive Effect via Amerlioration of Renal Oxidative Stress,” Oxid Med Cell Longev, 2012, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3270456/.

Fuhrman B, “Ginger extract consumption reduces plasmas cholesterol, inhibits LDL oxidation and attenuates development of atherosclerosis in atherosclerotic, apolipoprotein E-deficient mice,” J. Nutr 2000 May;130(5):1124-31, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10801908.

Dr. Roger Saias, “Mayo Clinic Study: Fish Oil and Red Yeast Rice Studied for Lowering Blood Cholesterol,” Dr. Roger Saias, October 5, 2010, http://drsaias.com/2010/10/05/mayo-clinic-study-fish-oil-and-red-yeast-rice-studied-for-lowering-blood-cholesterol/.

“Psyllium Fiber Lowers Blood Sugar and Cholesterol Levels Naturally,” http://www.creators.com/health/rallie-mcallister-your-health/psyllium-fiber-lowers-blood-sugar-and-cholesterol-levels-naturally.html.

Lindsey Partos, “Walnuts can cut cholesterol, say Harvard researchers,” NutraIngredients, July 2, 2009, http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Walnuts-can-cut-cholesterol-say-Harvard-researchers.

Taku K, “Soy isoflavones lower serum total and LDL cholesterol in humans: a meta-analysis of 11 randomized controlled trials,” Am J Clin Nutr 2007 Apr; 85(4):1148-56, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17413118.

“New Research Shows that Artichoke Leaf Extract Lowers Cholesterol,” Medical News Today, July 3, 2008, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/113759.php.

Goel V, “Cholesterol lowering effects of rhubarb stalk fiber in hypercholesterolemic men,” J Am Coll Nutr 1997 Dec; 16 (6): 600-604, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9430089.

Kimberly Day, “Can Probiotics Help Lower Your Cholesterol,” Peak Health Advocate, July 14, 2011, http://www.peakhealthadvocate.com/1658/probiotic-yogurt-shown-to-help-lower-cholesterol-naturally/.

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

1 COMMENT ON THIS POST

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  1. Arlie L says:

    I use polycosanol and exercise which has worked for me.

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