Supplements for High Cholesterol
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Our bodies need cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D and substances that help us digest foods, but too much cholesterol can become a big problem. High cholesterol has no real symptoms, so it can easily go undetected. A simple blood test can determine your level; the normal range for total cholesterol is less than 200 mg.
High Cholesterol and Heart Disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with high total cholesterol have approximately twice the risk of heart disease as people with ideal levels. This can be a frightening statistic when we realize that 31.7% of Americans have high levels of the “bad” LDL cholesterol. LDL particles transport cholesterol through the blood and may cause cholesterol to be deposited in your arteries. From there, it can accumulate and eventually cause plaque to develop in the arteries. Plaque build-up narrows the arteries and under certain circumstances the plaque will rupture, causing a clot to form (see picture below). The resulting heart attack, stroke or occlusion can be devastating to your health. However, we can make many health-conscious choices to dramatically reduce the risk of heart disease.
A healthy diet (with an emphasis on plant rather than animal or manmade fat), regular exercise and weight loss are all lifestyle factors that impact cholesterol and overall heart disease risk. Using tobacco of any kind can also cause cholesterol or heart disease issues; if you smoke, dip or vape, please quit.
Listed below are several supplements that help reduce LDL cholesterol. While these alternatives are beneficial, be sure to check with your physician to see if a prescription medication is also needed.
1. Soluble Fiber
For those with high cholesterol levels, consuming soluble fiber can be effective for lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Fiber binds to cholesterol and carries it out of your body before it can be absorbed into your bloodstream. Many fiber-rich food sources are readily available, including fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, whole grains and beans.
The American Heart Association recommends three grams of soluble fiber from oats, or seven grams soluble fiber from psyllium, daily to lower LDL cholesterol. Psyllium husk is 70 percent soluble fiber which is available in powder form in the products Konsyl and Metamucil. Be sure to look at the product’s ingredient label to confirm that you are getting the recommended seven grams of soluble fiber, as this recommendation may not correlate with the total number of grams of psyllium in the product. As psyllium is also a great product for regularity; gradually work up to seven grams per day and increase as tolerated. Aim to drink eight ounces of water with every one teaspoon of psyllium each day.
Fiber supplements can interfere with the body’s absorption of other supplements and medications, so it is important to take fiber supplements separately. It is best to take fiber supplement products at least two hours before or two hours after other supplements and prescriptions. To learn more about psyllium, read this article written by one of Cooper Clinic’s registered dietitian nutritionists.
2. Plant Stanol and Sterol Esters
Plant sterols and stanols are substances found naturally in a variety of plants. Numerous studies have shown that plant sterol and sterol esters are effective for reducing total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol by approximately 10 to 15 percent. From a molecular perspective, sterols and stanols look a lot like cholesterol and actually compete with cholesterol for absorption in the digestive system. Due to their healthy influence on high cholesterol, stanols and sterols have been added to many food products including margarine spreads, orange juice and cereals. Dietary supplements are also available, such as CholestOff®. The recommended amount to lower high cholesterol is two grams daily, split between the two meals containing the most fat.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are very beneficial for cardiovascular health at large, which is why the American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel and tuna at least twice a week. It is estimated that in the United States, adults consume 50 percent or less of the necessary amounts of Omega-3 on a daily basis.
Omega-3 supplements such as Cooper Complete Advanced Omega-3 fatty acids can be an important addition to your health routine. While Omega-3 fatty acids do not lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol, they do lower triglycerides (another type of fat in your blood) and increase your “good” HDL cholesterol. Research published in the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research found that participants who consumed a combined total of 1200 mg of EPA + DHA per day for 12 weeks reduced triglycerides by 23 percent. This is the amount of EPA and DHA found in Cooper Complete Advanced Omega- 3.
To learn more about Omega-3 fatty acids and our entire line of Cooper Complete supplements, visit www.coopercomplete.com or call 888.393.2221.
Article provided by Karen Perkins, Account Executive for Cooper Concepts.