The good news is that research conducted in the U.S. and other countries prove that there several effective natural herbs and supplements that may help lower LDL and raise HDL or "good" cholesterol. Although some of the studies were done only in lab settings.
Having several different avenues for lowering cholesterol is important since the causes of high cholesterol levels are wide and varied by person to person. Natural remedies such as Guggul, Pantethine, Policosanol, Curcumin, and Beta-Sitosterol are just a few supplements that are easily available at low cost compared to prescribed drugs.
Guggul gum resin from the mukul myrrh tree was originally used to treat obesity. Today, this is used as a natural way to help lower cholesterol as well as decrease blood pressure. Guggul is also known by Gugulipid and Gum guggulu and has a botanical name of Commiphora mukul. The historical use of this treatment was for a variety of conditions to include obesity and rheumatism. In the current market, Guggul is not used primarily in extract form and its use focuses on lowering elevated cholesterol and triglycerides. The active ingredients in the product are resin, volatile oils, and gum. To learn more, click here.
Derived from sugar cane wax and studied in-depth over the past 10 years to include human trials published in North American and International medical journals. These tests have validated that Policosanol is safe and effective. According to some of these studies, Policosanol tend to lower LDL cholesterol, prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol and promotes normal blood fluidity. To learn more, click here.
Pantethine has been shown to significantly reduce serum triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL-cholesterol (the so-called "bad cholesterol") levels while increasing HDL ("good cholesterol") levels in several clinical trials. Pantethine has the advantage of being an effective treatment for high cholesterol while avoiding the undesirable side effects of synthetic lipid-lowering drugs. To learn more, click here.
A very strong antioxidant that provides antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and cholesterol-lowering effects. In addition, it was been widely used for patients suffering from Hepatitis C. Curcumin is an extract from the spice Turmeric, which has been shown to have multiple health benefits. In addition, Dr. Mark Katz, MD with Search Alliance is currently organizing a new study, to be conducted in Los Angeles. A criterion includes people with CD4 between 50 and 400 and with a positive p24 antigen.
In a double-blind placebo-controlled study that followed 152 individuals for 4 years, standardized garlic powder at a dosage of 900 mg daily significantly slowed the development of atherosclerosis. (Koscielny J, Klussendorf D, Latza R, et al. The antiatherosclerotic effect of Allium sativum. Atherosclerosis. 1999;144:237–249.)In another study, 432 individuals who had suffered a heart attack were given either garlic extract or no treatment over a period of 3 years. The results showed a significant reduction of second heart attacks and about a 50% reduction in death rate among those taking garlic. (Bordia A. Garlic and coronary heart disease. The effects of garlic extract therapy over three years on the reinfarction and mortality rate [translated from German]. Dtsch Apoth Ztg. 1989;129(suppl 15):16–17.)
Dr. Fran Hu of the Harvard School of Public Health reviewed data on 84,688 female nurses, ages 34 to 59, who were part of the Nurses' Health Study over 16 years. They found that high consumption of fish (4-5 times a week) cut the risk of dying from heart disease by 45 percent compared to women who rarely ate fish. Another study published in The New England Journal of Medicine compared 94 men who died suddenly to 181 other men. Men with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids had an 81 percent lower risk of dying suddenly than men with the lowest levels. According to Dr. JoAnn Manson of Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, “the fat in fish actually lowers cholesterol, helps prevent blood clots that form in heart attacks and lessens the chances for the irregular heart beats that cause about 250,000 sudden deaths a year.” If you don't like fish or have allergies to certain kinds of fish, supplements are very effective as shown by the study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation. Participants who took one gram daily of an omega-3 fatty acid supplement reduced their risk of sudden cardiac death by 42 percent.
Another natural remedy is Beta-Sitosterol, which should be taken as 300 mg twice a day. The great thing about this is that is helps to lower blood serum cholesterol and triglycerides with few diet changes and little or no exercise.
Psyllium is native to Iran and India. The seeds are primarily used in traditional herbal medicine, which is a common ingredient in bulk laxative products. Studies have shown that psyllium found in supplements can lower LDL cholesterol. This study showed improvement in both children and adults. This benefit is believed to come from the soluble fiber component of psyllium.
Other forms of natural herbs and supplements believed to help reduce LDL cholesterol include:
- Vitamin E and C
- Green Tea
- Licorice Extract
- Aspirin (80 mg a couple of times per week)
- Extra Virgin Oil (1 tablespoon daily)
Keep in mind that natural therapy for lowering cholesterol is not intended to replace any medication you may currently be on so before making any changes, you should first consult your physician.
Other Means of Lowering Cholesterol
One such study is being conducted by Dr. Nicolas Duverger of Gencell in France along with Dr. Caroline Desurmont of Institut Pasteur in Paris. They are conducting studies using gene therapy as a means of not only reducing high cholesterol, but also eliminating the fatty plaques associated with "hardening of the arteries."