Having to lower cholesterol – that's what some people will have to deal with sooner or later. In some people, the cholesterol level in the blood becomes too high. This is also called hyperlipidemia. High levels of LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) are considered a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Supplements for Lowering Cholesterol
LDL cholesterol is thought to irritate the walls of blood vessels and stimulate atherosclerosis – so it's known to encourage hardening of the arteries. Lowering LDL-cholesterol and raising HDL-cholesterol (“good” cholesterol) has traditionally been the spearhead when it comes to striving for a healthier life.
In addition to a varied diet, supplements can make an important contribution to lowering LDL cholesterol and raising HDL cholesterol. These supplements are mainly intended for the elderly. However, dietary supplements should only be used in consultation with a doctor.
Niacin (Vitamin B3) Dietary Supplements
Niacin, also called vitamin B3, is used to lower cholesterol. Research shows that niacin lowers LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and raises “good” HDL cholesterol. Niacin also appears to lower levels of another risk factor for atherosclerosis, “lipoprotein A”.
However, the use of niacin has a downside. Niacin can increase the effect of high blood pressure medications and cause nausea, indigestion, gas, diarrhea or gout. It can also worsen stomach ulcers or cause inflammation of the liver and high blood sugar. These are side effects that can have a major impact on your health. So, if you experience one or more side effects, stop taking niacin immediately and consult a doctor.
In addition, there are some mild side effects. The most common mild side effect of (too) high doses of niacin is flushing of the skin. This is caused by the widening of blood vessels. Many people only notice this when they first start taking niacin. The flushing can be reduced by taking niacin with meals.
Fish Oil (Omega 3) Supplements
Fish oil is one of the most popular and best-selling supplements on the Dutch market. This is due to the many health benefits that fish oil has to offer. Fish oil supplements are often used in the pharmaceutical industry because of the omega-3 fatty acids they contain.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are both essential fatty acids that have been confirmed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to contribute to the proper functioning of the heart.
Both increasing the number of fish in your diet as well as supplementing your diet with fish oil nutritional supplements may help lower your cholesterol. This happens thanks to improving the overall health of your cardiovascular system with the help of the acidic omega 3 .
By making sure your body is in the best possible condition, you can reduce or prevent the excessive build-up of cholesterol. Bottom Line: Fish oil can make an important contribution to lowering cholesterol.
Garlic is another food whose nutritional benefits can also be incorporated in supplement form. Dietary supplements containing garlic can help lower your cholesterol .
When garlic is crushed or cut, it releases a compound called “Allicin” which, when it enters the bloodstream, reacts with red blood cells. The chemical called “hydrogen sulfide” is then produced.
It is believed that hydrogen sulfide can help strengthen and promote your coronary health. This is accomplished by relaxing the blood vessels, causing them to widen. This increases blood circulation.
This can help control and maintain your cholesterol levels as it allows more efficient movement of the HDL and LDL through the blood. Do you want to lower your cholesterol? Then definitely consider taking garlic supplements.
Lowering cholesterol with dietary supplements summarized
As you can see, there are several supplements on the market that can help lower cholesterol. However, dietary supplements should only be used to supplement your diet. They therefore serve purely as a support – a balanced diet has the highest priority.
If you're not sure which nutritional supplements are best for you and how to add them effectively to your diet, your doctor or pharmacist is always on hand to provide professional advice.
The content of this article is based on scientific publications and was written in collaboration with medical specialists / nutritionists.