Cholesterol-Lowering Supplements

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, Cholesterol
Last Reviewed 02/17/2014

Cholesterol-Lowering Supplements

If you’ve adopted my Pan-Asian Mediterranean (PAM) diet, a regular exercise program and you’re taking my core supplements for healthy cholesterol levels, but your numbers still are not where you want them, don’t worry. There are more options to try.

Managing cholesterol is a very individual thing, and what works for one person may not work for the next person. Therefore, I suggest you experiment with adding some of the following cholesterol-lowering supplements to your health regimen to see which combination helps you achieve optimal cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol-lowering supplement #1: Panthethine

A natural derivative of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), panthethine does everything right. Research indicates that it helps to improve healthy HDL cholesterol, reduce LDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B (an ugly artery clogger), and increase a good cholesterol fraction known as apolipoprotein A. It even lowers triglycerides. Best of all, unlike most cholesterol-lowering drugs, panthethine is not known to have any side effects. You can find panthethine in health-food stores. Try taking 500 mg of this cholesterol-lowering supplement three times daily.

Cholesterol-lowering supplement #2: Nattokinase

Nattokinase is derived from the traditional Japanese soy product natto. This cholesterol-lowering supplement helps address one of the most overlooked problems in the development of arterial disease: hyperviscosity, which refers to thick and sticky blood that moves slowly through the circulatory system.

Hyperviscosity feeds the inflammatory process that damages arteries and also increases the risk of clot formation. Nattokinase reinforces the actions of plasmin, your body’s own enzyme that breaks down the clotting agent called fibrin, thereby preventing abnormal thickening of the blood.

How is all of this related to healthy cholesterol levels? Since high levels of Lp(a), the most dangerous form of LDL cholesterol, cause inflammation and thickening of the blood, a supplement that actively thins the blood, such as nattokinase, can be very helpful.

Nattokinase supplements are widely available in health-food stores. As for dosage, start with 50 mg a day and raise the dose to 100 mg after a week. Note that if you are taking pharmaceutical blood thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin), you should not take nattokinase because you could thin your blood too much.

Cholesterol-lowering supplement #3: Probiotics

Probiotics, or “friendly bacteria,” such as L. acidophilus, S. thermophilus, E. faecium, and the Bifidobacterium family, help to regulate cholesterol levels by altering its absorption. Research suggests that probiotics convert cholesterol into a less absorbable form and send it down the gut so that it can be eliminated. Take two probiotic capsules per day between meals.

Cholesterol-lowering supplement #4: Phytosterols

These waxy, oily, fat-like compounds are found in many fruits, vegetables, vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and legumes. Phytosterols help reduce the absorption of dietary cholesterol in the small intestine, promoting normal cholesterol levels and favorable HDL:LDL cholesterol ratios. Find out more about specific food sources of phytosterols. Cholesterol-lowering phytosterol supplements are available at most health-food stores. Take 75–100 mg either before or during each meal.

Cholesterol-lowering supplement #5: Oligomeric Proanthyocyanidins

Oligomeric proanthyocyanidins (OPCs) are very powerful nutrients found in most fruits and vegetables. They’re particularly abundant in grape seeds and pine bark. OPCs are incredible free radical scavengers. Because of that, they help prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol and thereby promote overall cardiovascular health. Take 150–300 mg of grape-seed extract daily, 100 mg of pycnogenol daily or 300 mg of quercetin daily.

More Dr. Sinatra Advice on Achieving Healthy Cholesterol Levels

Which specific foods can help lower your cholesterol levels? Read about the foods that will improve your cholesterol levels the most.

What three simple dietary changes can you make to lower your cholesterol levels? Learn three ways to change your daily eating that will lower your cholesterol in just four weeks.

Want an easy way to get more cholesterol-lowering fiber into your diet? Discover how juicing can help lower your cholesterol levels.

On a statin drug and concerned about nutrient depletion? Find out which supplements to consider if you take a statin drug.

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