Adopting the Pan-Asian Mediterranean (PAM) diet and a regular exercise plan will go a long way toward helping you get your cholesterol levels within the optimal ranges. In addition to these lifestyle changes, you may realize some additional cholesterol-lowering benefits by adding nutritional supplements to your regimen.
For anyone who needs to be mindful of his or her cholesterol level—for example, if you have low HDL cholesterol; predominantly small, dense LDL cholesterol; high Lp(a); diagnosed cardiovascular disease or a family history of cardiovascular disease —I recommend trying the supplements I’ve outlined here.
For most people, these first-tier supplements will ensure that your body gets the support it needs to keep cholesterol levels in a healthy range. But if you still need help achieving healthy cholesterol levels, then I suggest you consider adding a few more of my favorite cholesterol-lowering supplements to the mix. Here are just a few of my top supplements for healthy cholesterol levels.
High-Potency Multinutrient Plus Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acid Supplements
The two nutritional supplements that I strongly recommend everyone take daily to lower cholesterol levels naturally are a high-potency multi-nutrient and at least 1–2 grams of omega-3 essential fatty acids.
The multi will even out the natural fluctuations in your diet and offset age- and medication-related deficiencies, while the omega-3s can get inside cardiac cells and promote normal triglyceride levels as well as help to elevate healthy HDL cholesterol levels.
Top Heart Health Supplements The “Awesome Foursome” is my name for the four supplements -- coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), L-carnitine, magnesium, and D-ribose -- that I believe are extremely important for cellular energy production in the heart. So I recommend that anyone with cardiovascular concerns take these four supplements daily. CoQ10, especially, helps support healthy HDL cholesterol and prevents the excess oxidation of LDL cholesterol. L-carnitine works synergistically with CoQ10 to support optimal cholesterol levels. Magnesium can improve HDL cholesterol levels and lower LDL levels (magnesium deficiencies, in fact, increase LDL cholesterol buildup).
Niacin: Heart Healthy Vitamin
Niacin (vitamin B3) is a fantastic nutrient that can help you increase healthy HDL cholesterol, as well aslower both triglyceridesand thedangerous LDL cholesterol subtype known as Lp(a). The only downside to niacin is the flushing sensation it generates. This hot, tingly, pins-and-needles feeling is disconcerting to a lot of people, but it usually lasts no more than 30–60 minutes, and it is most pronounced during the first week or so that you take the supplement (it can also occur when you increase the dosage).
You can find no-flush forms of niacin, but they aren’t as effective, so I recommend regular niacin.
Start by taking 250 mg of niacin three times daily and slowly work up to 1–2 grams daily for a strong, medicinal effect. Note that niacin should be used with caution if you have diabetes. You can, however, ask your doctor about a prescription source of niacin called Niaspan that is well-tolerated with minimal side effects.
Policosanol: Lowers LDL Cholesterol
Derived from the wax of sugar cane, policosanol is a mixture of fatty alcohols that has been shown to help lower both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels.
In addition to lowering cholesterol, there is evidence that policosanol has a favorable impact on heart health by both reducing inflammatory hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, as well as decreasing platelet stickiness, thereby promoting proper clotting. You can find policosanol at most vitamin stores and online. Take 10–20 mg after dinner.
Delta Tocotrienol: Reduces Most Inflammatory Cholesterol
The compound delta tocotrienol belongs to the vitamin E family. Tocotrienol compounds occur naturally in plants to protect the carotenoids from degradation.
New research shows that delta tocotrienol is particularly effective for reducing overall cholesterol, and perhaps most importantly, it may lower Lp(a), the most inflammatory and dangerous subtype of LDL cholesterol. This is great news because there are no known medical drugs that knocks down Lp(a), and the only other natural substance that I’ve seen decrease Lp(a) is niacin (see above tip). Take 100 mg of delta tocotrienol per day.
Garlic: Potent Antioxidant that Keeps Free Radicals at Bay
A number of double-blind, placebo-controlled trials suggest that garlic has a positive effect on cholesterol levels. Garlic acts as a potent antioxidant and protects LDL cholesterol from free-radical oxidation. I recommend 500–1,000 mg of enteric-coated soft-gel garlic capsules (soft-gels are better absorbed in the body) daily.
WATCH: Dr. Sinatra Debunks the Great Cholesterol Myth! What You Really Need to Know to Protect Your Heart
More Advice from Dr. Sinatra on Cholesterol and Supplements:
What other supplements help lower cholesterol? Discover a few other of my favorite cholesterol-lowering supplements.
What nutrient support do you need if you take a statin drug to lower your cholesterol levels? Find out which supplements are a must if you’re on a statin.