How to Lower Cholesterol Naturally Using Supplements

High cholesterol is one of the risk factors for heart disease. While your body does produce a certain amount of this fat that is present in the bloodstream naturally, diet is also a factor. Choosing foods containing high levels of fat can increase the cholesterol in your body.

If your goal is to lower cholesterol levels, you will want to cut back on the amount of saturated fat in your diet. Meat and dairy products are a source of this type of fat, and while you do need to eat protein and some dairy to stay healthy, you should opt for lean cuts of meat and low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt when you can.

Your doctor may recommend a medication for high cholesterol, and you should follow his or her advice. While you are discussing your treatment plan for lowering cholesterol, you may want to ask whether any of the following supplements should be part of the strategy:

Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids are an important part of the fight against cholesterol, since they help to make it less sticky and likely to attach to the lining of the arteries. The recommended dose is 2,000 milligrams per day, taken with food. Look for a product containing a combination of Omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids in a capsule.


Policosinols are sugar cane extracts, and the results of some studies have indicated that they can lower low-density (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol by 19-31 percent and total cholesterol by 13-24 percent. The recommended dose of this supplement is 5-10 mg twice a day. It should be taken on an empty stomach.

Soy Isoflavone

Soy isoflavones are extracted from soy and they are structurally similar to hormones in the human body. When this supplement is ingested, it boosts the production of HDL, or “good” cholesterol and lowers the level of LDL cholesterol. To get the benefit from this supplement, you would have to eat 20-25 grams per day. Tofu burgers, soy pudding and miso soup.

Guggul Lipids

Guggul lipids are an ancient remedy for lowering cholesterol and reducing the redness swelling associated with acne. Derived from the sap of the Commiphora mukul tree, it has been used in India to treat atherosclerosis for hundreds of years. This resin helps the liver to process cholesterol and increases the level of cholesterol that is excreted from the body as solid waste.

Sources: The National Center for Biotechnology Information

How Exercise Helps Improve Heart Health

There are definite health benefits to getting up off the couch and getting active. Not only does regular physical exercise help to lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, but it also helps to combat high blood pressure and diabetes (the non-insulin-dependent type). Doing an activity that will get your heart beating faster is a great way to relieve stress and it can help to alleviate the symptoms of depression.

Exercising regularly helps to strengthen the heart muscle and makes it more efficient at pumping blood through the body. It also helps by increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol levels (good cholesterol) and lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, in the body.

To get these health benefits, the recommended level of exercise is 20-30 minutes, three or more times each week. Stretching and muscle strengthening activities should also be part of an overall fitness plan, and they should be performed a couple of times per week.

People who haven’t been active for some time may want to start off slowly. Walking or swimming are good choices for former couch potatoes, since they can be done at the participant’s own pace to minimize the chance of injury. As the individual’s level of fitness improves, he or she can increase the intensity of the workout.

Other benefits of exercise include the following:

  • It reduces the risk of premature death, including dying from heart disease.
  • Getting active helps to bring blood pressure down to a more normal level.
  • Exercise helps with weight control.
  • It helps the participant to build lean muscle and burn fat.
  • Physical activity helps seniors to increase their body strength and helps them retain their mobility function without falling.

A person who wants to increase their level of physical activity should start off slowly to avoid injury. Simple things, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator and finding a parking space further away from the destination can help to keep to improve heart health.

Cholesterol Screening Can Help to Prevent Heart Attacks

Most people who experience a heart attack outside of a hospital setting are struck by it in their homes, according to the American Heart Association. People with coronary heart disease are at a high risk for this type of event, and getting your cholesterol checked regularly can help to determine whether you are one of them.

Adults should start getting their cholesterol levels checked when they are 20. If the results are in the normal range (total cholesterol under 200 mg/dl), then the test can be repeated at five year intervals. If the test results show a problem, then doctors can suggest ways to lower the levels to a healthier level.

When making changes to the patient’s diet and increasing physical activity aren’t effective at controlling the cholesterol levels, then the doctor can consider prescribing medications to bring the levels down.

Address Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Issues in Heart Disease Recovery

If you have been diagnosed with heart disease, you will need to make some lifestyle changes to get and stay healthy. Doing so needs a two-pronged approach. Not only do you need to take steps to get your blood pressure lowered, but you also need to address your cholesterol issues.

Blood Pressure and Heart Disease

A normal blood pressure reading has a systolic reading of 120 or less. (The systolic number is the top one.) If that number is 140 or higher, then the person has high blood pressure. If the reading is between 120 and 140, then it is called “prehypertension” and is something that needs to be monitored by a doctor.

Cholesterol and Heart Disease

After a diagnosis of heart disease, you need to take steps to get your LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol down to more healthy levels. Ideally, you will want to get it below 70 mg/dL. This can be done by taking medication.

Another way to lower your cholesterol to a healthier level is to change your diet.

You will need to watch your intake of saturated fat by choosing low-fat versions of dairy products. If you are used to drinking whole milk, you may not like immediately switching to skim milk. Try switching to a lower-fat version first. Start buying lean cuts of meat and trim off visible fat prior to cooking. You will also need to lower your consumption of trans fats, which are found in many processed foods, as well as margarine.

To slow down the development of plaque on the walls of your arteries, you need to follow your doctor’s instructions to deal with your cholesterol and blood pressure. You may need to take medication, change your diet, or make other lifestyle changes to get healthy. If you focus only on one aspect and neglect the other, your chances of long-term health improvement are lower than if you adopt the tag-team approach.

Obesity, Heart Disease and Dementia Linked

If you are overweight, you have more than heart disease and diabetes to be concerned about. Being too heavy can also speed up dementia, according to the results of a new study. Reducing your risk of heart disease may also help to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of cognitive impairment.

For older women, being overweight, having high blood pressure, and low HDL levels (the “good” cholesterol), means that your risk of cognitive impairment increases by 23 percent. The increased risk also holds true for overweight men.

A different study found that people who had high cholesterol levels experienced a more rapid deterioration in brain functioning after developing Alzheimer’s. This research underscores the need to look after your health at any stage in life.

Iron Pills May Help to Lower Cholesterol

Scientists at the Lawson Health Research Institute in London, Ontario, have found that people who have hemochromatosis, a disorder where they have too much iron in their blood, have lower levels of bad cholesterol in their system. As you probably know, having a high level of LDL cholesterol, which is considered to be the “bad” type, has been identified as a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The study was conducted with 100,000 participants across North America.

The researchers are quick to point out that more work needs to be done to determine if the lower cholesterol levels of hemochromatosis patients are directly related to the iron levels in their blood. It is possible that lower cholesterol levels may be the result of a person’s genetic makeup, and the fact they happen to have the disorder may not have an effect on their cholesterol levels at all.

Do not go to the drug store and stock up on iron supplements to try to lower your cholesterol levels. Having too much iron on your body can have severe health consequences, including diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, and heart disease.

Children have been poisoned by ingesting iron tablets, thinking they were candies. For youngsters, an iron overdose may be fatal.

Approximately one in 227 people with a Northern European ancestry will develop hemochromatosis. This is a hereditary disorder that is found in people who have a genetic mutation that makes their body absorb much more iron than it is able to store. When the excess amount of iron is deposited in the body’s organs, it leads to health problems.

Hemochromatosis is treated by drawing blood from the person on a regular basis. If you have ever given blood, you have a good idea about the process. Once the iron levels have been brought down to a normal level, the person will still need to have blood drawn a few times a year to maintain that level.

LDL and HDL Cholesterol

Cholesterol is another word for the fats contained in your blood. Not all cholesterol will have a negative effect on your health, though, and you need to know the difference between “good” cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol.

HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is what is known as “good” cholesterol. This substance helps to keep the levels of bad cholesterol down and can help to decrease your risk of developing heart disease.

LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is the “bad” cholesterol you need to be wary of. This is the type that can build up in your arteries and cause them to become narrower over time.

Cholesterol Fact – LDL is Bad

When  you and your doctor discuss your cholesterol level, do you understand what it means? Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is present in the blood. Not all cholesterol is considered to be bad for you. LDL cholesterol levels are the type that doctors monitor and is considered to be “bad cholesterol.” This is the type that can build up and actually block your arteries, leading to heart attacks. Less than 100 mg/dL is the level of LDL cholesterol you want to  have in your blood. In contrast, once the LDL cholesterol levels reach 160 mg/dL or higher, you have high cholesterol. Some types of foods and supplements lower LDL and leave good HDL cholesterol levels intact. Consider eating walnuts, cooking with more olive oil, consuming Metamucil and/or fish oil (Omega-3 fatty acids) every day. These things will help lower your LDL cholesterol.

Dietary Supplements for Cardiovascular Health

You may be trying to eat well, but it can be challenging to get all the nutrients your body needs to stay heart healthy from diet alone. There is a place for dietary supplements for the heart in your overall eating plan. Start by taking a multi-vitamin daily. You may be curious about using herbal remedies to help you get and stay healthy, but do educate yourself about these products before you decide to use them. Tell your doctor what (and how much) you are taking the next time you go for a visit; this is information that he or she needs to know. Believe it or not, if you have high cholesterol you can take Metamucil, a source of fiber, which has proven an effective means of lowering bad cholesterol levels.

5 Tips for Lowering Cholesterol

You do have the power to get your cholesterol numbers down, and putting these 5 tips for lowering your cholesterol into practice will help.

1. Eat less red meat.

Instead of picking up a lot of beef when you go to the grocery store, choose chicken or fish more often. Both of these two choices have less fat than beef and can be prepared in a number of tasty ways.

2. Cut back on saturated fat as much as possible.

What does this mean in practical terms? Well, you will need to switch to low-fat or skim milk, for starters. When you buy cheese, look for "light" versions as often as possible.

3. Fill up on fiber.

There are good reasons to add more fiber to your diet. Choosing whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals more often means that you will feel full for a longer period of time. You also get the benefit of lower cholesterol levels with time, since these foods are low in fat. If you decide to switch to whole wheat bread, watch the amount of butter or spread you are adding to it, though. The same advice goes for whole wheat pasta. You don’t want to blow the potential health benefits by combining it with a heavy cream sauce.

4. Get active.

Regular exercise will only help to lower cholesterol levels. You don’t need to plan to run a marathon next week to reap the health benefits of getting off the couch. Start by taking a brisk walk a few times a week and see how that feels.

Just when you were thinking that you weren’t able to enjoy life while trying to lower your cholesterol levels, here’s a bit of good news for you.

5. Drink red wine. A glass a day will help to lower your cholesterol.

Drinking to excess will not help you to become more heart-healthy, but enjoying a rich Bordeaux or Merlot can help to lessen your risk of developing heart disease. It also adds to the experience when you are having dinner, so feel free to indulge a little in the evening.