Last modified on February 26th, 2023
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance; it occurs in all the cells of the body.
It is a type of lipid; lipids are insoluble molecules that have a variety of purposes in the body from storing energy to synthesizing hormones.
Cholesterol is actually very useful for the body in adequate quantities as it is used to synthesize hormones and other extremely necessary compounds in the body such as vitamin D, and bile acids which are extremely important for digestion.
The body produces enough cholesterol to sustain health, but people also eat foods that contain cholesterol such as eggs, dairy products, meat, and some shellfish.
For lipids such as cholesterol to travel through the bloodstream, they must attach to a protein.
The lipoproteins that form from cholesterol are HDL, LDL, and VLDL.
HDL stands for High-Density Lipoprotein; this type of cholesterol is called “healthy” or “good” cholesterol as it prevents buildup by returning excess cholesterol from the arteries to the liver so it can be removed from the body.
LDL stands for Low-Density Lipoprotein.
These molecules contain higher levels of pure cholesterol; they are called “bad” cholesterol because they leave buildup in the arteries that can cause blockages and eventually lead to plaque clogging your arteries.
VLDL stands for Very Low-Density Lipoprotein.
These contain more triglycerides than cholesterol. Triglycerides are simple lipids that assist in energy storage throughout the body. They are the most common form of lipid as well. These can be bad if they occur in high quantities throughout the body.
The levels of these can be measured by having your medical professional perform a cholesterol test.
This involves taking a small blood sample and analyzing it in a laboratory to determine the specific levels.
High levels of LDL and VLDL may signal that you may need to reduce your cholesterol through different treatment methods.
Below, we cover the best supplements for high cholesterol so you can naturally lower your levels.
- Contain 300mg Pure Hawthorne
- No Additives or Fillers
- GMP and FDA certified
- Third-Party Tested
This Hawthorne supplement is all-natural and provides multiple health benefits ranging from cardiovascular to digestive health.
This high cholesterol reducing supplement is free from additives, fillers, and pollutants including bacteria and heavy metals.
This cholesterol-lowering supplement is GMP (Good Management Practices) and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) certified which means that its producer follows certain quality and purity standards for both the safety and efficacy of a product. This supplement is also Third Party Tested; this means that the supplement is proven to be safe and effective by a company other than the producer.
This supplement comes in 300mg capsules with 90 servings per bottle.
Reviews on this supplement say that it has benefited the reviewers greatly and that they are pleased with the quality and purity of this cholesterol-reducing supplement.
This supplement for high cholesterol contains 98% green tea extract.
It is in the form of a capsule for those that do not wish to drink green tea, or who want to take a higher dosage.
This high cholesterol supplement is non-GMO certified which means it contains no Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). It contains powerful antioxidants to reduce cellular damage.
This supplement is GMP certified. It contains 90 100mg servings per container.
Reviews suggest that this supplement is a very good product with little to no side effects experienced.
- GMP and FDA certified facility
- Vegetarian and Organic
- Supports Digestion
- Promotes Cardiovascular Health
This cholesterol-lowering supplement is made in a GMP and FDA certified facility. It is also Third-Party Tested for safety and efficacy.
This product is certified organic and may provide many health benefits including both cardiovascular and digestive health benefits.
This supplement is in the form of a powder which means it may be good for those who have an aversion to swallowing pills.
There are about 30 servings of 7.5g supplements per container. Reviews on this supplement say it is a good value, dissolves readily in water, and tastes very pleasant.
- Finely Ground mixes readily and easily
- Supports Healthy Digestion
- Promotes LDL Cholesterol Reduction
- Certified non-GMO, USDA Organic
Viva Naturals Psyllium Husk Powder can be used as a supplement or as an ingredient for baking. This supplement is Third Party Tested, USDA Organic, and non-GMO; it contains large quantities of soluble fiber to promote lowering LDL cholesterol.
This cholesterol-lowering supplement may also support digestive health. Reviews say that this supplement is good quality and provides them with many health benefits such as better digestion and lowered LDL cholesterol on tests.
- GMP Certified
- Packaged in the USA
- Vegan/Vegetarian, Gluten-Free
- Non-GMO, Double Strength
This cholesterol supplement is a powerful component in the fight against high cholesterol. This niacin supplement is “flush-free” meaning that the side-effects of higher doses of niacin such as flushing and itching can be avoided. This supplement is free of gluten and GMOs. It is GMP certified and packaged in the USA.
This cholesterol supplement contains 90 500mg servings of niacin. It is laboratory tested for safety and purity and is free from most common allergens. Reviews say this product works as expected and that they are satisfied with their purchase.
- Third-Party Tested and Made in the USA
- Supports Brain and Cardiovascular Health
- FDA Certified
- Non-GMO and Gluten-Free
This cholesterol supplement may provide many health benefits including the regulation of glucose and cholesterol levels; it is also a powerful antioxidant and may protect cognitive health.
This cholesterol supplement has a high absorption rate; it is certified by the FDA and is non-GMO. It is also Third-Party Tested for safety and efficacy.
Pterostilbene is similar to another compound called Resveratrol which has many health benefits on its own, but Pterostilbene is more easily absorbed.
There are 60 100mg supplements per container, an almost 2-month supply.
Reviews on this supplement say that it is life-changing and provides benefits to their cognitive health and cardiovascular health.
How Does High Cholesterol Occur?
High Cholesterol can be caused by several different factors, including genetics, age, and lifestyle choices.
Some people may be genetically prone to developing high cholesterol, while some people are born with a condition called familial hypercholesterolemia (FH).
FH is a genetic disorder that causes people to be born with high levels of LDL cholesterol and develop even higher levels with age.
This disease affects men and women equally. The current statistic for those that have FH is 1 in 250.
Diagnosing this condition is sometimes difficult as it does not always present symptoms; however, it may leave cholesterol buildups in atypical places such as around the eyes or Achilles tendon.
Age is a risk factor for high cholesterol as your body continues to build up bad cholesterol deposits over time if not enough HDL cholesterol is consumed. Age does not always play a role though, as some children and teens have High Cholesterol.
Lifestyle choices are one of the biggest risk factors for high cholesterol for people of any age.
There are many different lifestyle choices that promote the development of high cholesterol:
- Physical Inactivity
Diets high in unhealthy saturated fats can eventually cause high cholesterol by increasing lipid levels.
You should limit total fat consumption, but more specifically control your intake of saturated fats.
For someone who consumes 2,000 calories a day, total fat consumption should be around 56-78 grams. Of those, 13 grams or less should be saturated.
Diets high in saturated fat and trans-fat increase the risk of developing high cholesterol.
Saturated fats act in the body by raising levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol, this increases the risk of plaque buildup.
Trans fats may also raise levels of LDL cholesterol, but they also have the adverse effect of lowering HDL “good” cholesterol. Lower levels of HDL in the body reduce the effectiveness of clearing buildup in the arteries.
Smoking is known to cause many adverse health effects such as breathing difficulties, and various cancers.
This activity is not good for health and reduces overall health in almost all aspects of life; smoking may also cause high cholesterol by lowering levels of HDL cholesterol. In a recent study, people that abstained from smoking had an almost 3.5% increase in overall HDL blood cholesterol levels.
Stopping smoking can drastically increase levels of good cholesterol in only 3 weeks or less.
Stress can cause symptoms and conditions ranging from brain fog to high blood pressure.
Short-term stressful activities may cause a 5mg/dl increase in LDL cholesterol. This is a minuscule amount, but if this stress was continued, the risk for heart disease would increase by 3%.
Stress may work to increase LDL cholesterol by releasing stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.
Stress hormones cause the body to activate its energy stores and free up fatty acids and sugars which may increase lipid levels including cholesterol.
Obesity is growing increasingly more common in the United States. As of 2015-2016, the obesity rate in the U.S. was 39.8% of adults. Obesity contributes to many health issues including an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and heart disease.
Obesity raises LDL “bad” cholesterol levels and lowers “HDL” good cholesterol levels if this change is significant enough, it may cause people to develop high cholesterol.
Physical inactivity ties in with all the other risk factors discussed above. Being physically active is a lifestyle choice that will provide many health benefits such as increased mobility, and it decreases the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
One of the best ways to prevent high cholesterol is by eating healthier foods and moving around more, this alone may be more powerful than cholesterol medication.
If you need help finding treatment plans without taking medication, your medical provider will be able to provide insight to specifically treat you.
There are certain risk factors for developing high cholesterol, but the good news is you can prevent many of these risk factors.
While you cannot change your age, sex, or heredity, you can change your lifestyle choices. You do not have to immediately change everything, sometimes it takes time. Gradually start making healthier decisions, and it will greatly benefit you in the long run.
What are the Side Effects of High Cholesterol?
It is very often that high cholesterol produces no noticeable side-effects until damaging heart conditions begin to arise. Therefore, testing for high cholesterol is extremely important and potentially lifesaving. Once high cholesterol becomes damaging, symptoms have an extremely high risk of occurring including
- Heart Attack
High cholesterol can be life-threatening if not treated. It may cause fatty build-ups in the blood vessels.
This is extremely dangerous as it thickens the inner walls of blood vessels with a substance called plaque (plaque is made of cholesterol, lipids, calcium, and clotting agents in the blood) and causes them to become stiff.
This condition is called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis reduces the body’s ability to transport oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.
The blockages caused by plaque buildup may cause conditions such as Angina (chest pain), Coronary Heart Disease, Chronic Kidney Disease, Carotid Artery Disease, and Peripheral Artery Disease.
Another dangerous element of plaque buildup in the arteries is if a piece of plaque becomes dislodged and proceeds to get stuck elsewhere in the circulatory system, a blood clot may occur.
If blood clots occur near the heart or brain, they can cause serious conditions such as heart attack and stroke.
Who is At-Risk for High Cholesterol?
High Cholesterol can occur in any person no matter their age, gender, or race. However, there are certain risk factors that increase the chances that someone will suffer from high blood pressure:
- Certain Behaviors
- Health Conditions
- Age and Gender
Smoking, eating a diet high in saturated fats, and being physically inactive can cause a higher risk of developing high cholesterol.
This happens because all these activities lower the amount of HDL “good” cholesterol in the body and raise levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol.
This combination of less good cholesterol and bad cholesterol may lead to blood cholesterol levels of more than 190mg/dL which is considered to be extremely dangerous in terms of high cholesterol: a normal level would be around 100-129mg/dL.
Health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and obesity have been shown to put people at a greater risk of developing high cholesterol. Type 2 diabetes may cause a greater risk by reducing the amount of HDL cholesterol and increasing levels of LDL.
Obesity has similar effects and includes the added adverse effect of high blood pressure.
Beyond preventable behaviors and conditions are genetics. These cannot currently be changed; genetic risks for developing high cholesterol include family history of high cholesterol and heart disease rates as well as a family culture of eating unhealthily. If high cholesterol runs in a family even in very young members, it may be considered familial hypercholesterolemia (FH).
This disease begins to cause high LDL cholesterol levels in very young people; FH worsens with age. It affects both men and women equally, and it is estimated that 834,000 people have the gene mutation.
People with this condition are five times more likely to develop Coronary Heart Disease over a 30-year term than those who do not have this mutation.
As with most cases of high cholesterol, few to no symptoms present themselves, but FH differs from most cases of high cholesterol as cholesterol deposits may develop in odd places around the body such as alongside tendons and around the eyes.
Age and gender offer a certain risk factor in most conditions, and it is the same way for high blood pressure.
With age, the risk of high cholesterol and its related symptoms increases. The body becomes less efficient at clearing LDL cholesterol from its systems.
Those that develop high cholesterol early on can also expect their LDL levels to increase with age. Women typically have less LDL and more HDL cholesterol than men until they turn about 55 and menopause begins, then men tend to have less LDL than women.
Testing for High Cholesterol
Cholesterol testing should be performed regularly on all people, especially those at risk for developing high cholesterol.
High cholesterol presents no symptoms until life-threatening conditions occur from it, so it is imperative to be tested.
The American Heart Association suggests that people 20 years old and older get their cholesterol tested every 4-6 years.
For children with a high risk of developing Familial Hypercholesterolemia, cholesterol testing and evaluations should occur between the ages of 6 and 12.
Cholesterol testing has the potential to be lifesaving as it allows you to see a risk factor that you may not have known about before.
If you are at risk of developing high cholesterol and haven’t been tested, speak with your medical provider to schedule a test. High cholesterol can be treated by diet and lifestyle changes to prevent serious complications, learning about your risk early can assist greatly with your future health.
The test for high cholesterol is a simple blood test that may be performed by your regular medical provider.
Your medical professional may ask that you fast (abstain from eating and drinking anything but water) for 8-12 hours to get an accurate reading of your LDL cholesterol levels.
How is High Cholesterol Treated?
High cholesterol can be treated in several ways, but the first choice for mild cases is to adjust certain behaviors that raise cholesterol.
For some, diet and exercise alone may be enough to regulate cholesterol levels. For others, prescription drugs may be recommended. Supplementation may also be an option to add to your diet to lower cholesterol.
Speak to your medical provider to determine the best plan for you.
Almost all people who are at risk for developing or have high cholesterol can benefit from eating healthier foods and exercising regularly. Foods to avoid while trying to lower cholesterol are typically of animal origin: liver, egg yolks, shrimp, and whole milk dairy products.
Foods that help lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL include,
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Whole Grains
- Legumes (such as kidney beans, lentils, and chickpeas)
- Salmon, Tuna, and Mackerel
Exercise and physical activity can help to raise HDL cholesterol and improve health in general. If you aren’t very active, it’s best to start slow and work your way up to be more and more physically active. If you have concerns or questions about eating lower cholesterol foods or being physically active, please consult your healthcare provider as they can give you answers that are tailored to fit your needs.
What are the Best Types of Supplements for High Cholesterol?
Taking supplements can be a helpful addition to your mission to reduce high cholesterol levels.
There are many different supplements available in many different forms which allows you to choose the best for you without having to compromise.
Supplements may be a good choice for you, but it is very important that you speak with your doctor before beginning any new supplement or medication to ensure your safety.
There are many supplements that claim to reduce high cholesterol but some of them have been disproven, such as garlic. Initial studies suggested that garlic supplements showed promise for treating high cholesterol; such studies have been disproven.
However, studies have shown supplements that may reduce high cholesterol levels. These include:
- Green Tea
- Oat Bran
- Blond Psyllium
- Plant Stanols and Sterols
Hawthorns are shrubs native to parts of Europe, Asia, and North America. This plant was used traditionally to create medicines for cardiovascular diseases. Studies show it may help reduce cholesterol by causing more bile acids to be excreted. Hawthorne supplements may also assist in improving blood flow and protecting blood vessels from damage associated with numerous conditions.
Studies suggest that green tea and green tea extract may provide an LDL cholesterol-lowering effect and reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease.
No effect on HDL cholesterol levels was shown in this study, but the reduction of LDL cholesterol is a very important piece of the puzzle.
Oat Bran provides a source of soluble fiber which is key in reducing LDL cholesterol. Oat products can be consumed in your typical diet or taken as a supplement, making oat bran and other oat products very versatile.
Psyllium has been shown in many studies to reduce LDL cholesterol and also assist in bile acid production and cardiovascular health. In studies, psyllium has reduced LDL cholesterol by an average of 6-24%; it is especially effective for those with high starting rates of cholesterol. Psyllium may be used as a co-therapy for statin drugs as well. Statins are a variety of cholesterol-lowering medications.
Niacin is better known as Vitamin B3. It is an essential vitamin that has many health benefits on its own, but it may be extremely beneficial for those who struggle with or are at risk for developing high cholesterol. Niacin raises HDL and lowers LDL and Triglycerides by blocking the liver from making so much LDL cholesterol. Niacin may even be prescribed for high cholesterol.
Plant sterols and stanols are compounds found in plants that are shown to reduce cholesterol levels very effectively. When tested, plant sterols have been shown to reduce absorption of cholesterol by between 10-25% daily. This reduction of absorption may help to reduce cholesterol levels by preventing so many to enter the bloodstream. Sterols may also assist in metabolizing and excreting cholesterol from the body.
High cholesterol is a potentially dangerous condition that affects many people. It presents no symptoms but if left untreated it may cause serious and life-threatening complications. The good news is, high cholesterol is treatable by diet, exercise, medication, or a combination of the three. It is a very good idea to get tested every 4-6 years once you are over 20 to ensure that you are not at risk.
If you are concerned about having high cholesterol or treating high cholesterol with or without a supplement, please consult your healthcare provider because this article is no replacement for the advice of your medical professional.
Speak with your medical provider to learn about treatment plans that may work for you. Thank you for reading, if you have questions or personal experiences about cholesterol please feel free to contact us!
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