- According to a recent study, LDL cholesterol levels were not significantly affected by any of the six dietary supplements that are frequently advertised as lowering cholesterol.
- The LDL cholesterol levels of research participants who used a statin, a low-dose prescription drug, decreased on average by 35% over that time.
- Adults with certain cardiovascular disease risk factors between the ages of 40 and 75 are advised to take statins, according to the US Preventive Services Task Force.
You might want to wait if you’ve been considering trying to lower your cholesterol without a prescription by taking over-the-counter dietary supplements.
According to a recent study, compared to a placebo, six dietary supplements that are frequently promoted as a strategy to lower cholesterol had no discernible effect on levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol.
The 28-day experiment used fish oil, garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, plant sterols, and red yeast rice as supplements.
The LDL cholesterol levels of research participants who took a low-dose prescription drug called a statin, however, decreased on average by 35% over that time.
According to Dr. Kershaw Patel, a preventive cardiologist and assistant professor of cardiology at Houston Methodist in Texas, “the only agent of those examined in the study that actually decreased LDL cholesterol was the statin prescription.”
In order to lower their LDL cholesterol, patients shouldn’t waste their money on these dietary supplements, the doctor advised.
The current study, which was released on November 6 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, did not include Patel.
The maker of Crestor, a brand-name version of the statin used in this trial, AstraZeneca BioPharmaceuticals, provided funding for the study.
Customers who receive supplement marketing
The liver produces cholesterol, a waxy, fatty substance that moves through the bloodstream. Cholesterol is a substance that the body utilizes to break down fats and generate certain hormones.
Aside from dairy products, animal items such as meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and dairy contain cholesterol.
Triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels that are too high together can raise your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Adults with certain cardiovascular disease risk factors between the ages of 40 and 75 are advised to take statins, according to the US Preventive Services Task Force.
However, according to a survey by Trusted Source, only 45% of Americans over 40 who qualified for a statin actually took it.
According to Patel, people who are worried about the safety of these prescription drugs may choose not to take a statin. They might not be aware, he continued, that “dietary supplement safety is not assessed with the same rigor as prescription medicine safety.”
Consumers are also “bombarded with commercials and advertisements telling them to consume these supplements… for really fuzzy reasons,” according to Dr. Lawrence Appel, a professor of medicine and the director of the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
He went on to say that “there’s really no compelling biological rationale” for any of these supplements to significantly lower LDL cholesterol. There is simply no foundation for it, i.e.
LDL cholesterol was reduced only by statins
In a recent trial, low-dose rosuvastatin, one of six dietary supplements, or an inactive placebo were given at random to 190 participants between the ages of 40 and 75 for a 28-day period.
Compared to the placebo group, those who took the statin had a 35% lower LDL cholesterol level. Additionally, total cholesterol and triglycerides decreased more in statin users than in placebo users.
But over the course of the 28 days, neither the supplement group nor the placebo group experienced any appreciable advantages.
The LDL cholesterol of those taking the garlic supplement also increased by almost 8%.
Researchers discovered that the rates of unfavorable events were comparable for all groups.
Statin benefits and risks
Muscle discomfort, constipation, and diarrhea are just a few of the negative effects that statins can have. However, the American Heart Association stated in a scientific statement published in 2018 (Reliable Source).
The AHA/ASA Journals
journal with peer review
that the advantages “greatly outweigh” the dangers for those for whom statin therapy is advised.
Even though they may occasionally be labeled as “natural,” nutritional supplements may not always be secure, particularly if a person is already taking other vitamins or drugs.
The quality of medicines and substances can also differ between producers because the sector is mostly unregulated, according to Dr. Efstathia Andrikopoulou, a cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Constraints of the research
One of the study’s shortcomings, according to Patel, is that participants were only followed for a maximum of 28 days. We don’t know if using one of the dietary supplements for a longer period of time would provide a greater reduction in LDL cholesterol levels.
However, he added that statins usually begin to operate after about a month, so “if we were going to see any improvement, I think it would happen around this time.”
In a statement published on November 6 in response to the study, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade association for the dietary supplement sector, stated that “dietary supplements are not intended to be quick fixes, and their effects may not be revealed during the course of a study that only spans four weeks,especially in a situation like high cholesterol, which has multiple contributing factors.
The council stated in their statement that the choice of supplements used in the study was “much more puzzling.” It seems like the study was designed to divert attention from the supplements’ failure. Only three of the supplements in the study are promoted for their ability to lower cholesterol, despite the fact that all of them are known for advantages connected to heart health.
Certain nutritional supplements may have a positive long-term effect, according to some research.
According to a review of earlier research, people who used krill oil, which has omega-3 fatty acids identical to those in fish oil, for longer than 12 weeks experienced a greater reduction in LDL cholesterol.
According to certain assessments from earlier studies, the levels of total or LDL cholesterol in persons with type 2 diabetes were not affected by fish oil. The HDL cholesterol and triglycerides both underwent some favorable modifications.
Concentrate on medication and a healthy diet
One issue with waiting longer to lower your cholesterol, according to Patel, is that you are exposed to cardiovascular risks for a longer period of time. Nevertheless, statins begin to reduce LDL cholesterol in as little as a few weeks.
Instead of taking dietary supplements, Patel advises people to improve the quality of their diets, which he claims have no relation to supplements, and consult a doctor before taking a cholesterol-lowering drug.
According to Andrikopoulou, a recent study shows there is no benefit to taking these six dietary supplements to lower cholesterol.
The researcher added that “this [study] reinforces our already established dietary and lifestyle recommendations that encourage everyone to ensure they get their vitamins and nutrients from consumption of heart-healthy foods, such as minimally processed foods, vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains.”
Patel specifically advises patients to follow a Mediterranean diet, which places an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and legumes and contains heart-healthy oils like olive oil.
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), which permits more dairy and meat than the Mediterranean diet, is also advised by the American Heart Association. Vegetarian or vegan diets based on plants are additional options. Trusted Source.
Although there are diets that are good for the heart, eating a diet low in cholesterol does not guarantee that you will have low cholesterol. The same is true of meals high in cholesterol. The amount of cholesterol in the body is controlled by the body, which occasionally produces more or less of it based on the amount of cholesterol consumed through diet.
Limiting the consumption of saturated fats, added sugars, and highly processed foods is crucial for all of these diets.
A minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise is also advised by Andrikopoulou.