If diet and exercise alone aren’t helping to lower your cholesterol, you may be wondering what, if anything, will help before you start taking a prescription medication.
While diet and exercise are the first steps anyone trying to lower their cholesterol should take, it is worth considering a natural approach with supplements to lower cholesterol before taking any prescription medication.
We’ve listed some of the best supplements to lower cholesterol. In most cases, adding these supplements can help to lower your cholesterol when taken in the right amount.
Fiber is found in a variety of foods, unfortunately most of us still don’t get enough. When it comes to your diet, eating a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits, and whole grains such as oats, whole wheat, flaxseed, and barley will help lower your cholesterol as the fiber helps flush bad cholesterol.
However, if your diet isn’t cutting it, like most people, taking additional fiber through a supplement can definitely help. Some fiber supplements come in capsules, others are water-soluble and are made to mix with water or juice.
In a 1999 Harvard Medical School study, high soluble fiber consumption was associated with reductions in bad (LDL) cholesterol and total cholesterol. For each gram of soluble study participants consumed, levels of LDL cholesterol dropped about 2 points. Health organizations recommend 25 grams of dietary fiber a day at a minimum. Most of us fail to get even close to consuming that much fiber. Taking fiber supplements in moderation can help.
2) Fish Oil
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish, avocados, and nuts such as almonds and walnuts. These Omega-3s have been shown to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, depression, cancer, and ADHD while also helping to reduce cholesterol.
The recommended daily dose of omega-3 is 1000 mg for adults with coronary heart disease, and for general health, two servings of fatty fish per week are recommended.
If you are at risk for heart disease or have high triglycerides, you may need more omega-3 than what you can obtain from diet alone. If this is the case, omega-3 supplements can be found in most grocery stores in the form of fish oil.
In clinical trials, fish oil has been shown to reduce triglyceride levels – the third component of total cholesterol – by 10 to 30 percent. Higher triglyceride levels have been linked to a higher risk for coronary heart disease.
Niacin, a B vitamin found in meat, fish and dairy foods, has been shown to effectively reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and boost (good) HDL cholesterol. And while it’s found in many different foods, it’s also found in a number of different supplements.
A 1970 study that lasted more than 6 years conducted on 1,100 people found niacin significantly decreased total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides, but the most notable benefit comes with its effect on HDL (good) cholesterol. Research has shown, Niacin helps to raise HDL cholesterol by up to 35%.
Niacin can easily be found in supplement form, and doctors usually recommend 1-3 grams of Niacin a day.
L-arginine is a semi-essential amino acid the body can convert into the molecule nitric oxide. Nitric oxide stimulates the relaxation of blood vessels, promoting improved blood flow. L-arginine is found in dairy products, poultry and pork products, soybeans, chocolate, seafood, nuts and chickpeas.
While it’s used for lowering blood pressure, it’s also a powerful supplement to reduce cholesterol. Studies have shown l-arginine lowers LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels. Experts recommend between 3 to 6 grams of l-arginine a day to help reduce cholesterol levels.
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