Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance found in every cell, but concentrated in the brain, liver, and blood. Essential to the body, cholesterol helps form cell walls and protective sheaths around nerves, aids in hormone production, and supports digestion. It is present in all animal source foods, but not in plant-based. Cholesterol is absorbed from your food (25%) or made in your liver (75%).
There are 3 possible mechanisms to help lower cholesterol levels:
1) Eat food containing as little fat and cholesterol as possible.
2) Use supplements/medications to block its absorption through the intestine.
3) Use supplements/medications to block the liver from manufacturing more cholesterol.
- VITAMINS E AND C taken together or with enteric-coated garlic capsules are safe over long periods, and can be used with cholesterol-lowering drugs. Vitamins E and C don’t lower cholesterol, but help protect against “bad” cholesterol (LDL).
- INOSITOL HEXANIACINATE, a form of niacin, lowers total and LDL levels, raises HDL, and lowers triglycerides.
- GUGULIPID derived from tree resin, seems to break down “bad” cholesterol and boost “good” cholesterol.
- PSYLLIUM, OAT BRAN and APPLE PECTIN all contain a water-soluble fiber which helps lower cholesterol by binding substances called bile acids in the intestines.
- POLICOSANOL can effectively lower both total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, while raising HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Its action is similar to that of statin drugs. In addition, policosanol can block platelet aggregation or “stickiness”.
- PANTETHINE a form of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), reduces the amount of cholesterol manufactured by the body and is safe to use with cholesterol-lowering drugs.
- RED YEAST RICE has proved very effective at reducing cholesterol levels. Red yeast rice should never be taken in conjunction with cholesterol-lowering drugs because it is virtually identical to the prescription (statin) medications.