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8 Tips: High Cholesterol and Dietary Supplements

If you have high blood cholesterol levels, your health care provider will probably recommend changes in your lifestyle, such as choosing heart-healthy foods and getting regular physical activity, and may prescribe cholesterol-lowering medicine. Some dietary supplements have also been studied for their effects on cholesterol levels.

  1. Studies show that dietary supplements containing plant stanols or sterols, taken with meals, can reduce cholesterol levels. 

  2. Some soy products have a small cholesterol-lowering effect, but soy foods are more beneficial than soy protein or isoflavone supplements. 

  3. Studies suggest that whole flaxseed and flaxseed lignans may help to lower cholesterol levels, but flaxseed oil does not. 

  4. Garlic supplements may lower cholesterol levels, but their effect is modest compared to the effects of cholesterol-lowering medicines.

  5. Some red yeast rice products contain monacolin K, which is chemically identical to the cholesterol-lowering drug lovastatin. These products may lower cholesterol levels, but they cannot be sold legally as dietary supplements in the United States, and they can cause the same side effects and drug interactions as lovastatin. Red yeast rice products may also be contaminated with citrinin, a substance that may cause kidney damage.

  6. Limited evidence suggests that green tea and bergamot may have cholesterol-lowering effects.

  7. Studies on the effects of red clover on cholesterol levels have had inconsistent results.

  8. If you have high cholesterol levels, it’s important to follow your health care provider’s instructions for treating this problem. Don’t take dietary supplements instead of your prescribed medicine.