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The Risk and Rewards of Taking Supplements to Lower Cholesterol

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When it comes to lowering cholesterol, many people turn to supplements for help. Supplements are an attractive option because they are widely available and often don’t require a prescription. But before you dive into taking supplements to lower your cholesterol, it’s important to understand the potential risks and rewards.

The Risks of Taking Supplements to Lower Cholesterol

The biggest risk of taking supplements to lower cholesterol is that they may interact with other medications you’re taking. Some supplements, such as garlic, may interact with blood thinners like warfarin, increasing the risk of bleeding. Other supplements, such as red yeast rice, may interact with statins and increase the risk of muscle damage. It’s important to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements to make sure they won’t interact with any medications you’re taking.

In addition, supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the same way that medications are. This means that there is no guarantee that the supplement you’re taking contains what it says it does on the label. It’s important to buy supplements from reputable sources and to look for products that have been tested by third-party organizations like USP or NSF.

The Rewards of Taking Supplements to Lower Cholesterol

The biggest reward of taking supplements to lower cholesterol is that they may be able to help you reduce your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Some supplements, such as plant sterols and stanols, have been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Other supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids, may help to reduce triglycerides.

In addition, supplements may be a good option for people who cannot take statins due to side effects or other medical conditions. Supplements may also be a good option for people who are looking for a more natural approach to lowering cholesterol.

The Bottom Line

Supplements can be an effective way to lower cholesterol, but it’s important to understand the potential risks and rewards before taking them. Talk to your doctor to make sure that any supplements you take won’t interact with any medications you’re taking. It’s also important to buy supplements from reputable sources and to look for products that have been tested by third-party organizations. In addition, supplements may be a good option for people who cannot take statins or who are looking for a more natural approach to lowering cholesterol.

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