Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the bloodstream and is essential for the proper functioning of the body. However, when cholesterol levels become too high, it can lead to serious health problems, such as heart disease. To help lower cholesterol levels, many people turn to supplements. But what is the science behind these supplements?
The most common supplement used to lower cholesterol is a type of fiber called soluble fiber. Soluble fiber binds to cholesterol in the digestive tract, preventing it from being absorbed into the bloodstream. It also helps to reduce the production of cholesterol in the liver. Studies have shown that taking 10 to 25 grams of soluble fiber per day can help lower cholesterol levels by five to 10 percent.
Another supplement that can help lower cholesterol is plant sterols. Plant sterols are naturally occurring compounds found in plants such as nuts, grains, fruits, and vegetables. They work by blocking the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract, much like soluble fiber. Studies have shown that taking 2 to 3 grams of plant sterols per day can help lower cholesterol levels by up to 15 percent.
Fish oil is another supplement that is often recommended for lowering cholesterol. Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol. Studies have shown that taking 2 to 4 grams of fish oil per day can help lower cholesterol levels by up to 10 percent.
Finally, there are several herbs and spices that have been shown to help lower cholesterol. Garlic, for example, has been shown to reduce levels of LDL and total cholesterol. Other herbs and spices that have been shown to have cholesterol-lowering effects include ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon.
In conclusion, there is a lot of science behind the use of supplements for lowering cholesterol. Soluble fiber, plant sterols, fish oil, and certain herbs and spices can all help reduce cholesterol levels. However, it is important to remember that supplements should not be used in place of a healthy diet and regular exercise. Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements and always follow the dosage instructions on the label.