September is National Cholesterol Education Month

September is National Cholesterol Education Month

Published by Wonder Laboratories on Sep 21st 2023

Cholesterol levels are among the primary benchmarks used by doctors to assess a person’s likelihood of developing heart disease. In recognition of September bring National Cholesterol Education Month, we take a look at cholesterol health, and discuss some of the dietary supplements that can best help you manage your cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol, and Why It Matters

Cholesterol refers to various types of lipids (fats) that circulate in the blood and carry out various roles in the body. However, cholesterol levels must remain in balance for the sake of healthy blood vessels and blood flow.

Healthy high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is produced by the liver, and it contributes to the formation of cells, as well as certain vitamins and hormones. HDL is considered the healthy form of cholesterol because it moves through blood vessels easily and is efficiently broken down and expended by the liver. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is contained in many of the animal-based foods that we eat, as well as in other food products that contain saturated fats or trans fats; too much LDL in the blood can be detrimental.

When too much LDL is present in the blood, it builds up into plaque within the arteries. This is known as atherosclerosis. This typically occurs undetected and without symptoms, until either a blood test given by a doctor reveals that cholesterol levels are too high, or a heart attack or stroke occurs. Because of the unseen nature of atherosclerosis, a preventative approach is best. This means taking steps to manage your cholesterol levels.

Supplements to Manage Cholesterol Levels

Managing your cholesterol levels means both lowering your LDL levels, and raising your HDL levels. Both of these matter, because HDL actually helps to carry LDL out of the arteries and to the liver. Here are some of the vitamins, nutrients, and herbs which can best support healthy levels of LDL and HDL, and help prevent atherosclerosis and its effects.

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is one of the best-known choices for managing your cholesterol levels. Niacin is effective at reducing LDL cholesterol, as well as raising HDL cholesterol. It can also help to lower the amount of lipoprotein A in the blood, which is another contributor to atherosclerosis. It is best to take niacin with meals.

Psyllium is a healthy form of fiber that helps lower total cholesterol levels, as well as levels of other fatty triglycerides, in the blood. It can be especially helpful for diabetic individuals with high cholesterol. A psyllium husk supplement is an excellent way to take in this strong, cholesterol-reducing fiber.

Phytosterols are natural compounds which are present in some plant-based foods. A phytosterol supplement can be very beneficial for some people with cholesterol levels that are too high. Studies show that taking in 1-3 grams of phytosterols via a dietary supplement 2-3 times per day can significantly reduce LDL levels.

Flaxseed is an excellent supplement. It has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in persons with peripheral artery disease when taken regularly. It could reduce LDL cholesterol by up to 25% in some people.

Beta-glucans are natural fibers present in oats, mushrooms, and other plant-based foods. An oral beta glucan supplement can help reduce both LDL and total cholesterol levels, which are both metrics that matter in long-term cholesterol health, and it is the best way to consume these fibers in a concentrated form.

If you have high cholesterol, or you believe that you might have high cholesterol, then taking steps to manage your cholesterol levels is worth it. Some of the above supplements can interact with other medications, so talk to your healthcare provider before adding any of them to your daily regimen.

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