Nutrients to Lower your Cholesterol, Naturally!
Eating well and keeping active are a couple of risk factors within our control. If the majority
of your food has a barcode, you’re eating too many processed food items and likely
ingesting hidden sugar, trans-fats and potentially harmful preservatives. When it comes to
fitness, gestures such as opting for stairs over escalators add up to elevate your HQ (health
quotient). On top of that, we unfortunately don’t choose our ancestors. We’re blessed with
many wonderful characteristics that make us unique and some genetic traits that can
negatively affect our health, including the tendency for elevated levels of harmful low-density
lipoproteins (LDL cholesterol). Prescription drugs that lower cholesterol unfortunately carry
a heavy price tag, the likelihood of harmful side effects.
There are many natural nutrients you can supplement with to strengthen your cardiovascular
status. Natural agents which work at the hepatic level to lower production of LDL cholesterol
are a mainstay in supplements that target elevated cholesterol. The nutrient guggul, extracted
from resin of the tree native to northern Africa and central Asia (Commiphora mukul), works
within the liver to modulate production of harmful low-density lipoproteins (LDL cholesterol).
Plant steroids called guggulsterones are the marker compounds within guggul that drive this
process. Red yeast rice (Monascus purpureus) is an additional nutrient that decreases the
livers production of harmful cholesterol.
Plant sterols are among the most researched of cholesterol modulating nutrients. These
naturally occurring compounds serve a similar function to cholesterol in the plant kingdom
as the main component of cell walls. Among their many benefits for cardiovascular health
is that they compete for and obstruct intestinal absorption sites for harmful cholesterol that
would eventually serve as the mortar for plaque formation once within the bloodstream.
Soluble fibers called beta glucans found in oats amplify the beneficial action of plant sterols
within the intestines. During digestion they create a gel that binds to cholesterol-rich bile
acids to reduce their rate of absorption. This process eases the workload of the liver to
facilitate the breakdown of larger amounts of harmful cholesterol for excretion as bile acids.
Cholesterol is a waxy compound with a tendency to cling to arterial walls, even the
healthiest people experience some degree of accumulation. A potent polyphenol
(ECGC) present in green tea protects cholesterol from plaque formation, the process
commonly referred to as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Extracts containing
up to a 75% robust antioxidant are available on their own or in formulas tailored for
Coenzyme Q10 is among the most researched antioxidants to inhibit arterial plaque
formation. Formed within the liver, most of us experience an age-related decline in its
production. Depleted Coenzyme Q 10 levels are also a common side effect of
prescription statin drugs. Supplementation is definitely worthy of consideration.
These are among the leading natural nutrients for side-effect free cholesterol management.
Look for them as standalone supplements or within synergistic formulas you can take to
Gordon Raza, BSc
As the technical writer for Flourish, Gord shares his
unique perspective on natural health products, nutrition,
and active living.