More threads by Daniel


Cholesterol-lowering supplements may be helpful

By Mayo Clinic Staff
Nov 10, 2022

Diet and exercise are proven ways to reduce cholesterol. Cholesterol-lowering supplements may help, too.

If you're worried about your cholesterol level and have started exercising and eating healthier foods, you might wonder if a dietary supplement could help. With your doctor's OK, here are some cholesterol-improving supplements to consider.

Cholesterol-improving supplementWhat it might doSide effects and drug interactions
BerberineMay reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol and triglyceridesMay cause diarrhea, constipation, gas, nausea or vomiting; may cause harm to babies during pregnancy and breastfeeding
Fish oilMay reduce triglyceridesMay cause a fishy aftertaste, bad breath, gas, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea; may interact with some blood-thinning medications
Flaxseed, groundMay reduce LDLcholesterolMay cause gas, bloating or diarrhea; may interact with some blood-thinning medications
GarlicMay slightly reduce cholesterol but studies have been conflictingMay cause bad breath, body odor, nausea, vomiting and gas; may interact with some blood-thinning medications
Green tea or green tea extractMay lower LDLcholesterolMay cause nausea, vomiting, gas or diarrhea; may interact with blood-thinning medications
NiacinMay lower LDLcholesterol and triglycerides; may improve high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or "good") cholesterolMay cause itching and flushing, which are more common at the higher doses usually needed to have an effect on cholesterol
Plant stanols and sterolsMay reduce LDLcholesterol, particularly in people with a genetic condition that causes high cholesterol (familial hypercholesterolemia)May cause diarrhea

Red yeast rice — Natural doesn't mean safe​

Some red yeast rice products contain a substance (monacolin K) that is chemically identical to the active ingredient in lovastatin (Altoprev), a prescription medication that lowers cholesterol. Because there is variability in quality from manufacturer, the amount of monacolin K can vary widely from product to product.

Products that contain monacolin K can cause the same types of side effects as lovastatin, which include damage to the muscles, kidneys and liver. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has ruled that dietary supplements that contain more than trace amounts of monacolin K are unapproved drugs and can't be sold legally as dietary supplements.

Dietary supplements may not be enough​

While dietary supplements can help, you might also need prescription medications to get your cholesterol numbers to a safe level. Be sure to tell your doctor if you take any type of dietary supplement, because some can interact with medications you may be taking.
Replying is not possible. This forum is only available as an archive.