People suffering from high cholesterol are increasingly becoming aware that statin drugs can cause life-threatening side-effects and are looking for supplements that might naturally help improve their blood lipid panels.
When my patients inquire about natural remedies for high cholesterol, it usually sparks a much needed conversation about what cholesterol really is, what it does, and why it’s so important for human health.
Without a clear understanding of cholesterol and its vital role in the body, lowering cholesterol naturally with supplements and lifestyle changes (rather than just regulating it with drugs) is virtually impossible.
Science vs. Snake Oil
Bring up any health problem in public these days and you’re bound to get some unsolicited advice from everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, about how to handle it.
Can’t sleep? Try some essential oils. Indigestion? Take a shot of apple cider vinegar. Growing fur on your tongue? Open your throat chakra.
The problem with advice these days is very little of it is supported with quality scientific research. Who cares? Well, you should, because science has a way of helping us differentiate between remedies that are worthwhile and those which should be written off as snake oil.
If you haven’t yet read my articles 6 Ways to Lower Cholesterol Without Drugs and 7 Natural High Cholesterol Remedies Supported by Science, I encourage you to do so because the information in them is imperative to your health and longevity.
As enlightening as these articles are, however, there is more to be said on the matter. Luckily, scientific research into high cholesterol and the natural remedies that can help control it is continuing. Many of those remedies are outlined in my previous posts, but more are listed below.
Best Natural Supplements for High Cholesterol
Supplementation with natural, pure forms of Vitamin D and Omega-3s is probably the #1 most supported natural remedy for high cholesterol in the scientific literature. They are also two of the supplements I take every day.
1. Curcumin – Various herbs and spices can offer a multitude of benefits for human health, but none carry more scientific backing than curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to improve some of the most terrible diseases known to man, including breast cancer, colon cancer, esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, asthma, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease, depression, and yes, high cholesterol (1)(2)(3).
To review some of the science on curcumin and cancer, see our article on this miracle spice.
2. Spirulina – Spirulina (blue-green algae) is a complete protein, containing all essential and non-essential amino acids, and is 4x more absorbable by the human body than beef. It contains over 100 minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals, has antiviral properties, improves insulin resistance and several other serious conditions including high cholesterol (4)(5), and is among the most nutritious substances on Earth.
See our article on spirulina for a complete description of its health benefits.
3. Black Seed – I’ve written entire articles about black seed. It’s one of the simplest, easiest, and most nutritious foods you can add to your life.
You can add seeds to just about anything you eat, from salads to omelettes to sauces and smoothies.
4. Cranberry Extract – Study conclusion: “Cranberry supplements are effective in reducing atherosclerotic cholesterol profiles, including LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels, as well as total : HDL cholesterol ratio, and have a neutral effect on glycemic control in type 2 diabetic subjects taking oral glucose-lowering agents.” (8)
5. Phytosterols – Phytosterols are natural compounds found in plant cell membranes. Because phytosterols have a very similar molecular structure to cholesterol, they compete in the digestive system and inhibit cholesterol from being absorbed.
It should be noted that phytosterols should be consumed in their natural form from real foods like plants and other vegetables. Those which are added to products artificially (like in refined vegetables oils and fortified foods) are a health disaster waiting to happen.
6. Ginger – Ginger is one of those spices that has been studied quite extensively and has many health benefits. In our research, ginger has been shown to have a positive effect on gout, PMS, type 2 diabetes, and even breast cancer.
♦ Research Conclusion: “After 8 weeks of intervention, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and saffron consumption had significant effects on total cholesterol, LDL, and HDL levels (p < 0.05) compared with controls.” (13)(14)
7. Selenium – One of the most important nutrients for the immune system is selenium. Signs of selenium deficiency include hair loss, fatigue, low immunity, skin and nail discoloration, brain fog, and hypothyroidism.
Just a few Brazil nuts every day supply all the selenium we need. Other food sources include eggs, liver, tuna, cod, and sunflower seeds.
Keep in mind that high cholesterol is not a disease. It’s a risk factor for disease and highly reversible with the right lifestyle and a little patience. Aside from the previously mentioned supplements, lowering refined carbohydrate and sugar intake is crucial for keeping cholesterol levels in a healthy range.