Vitamins and supplements
Supplements for lowering cholesterol
There are many alternatives to prescription drugs that are worth considering. Natural supplements such as inositol hexaniacinate, pantethine, guggulipid that can be effective in lowering cholesterol. Supplements for lowering cholesterol can be used as a part of an overall plan that includes diet and lifestyle changes. If your doctor is suggesting prescription drugs and you have a preference for supplements, then talk about supplements for lowering cholesterol with him/her and see if you can't persuade them to let you try this course of action first. If you are currently on prescription drugs, don't stop them without consulting your doctor.
Vitamins and antioxidants
Although antioxidants are considered to have health benefits, some antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E, vitamin C and beta carotene, may actually raise levels of bad cholesterol. These vitamins were thought to mop up free radicals produced by natural metabolic processes, but they may really hamper the process that helps prevent the production of bad cholesterol. Liver cells normally break down some of the very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), \preventing it from being converted in the blood stream into low-density lipoprotein (LDL). But, in animal studies, antioxidants such as vitamin E have been found to hinder this process.
Vitamins claimed to lower cholesterol
Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Niacin, has long been popular for people with high cholesterol. Niacin is thought to lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and raise the level of the HDL cholesterol, but see above for the latest research. Niacin can also cause undesirable side effects such as stomach irritation, skin flushing, glucose intolerance, liver damage and nausea. The safest form of niacin available is Inositol hexaniacinat.
Also known as guggul, Guggulipid is a standardized extract from the mukul myrrh (Commiphora mukul) tree, a native of India. It appears to increase the breakdown of LDL cholesterol in the liver, and can lower LDL cholesterol levels by up to 35%, total cholesterol by up to 27%, triglycerides by up to 30%, and increase HDL cholesterol by around 20%. The recommended dosage of guggulipid is based on the amount of guggulsterones in the extract. Side effects include mild abdominal pain and some diarrhea and should be used with caution by people with liver disease.
A form of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) pantethine has been shown to lower total cholesterol by reducing levels of LDL and total cholesterol, raising HDL, and lowering triglyceride levels. It works by improving fat metabolism and by slowing cholesterol production of in the liver. Pantethine is a good cholesterol supplement for diabetics.