Thursday, October 27, 2011

Natural Supplements to Reduce Cholesterol

Survey a group of your friends and you will find at least one or two people who are on prescription drugs to lower cholesterol. The most commonly prescribed medications for reducing cholesterol levels are the statins drugs. Statins originally came from a natural source but now are synthetically modified. The statin drugs lower cholesterol by reducing the production of cholesterol by the liver. Statins block the enzyme in the liver that causes the liver to produce cholesterol. The statin drugs do have side effects such as liver damage, muscle pain, stomach problems and skin rashes. I have had several friends who have taken the drugs complain of muscle aches. There are natural alternatives to the statin drugs and some doctors are now prescribing them. One of most popular of these is red yeast rice. Red yeast rice has been used by the Chinese for thousands of years. Red yeast rice is a product of the yeast that is grown on rice. The so called "secret ingredient" in red yeast rice is called monacolins. Monoacolin K has the same structure as the cholesterol reducing drug lovastatin. Several studies have been conducted to measure the effectiveness of red yeast rice to reduce cholesterol. Results have been encouraging. One study by the UCLA School of Medicine involved 83 people with high cholesterol levels. Subjects who ingested red yeast rice over a 12-week period experienced significantly lower levels of total cholesterol, "bad" LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides (fats in the blood) compared to those taking placebo (no drug or supplement). "Good" HDL cholesterol levels did not change in either study group. Though the UCLA study did not show an increase of good cholesterol another 8-week study of 446 people with high cholesterol found those who took red yeast rice had a significant drop in cholesterol levels compared to those who took placebo. In this study HDL (the good cholesterol) l increased by 20% in the group that took red yeast rice. Guggulipid is another natural alternative to statin drugs. Guggulipid comes from the bark of the Guggul tree and has been used in Asia as a cholesterol reducing supplement. Research indicates that gugglesterone may lower cholesterol and help to decrease body-fat levels. The vitamin Niacin has also been for the past 50 years as treatment of high cholesterol and other lipid abnormalities. Niacin interacts with fats and lipoproteins and changes their quality and quantity in a way that is good for the body. So as you can see there are a variety natural supplements to reduce cholesterol. If you are interested in using them ask your doctor about them. These are not supplements to try on your own. Which supplement is right for you is dependent on your medical condition.

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