Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

High cholesterol is when you have too much cholesterol, a fatty substance, in your blood, and left untreated, serious health complications can occur, including heart attack and stroke.

It’s mainly caused by eating fatty food and not exercising enough, as well as being overweight, smoking and drinking alcohol.

While dietary adjustments play a pivotal role in lowering cholesterol, Alison Cullen, Nutritional Practitioner from avogel.co.uk, said the inclusion of certain supplements can further fortify our efforts to combat high cholesterol.

She said three potent supplements to have on your radar are omega 3s, red yeast and artichoke (also known by its Latin name of Cynara).

Omega-3s

Omega-3s can be found in the form of a fish oil supplement. You can also get a vegan alternative made from algae instead of fish.

Alison said: “Omega-3 fatty acids are renowned for their ability to lower triglycerides and reduce the risk of heart disease. You can add oily fish to your diet a few times a week, but it can be helpful to take a daily supplement as well, for a range of reasons that include high cholesterol.

“It’s one of the supplements that can be recommended for most people, to reduce inflammation, support cognitive function, skin and joint health, eyesight and mental health, in addition to supporting the heart and cholesterol levels.”

Red yeast

Red Yeast is a traditional Chinese remedy known for its cholesterol-lowering properties. It’s extracted from fermented rice and contains monacolins, compounds that effectively impede cholesterol production.

Alison said: “Notably, Monacolin K, a key component, mirrors the structure of the pharmaceutical statin drug lovastatin, which decelerates cholesterol production within the body, mitigating the risk of cholesterol accumulation on arterial walls that could impede blood flow to vital organs such as the heart and brain.

“For those considering Red Yeast supplementation, a daily regimen is generally recommended. This is one to consider if you already have high (or borderline high) cholesterol levels.”

Artichoke (Cynara)

Cynara is a tincture of globe artichoke, which has been found to inhibit the manufacture of cholesterol, whilst encouraging its breakdown and reducing its absorption in the gut.

Alison added: “Artichoke also increases bile production and its movement into the intestines, thereby improving the way dietary fats are metabolised. Take 20 drops in a little water or juice, two to three times daily. If you have issues with cholesterol, this herbal remedy can be recommended for its balancing effect on cholesterol levels; however, this bitter herb is also helpful generally, to support the liver and digestion and prevent any issues with cholesterol in future.

“Try A.Vogel Artichoke Cynara Drops – Artichoke extract made with freshly harvested Cynara (50ml, £11.99 from avogel.co.uk).”

What to watch out for, according to Alison

  • Reduce saturated fats and trans fats in our diets, to reduce the production of cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • It’s important to know that the body turns excess sugars into triglycerides too, so eating excess amounts of sugar will have a similar effect to eating a lot of saturated fat. So, beware of anything labelled ‘low fat,’ as these products often contain a lot of refined sugar.
  • Avoid coffee and alcohol, to reduce strain on liver function.
  • Fibre also helps to reduce LDL cholesterol, so increase consumption of beans, oats, green leafy vegetables, apples, oranges, garlic, onions, buckwheat, grapes, leeks, cabbage, bananas, pineapple and ginger. Use extra virgin olive oil in cooking.
  • Research has shown the oral contraceptive pill can influence lipid profiles, including cholesterol levels; so, if you are taking the pill and have high cholesterol levels it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor about alternatives.
  • Stress can also be a contributing factor to high cholesterol. Chronic stress triggers the release of cortisol and other stress hormones, promoting the production of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the type of cholesterol that can be dumped within arteries. Additionally, stress-induced behaviours, such as unhealthy eating and binge-watching box sets instead of exercising, further contribute to elevated cholesterol levels, creating a link between prolonged stress and an increased risk of cardiovascular issues.
  • Lifestyle changes for a healthy heart – beyond supplements, lifestyle adjustments can significantly impact cholesterol levels. Quitting smoking, increasing physical activity, and managing stress are all integral components of a heart-healthy lifestyle.

By admin

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