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How to lower high cholesterol with natural remedies

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High cholesterol is a health problem in which there is an accumulation of too much cholesterol in the blood. This can increase the risk of heart and blood diseases. There are two main types of cholesterol, one is called HDL and the other LDL. Having too much LDL cholesterol can cause health problems, so we refer to it as "bad" cholesterol. When there is too much of it, it can accumulate in the walls of blood vessels. This clogs them, causing the narrowing of the arteries, which increases the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Natural remedies for high cholesterol

Natural or complementary means for the treatment of heart disease often aim to control cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and improve heart health. Usually, research on such means is limited compared to those of conventional medical devices. 

However, many people have achieved results with alternative means and some cholesterol-lowering supplements. Therefore, next, we will look at which ones can be useful.

Astragalus

Astragalus membranaceus is an herb used to support the immune system in traditional Chinese medicine.  [ref. 1]  Astragalus has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is considered an "adaptogen". This means it can help the body cope better with stress. 

There are animal studies that show that the total amount of flavonoids significantly reduces plasma levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.  [Ref. 2]  Another study showed that astragalus polysaccharides lowered plasma cholesterol levels in hamsters.  [ref. 3] 

Hawthorn

Hawthorn (Crataegus) is a shrub whose fruits, leaves and flowers were used for heart problems during the Roman Empire.  [ref. 4]  Hawthorn acts ref. In addition, according to traditional Chinese medicine, hawthorn acts on the toning of the spleen to promote digestion and activate blood circulation to dispel stagnant blood.  [Ref. 5] 

Flaxseed oil

Both flaxseed and linseed oil contain high levels of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). It is an omega-3 fatty acid that can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Randomized controlled trials have shown that alpha lipoic acid can change the lipid profile, but their results are rather contradictory and more studies are needed to this effect.  [Ref. 6] 

Fish oil supplements with omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish and fish oils. Salmon, tuna, trout, herring, sardines, and other oily fish are particularly rich sources of anti-inflammatory fats.

Experts have already proven that omega-3 fatty acids in fish help reduce the risk of heart disease. Other nutrients in fish or a combination of these nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids can help protect the heart. Eating one or two servings of oily fish a week can reduce the chances of heart problems in general.

If you have heart damage you can benefit from taking supplements with omega-3 fatty acids or from eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. As described in "An Improvement of Cardiovascular Risk Factors by Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids", supplements containing polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) reduce serum triglycerides levels and increase HDL cholesterol.  [Ref. 7] 

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Sources of sterol and stanol

Plant sterols and stanols are substances found in many fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, cereals and other plants. Some processed foods are also enriched with plant sterols or stanols, such as orange juice or yogurt products.

Plant sterols and stanols can help reduce the risk of heart disease. They help to prevent the absorption of cholesterol from the small intestine. This can lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood.  [Ref. 8] 

  1. Natural remedies for high cholesterol
    • Astragalus
    • Hawthorn
    • Flaxseed oil
    • Fish oil supplements with omega-3 fatty acids
    • Sources of sterol and stanol

Summary

Some natural remedies may help manage cholesterol levels, but they do not replace drug therapy. Their advantage is that they are readily available, usually offered without a prescription, but not for everyone there is enough evidence whether they work effectively in humans. 

In addition to drug and alternative therapy, lifestyle changes and habits are also part of the means to lower high cholesterol. For example, maintaining a healthy weight for your height, increasing physical activity, eating nutrient-rich foods and quitting smoking are such measures.

References

  1. Astragalus trimestris
  2. Study of the Effects of Total Flavonoids of Astragalus on Atherosclerosis Formation and Potential Mechanisms
  3. Astragalus Polysaccharides Lowers Plasma Cholesterol through Mechanisms Distinct from Statins
  4. Crataegus
  5. Roles and Mechanisms of Hawthorn and Its Extracts on Atherosclerosis: A Review
  6. Redirecting
  7. An Improvement of Cardiovascular Risk Factors by Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids | Yanai | Journal of Clinical Medicine Research
  8. LDL-Cholesterol Lowering of Plant Sterols and Stanols—Which Factors Influence Their Efficacy?

The author

Bettina Tsvetkova is a Bachelor of Marketing and Master of Entrepreneurship, a fan of healthy eating, power sports and cycling. Author of over 1500 scientifically based articles, product texts and promotional materials on a healthy topic for Bulgarian and foreign websites. 

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