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 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 (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]
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]
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]