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Cholesterol is a waxy substance that circulates in the bloodstream. It may come as a surprise, but cholesterol is an essential substance for good health. The human body uses cholesterol in the creation of certain hormones and vitamins. It’s also used in the process of cell building. Cholesterol is derived from two sources. The liver actually produces all the cholesterol a human body needs. The other source comes from animals in the form of dairy products, poultry, and meat.
There are two different types of cholesterol – LDL cholesterol, which is considered the “bad” cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol, which is considered the “good” cholesterol. Over time, LDL cholesterol may join with other substances to form a thick deposit on the inside of arterial walls. This buildup can eventually cause a person’s arteries to narrow, making it more difficult for blood to circulate normally. Additionally, when blood flow becomes too sluggish, it creates an environment that is hospitable to the formation of blood clots. Either way, impediments such as these can increase the likelihood of a person experiencing a heart attack or a stroke.
Available Cholesterol Lowering Supplements
Fortunately, there are some things that people can do that may improve their chances of lowering cholesterol levels. Certain supplements may help make positive changes, especially when included with specific changes in diet and activity levels. If you’re concerned about your high cholesterol levels and/or your doctor has told you that you need to make some changes, it’s important to review all the suggestions your physician makes regarding your exercise goals, your dietary plan, and any cholesterol-lowering supplement you may decide to try. The latter is particularly important as some supplements may interfere with certain prescription medications you may already be taking. In addition, it’s a good idea to ask about potential side effects, as some dietary supplements may not be well-tolerated by certain individuals.
Berberine is a plant-based, powdered supplement, typically available in capsule form. Among other things, berberine can help improve total cholesterol levels. It accomplishes this by increasing beneficial HDL cholesterol levels and lowering LDL cholesterol levels, along with triglycerides.
Certain fish oil supplements (available in both capsule and liquid form) can be helpful in lowering a person’s triglyceride levels. If you decide to consider a fish oil supplement, be sure to check with your physician if you’re taking any blood thinner medications, as some fish oil supplements can interfere with those types of medications.
Green Tea Extract
While green tea extract is another supplement that may interact with blood thinner medications, it has been shown to help decrease a person’s LDL cholesterol levels. In turn, this can help improve a person’s overall total cholesterol profile. The extract typically comes in capsule form.
Niacin, otherwise known as vitamin B3, is a great overall supplement for those with high cholesterol issues. This vitamin helps increase beneficial HDL cholesterol, while lowering a person’s triglyceride levels, along with their LDL cholesterol. Niacin typically comes in pill form.
Plant Stanols and Plant Sterols
Plant stanols and sterols can help decrease LDL cholesterol levels, especially in those who have high cholesterol levels due to their genetics (familial hypercholesterolemia). Certain foods are high in plant stanols and sterols including pistachios, olive oil, bran, brown rice, peanuts, broccoli, apples, and more. They’re also available in supplement forms such as pills or capsules.
How to Decide Which Supplements Are Right for You
The first thing to determine is if your numbers are within normal range, or if you need help lowering cholesterol. Your doctor can run lab tests, or you can easily order at-home cholesterol tests to check from home. If you’d like to learn more about supplements, your doctor is an excellent resource. Whether you decide to take a home cholesterol test first, or if you prefer to be evaluated by your physician, your doctor can advise you about which supplement(s) may be right for you. They can also prescribe medications for lowering cholesterol if they believe them to be medically necessary.
Understand Your Cholesterol Levels With Help From Priority Lab Testing
Here at Priority Lab Testing, we offer our lipid panel and cholesterol test that evaluates everything you need to determine if your cholesterol profile is within normal ranges. Our comprehensive test measures HDL, LDL, triglyceride levels, and total cholesterol levels. Our tests provide affordable, accurate, and timely results in as little as one day. At Priority Lab Testing, we never charge our customers any hidden or unexpected fees. In addition, we comply with all state and federal regulations (including HIPAA) so our patients’ test results, along with all other personal information, remain private and confidential.