Supplement Smarts for Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Fish oil- These supplements may help lower triglyceride levels, thanks to omega-3s they have in them. Just know that getting the amount of omega-3s you need from supplements will add calories to your diet, so watch for weight gain. You’ll need 2-4 grams of fish oil per day. Fish oils are fat. Some people are concerned about high levels of mercury or other pollutants when picking out fish oil supplements.
Psyllium- Fibre is a great cholesterol-buster and part of a healthy diet. Fibre also helps lower triglycerides, especially for people with type 2 diabetes. If you don’t, or can't, get enough fibre from foods -- like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains -- psyllium can fill in the gaps. It’ll whisk away cholesterol, and is great for those with constipation.
Soy protein supplements- Soy can lower overall cholesterol levels and improve your levels of “good” cholesterol-HDL. Eating soy protein instead of animal protein (like meat and full-fat dairy) can also help lower "bad" cholesterol-LDL and total cholesterol levels.
Coenzyme Q10- This powerful antioxidant can lower bad LDL cholesterol's ability to stick to the blood vessels (as tested in mice). Research is needed in humans.
Garlic- Garlic supplements slightly lowered cholesterol levels in a few studies. But overall, the evidence doesn’t seem to support garlic as an effective way to lower cholesterol.
Niacin- This B vitamin can boost HDL and lower LDL and triglycerides. For niacin to work you have to take a lot of it, and that can cause serious side effects.
Vitamin D- Touted as a health powerhouse. It may not do much for your heart and has doubtful effect on improvement of cholesterol or triglyceride levels. Vitamin D however has other benefits.
Check with your doctor before you take any supplement or non-prescription treatment.
Supplements are just one part of your total care plan. They’re called “supplements” for a reason. If you take them, it should only be as part of a larger effort to lower cholesterol and triglycerides. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and meds, if prescribed by your doctor, should be the other parts of your plan. more