ANTIAGING PRODUCTS: CHOLESTEROL LOWERING SUPPLEMENTS
Foods known to assist in lowering cholesterol include
beta glucans containing oats and barley.
Although the extent of the following supplements has
yet to be sufficiently proven, they have had a range
of effects from impressive to modest, with very rarely
It is recommended to tell your doctor and have periodic
blood tests to see if they are having the desired effect.
Phytosterols [Plant sterols]
Phytosterols interfere with absorption of lower LDL
(“bad”) cholesterol, but little or no effect
on HDL (“good”) cholesterol or triglycerides.
Used in FDA-approved margarines (Benecol and Take Control),
which lower cholesterol by an average of 10% when eaten
as directed, have proven more effective than supplements.
Potential side effects include gastrointestinal problems
such as cramping and diarrhea. May possibly reduce absorption
of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, K, and E) as well as
carotenoids such as beta carotene.
Psyllium (Sold as Metamucil)
Psyllium is a seed grain fibre supplement and laxative
(powder or pill). Lowers total and LDL cholesterol by
4 to 7%. Start with a low dose, then increase to minimise
gas and bloating. May interact with some drugs. In rare
cases, allergic reactions.
Niacin [B vitamin, nicotinic acid]
Niacin, in massive doses lowers LDL, boosts HDL, and
reduce triglycerides substantially. May have other beneficial
effects as well. Other cholesterol-lowering drugs have
less effect on HDL and triglycerides.
Niacin is not recommended for people with liver disease,
it can cause hot fushes and itching, nausea, blurred
vision, dizziness, headache, rise in blood sugar, and
liver damage. Extended-release versions, such as Niaspan,
reduce flushing. Best taken under medical supervision.
Red yeast rice extracts
These rice extracts have been used for centuries in
China as a heart remedy. Made by fermenting red yeast
on rice; contains lovastatin, the same ingredient found
in one of the statin drugs (Mevacor). Can cause bloating,
gas and in rare cases, muscle pain or liver problems.
May interact with grapefruit juice.
Do not take with other cholesterol-lowering drugs
or levothyroxine (for thyroid problems). Take under
medical supervision with periodic blood tests.
Policosanol is derived from sugar cane, yams, or beeswax.
Some studies suggest it can lower LDL cholesterol as
much as 25%; others have found little or no effect.
Don’t take with anti-clotting drugs.
Potential side effects include: gastrointestinal upset,
rashes, headaches, insomnia, and weight loss. May inhibit