|Amino Acid / Protein|| Taurine
| ||Taurine conjugation of bile acids has a significant effect on the solubility of cholesterol, increasing its excretion, and administration of taurine has been shown to reduce serum cholesterol levels in human subjects. |
In a single-blind, placebo-controlled study, 22 healthy male volunteers, aged 18-29 years, were randomly placed in one of two groups and fed a high fat/high cholesterol diet, designed to raise serum cholesterol levels, for three weeks. The experimental group received 6 grams of taurine daily. At the end of the test period, the control group had significantly higher total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels than the group receiving taurine. [Adv Exp Med Biol 1996;403:615-622]
Irvingia Gabonensis (African Mango)
| ||At week 10, significant differences were observed for total cholesterol (placebo: 142.5 mg/dl vs. IGOB131: 111.9 mg/dl, p < 0.05) and LDL cholesterol (placebo: 77.7 mg/dl vs IGO131: 59.77 mg/dl, p < 0.01). Compared to baseline values, total |
cholesterol decreased by 1.9% in the placebo group as opposed to 26.2% for the IGOB131 group while LDL cholesterol levels fell by 4.8% in the placebo compared to 27.3% in the IGOB131 group. Correcting for placebo values, the relative change in the total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol was observed to follow a similar pattern in the experimental group, suggesting a similar response mechanism to IGOB131 (the Irvingia Gabonensis extract) intake. [
Lipids in Health and Disease 2009, 8:7doi:10.1186/1476-511X-8-]
Kelp / Seaweed
| ||Several studies have shown a mild lowering effect on total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Garlic oil does not produce this cholesterol-lowering benefit like raw, cooked or powdered garlic does. Large doses are required (6,000 to 8,000mg per day) to produce this effect, which causes gastrointestinal discomfort for some people. Furthermore, this benefit does not become evident until after 3 months of continuous use.|
Grape Seed Extract / Resveratrol
| ||One month of treatment with Pycnogenol (360mg per day) reduced total and LDL-cholesterol levels, but had no effect on HDL-cholesterol levels, in a study of 40 patients with diagnosed chronic venous insufficiency. [Phytother Res 2002;16(2): pp.1-5]|
Three months of using pycnogenol at 120mg per day improved erectile function and reduced total and LDL cholesterol levels in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 21 men with erectile dysfunction. [ Nutr Res 2003;23(9): pp.1189-98]
Artichoke Extract (Cynarin scolymus)
| ||Choleretics typically lower cholesterol levels because they increase the excretion of cholesterol and decrease the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver. Consistent with its choleretic effect, cynara extract from artichoke leaf has been shown to lower blood cholesterol (13%) and triglyceride levels (5%) in both human and animal studies.|
Green / Oolong / BlackTea (Camellia sinensis)
Liver/Gall Bladder Flush
Processed Foods Avoidance
Grain-free / Low Starch Diet
| ||It is important to realize that diet is the key to lowering cholesterol levels. Restriction of processed grains, sugars and dairy, and replacing all fluids with water are key. Many doctors are finding large and relatively quick drops (as much as 100 points in several weeks) in people who follow these recommendations.|
Minor cholesterol (LDL) reductions can be achieved by adding whole grains (especially oats) to the diet. This may seem confusing! Although moderate grain consumption (due to its fiber content) can lower cholesterol somewhat in some individuals, radical grain restriction may substantially lower cholesterol levels in others. If large reductions are needed or other cholesterol-lowering methods are ineffective, grain and sugar restriction may be the answer.
High/Increased Protein Diet
| ||Avoiding carbohydrates, especially those of the high glycemic index type, can improve total, LDL and HDL cholesterol levels. The Atkin's diet, among others, accomplishes this by avoiding them.|
Increased Fruit/Vegetable Consumption
| ||Soluble fiber from fruit pectin has lowered cholesterol levels in most trials. Doctors often recommend that people with elevated cholesterol eat more foods high in soluble fiber.|
| ||Cholesterol levels are much lower in vegetarians.[1-4] Vegetarian diets reduce serum cholesterol levels to a much greater degree than is achieved with the National Cholesterol Education Program Step Two diet.[5-8] In one study published in The Lancet  total cholesterol in those following a vegetarian diet for 12 months decreased by 24.3%.|
The ratio of HDL- to total-cholesterol has been shown to be significantly lower in vegans as compared to lacto-ovo-vegetarians.
- West RO, Hayes OB. Diet and serum cholesterol levels: a comparison between vegetarians and nonvegetarians in a Seventh-day Adventist group. Am J Clin Nutr 1968;21:853-62
- Sacks FM, Ornish D, Rosner B, McLanahan S, Castelli WP, Kass EH. Plasma lipoprotein levels in vegetarians: the effect of ingestion of fats from dairy products. JAMA 1985;254:1337-41
- Fisher M, Levine PH, Weiner B, et al. The effect of vegetarian diets on plasma lipid and platelet levels. Arch Inter Med 1986;146:1193-7
- Burslem J, Schonfeld G, Howald M, Weidman SW, Miller JP. Plasma apoprotein and lipoprotein lipid levels in vegetarians. Metabolism 1978;27:711-9
- Cooper RS, Goldberg RB, Trevisan M, et al. The selective lowering effect of vegetarianism on low density lipoproteins in a cross-over experiment. Atherosclerosis 1982;44:293-305
- Kestin M, Rouse IL, Correll RA, Nestel PJ. Cardiovascular disease risk factors in free-living men: Comparison of two prudent diets, one based on lacto-ovo-vegetarianism and the other allowing lean meat. Am J Clin Nutr 1989;50:280-7
- Ornish D, Brown SE, Scherwitz LW, et al. Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary heart disease? Lancet 1990;336:129-133
- Hunninghake DB, Stein EA, Dujovne CA, et al. The efficacy of intensive dietary therapy alone or combined with lovastatin in out patients with hypercholesterolemia. New Engl J Med 1993;328:1213-9
Smaller, More Frequent Meals
| ||Controlling cholesterol levels may be a case of not only what is eaten but how often. Men and women who eat six or more times a day have cholesterol levels that are about 5% lower than those of less frequent eaters. The researchers found lower levels of cholesterol in the frequent eaters regardless of their body mass, physical activity or whether they smoked. From other studies we know that a 5% lowering of cholesterol may be associated with a 10% reduction in coronary heart disease risk. [British Medical Journal, Dec 1, 2001]|
Nut and Seed Consumption
| ||Good fats that come from raw nuts and seeds are an important part of any cardiovascular protective diet. Pecans, for example, will lower total cholesterol, triglycerides, apolipoprotein B and lipoprotein(a). [A Monounsaturated Fatty Acid Rich Pecan Enriched Diet Favorably Alters the Serum Lipid Profile of HealthyMen and Women, Jnu 2001;131: pp.2275-2279]|
Whole almonds or almond oil (replacing half of the habitual fat intake) reduced plasma triglyceride, total and LDL-cholesterol concentrations, and increased HDL-cholesterol levels in a trial of 22 men and women with normal lipid levels. [J Nutr 2002;132(4): pp.703-707]
Macadamia nuts have also been found to reduce total and LDL cholesterol, thus reducing cardiovascular disease risk. Please see the link between Increased Risk of Heart Disease and Nut and Seed Consumption.
High/Increased Fiber Diet
| ||The fiber of choice for hypercholesterolemia is psyllium, pectin or guar gum. The amount of pectin in approximately two servings of fruit rich in pectin such as pears, apples, grapefruit, and oranges is 15gm. Psyllium or guar gum are obtained by supplement. The RDA for total fiber is 20-30gm. The fiber from whole grains, especially oats does have a cholesterol lowering effect, especially in someone on a previously low fiber diet.|
Three months of supplementation with ground flaxseed at 40gm per day reduced serum total cholesterol in a study of postmenopausal women. [J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2002;87(4): pp.1527-1532]
Oat bran (35-50gm per day) reduced total and LDL cholesterol levels in a controlled study of 152 overweight men with hypercholesterolemia. As one tablespoon of oat bran weighs about 6 grams, it would take roughly 6 to 8 tablespoons per day to achieve this total. [Ann Nutr Met 2003;47(6): pp.306-11]
| ||Monounsaturated fatty acids - as contained in olive oil - reduce total and LDL cholesterol concentrations without reducing the levels of HDL cholesterol, thus leading to favorable changes in the serum lipid profile and possibly to changes in the physico-chemical properties of lipoproteins. In this way, olive oil with its high monounsaturated fatty acid content may contribute to the prevention and management of hypercholesterolaemia, a dominant risk factor for the development of atherosclerosis, and to the prevention of CHD.|
Soy Isoflavones (genistein, daidzein)
| ||A soy protein isolate reduced total and LDL-cholesterol concentrations in a study of 60 patients with high cholesterol levels. [Eur J Clin Nutr 2002;56(4): pp. 352-35]|
Red Rice Yeast
| ||In a study of 100 patients at the Warsaw Institute of Hematology, GHB was shown to lower cholesterol levels.|
Conventional Drugs / Information
| ||Kilmer S. McCully, M.D.|
Chief, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Service
West Roxbury Veterans Affairs Medical Center
The longest running study of cardiovascular disease in a population was initiated in Framingham, Massachusetts in 1948 and continues to this day. This important longitudinal study identified important major risks for disease, especially smoking, lack of exercise, age, male gender, and elevated cholesterol levels in younger men.
In spite of the great emphasis on cholesterol levels, the Framingham study made several critical observations that refute the "diet-heart" hypothesis. In the first place, dietary cholesterol has no relation to cholesterol levels in the blood, and dietary cholesterol has no relation to the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
This observation was confirmed by multiple large studies from Chicago, Puerto Rico, Honolulu, Netherlands, Ireland, and the massive Lipid Research Clinics study of US citizens. The next astounding finding is that elevated cholesterol is not a risk factor for women of any age or for men over age 47.
Furthermore, both total mortality and cardiovascular mortality in Framingham participants increases in those with LOW cholesterol levels. This finding has been confirmed by multiple studies from Canada, Sweden, Russia, and New Zealand. These contradictory findings have been ignored, distorted, and incorrectly reported by supporters of the "diet-heart" hypothesis.
The massive Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MRFIT) screened 360,000 men to find those with the highest risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Approximately 12,000 overweight, hypertensive, smokers with elevated cholesterol levels were recruited for this 7 year trial, involving consuming a low fat diet, smoking cessation, exercise and anti-hypertensive drugs.
At the end of the trial, blood pressure was down, smoking decreased, and average cholesterol levels were down 7%. When the results of this $100M trial were analyzed, 115 in the treatment group had died of heart disease, compared with 124 in the control group, an insignificant difference. Looking at mortality from all causes, there were 265 deaths in the treatment group, compared with 260 in the control group. In looking at the failure of this massive and expensive $100M trial, the investigators found minor benefits of smoking cessation, no benefit of lowering blood pressure, and no effect of lowering cholesterol levels by 2% compared with the control group.
In the even more massive Lipid Research Clinics (LRC) trial, 4000 participants with very high cholesterol levels were selected from almost half a million men. After significant lowering of cholesterol levels for 7 years by the resin cholestyramine, 190 men had suffered nonfatal heart attacks in the treatment group, compared with 212 in the treated group. As for fatal heart attacks, the figures were 1.7% compared with 2.3%, a difference of 0.6%, or 12 individuals. The investigators expressed these differences as relative risk reductions of 19% and 30% by throwing out the denominators of their fractions.
In the later trials with statin drugs that lower cholesterol levels more effectively than the unpleasant resin cholestyramine, a similar statistical approach was taken to increasing the apparent effect on reducing cardiovascular mortality and adverse events.
In an analysis of 6 major statin trials (EXCEL, 4S, WOSCOPS, CARE, AFCAPS, LIPID), the reduction of cardiovascular mortality ranged from -19% to -41% when expressed as relative risk reduction, but from -0.12% to -3.5% when expressed as absolute risk reduction. This statistical manipulation to make the results more impressive illustrates Mark Twain's aphorism: There are lies, damn lies, and statistics. Thus a multi-billion dollar drug industry depends upon using misleading interpretations of statistics showing trivial differences between treated and control groups.
The gigantic MONICA study, sponsored by the World Health Organization, analyzed the relation between cardiovascular mortality and blood cholesterol in 27 countries, in much the same way as the Seven Countries Study. The results are similar, showing that countries like Japan and China have low mortality and low cholesterol levels, and countries like Finland have high mortality and high cholesterol levels.
Yet countries like France, Germany, Switzerland, and Luxembourg have a low mortality rate and yet a high blood cholesterol value. This so-called "French paradox" is not a paradox at all, when examination of the data reveals great disparities in mortality between different regions with the same cholesterol levels.
Similarly the residents of Corfu have a 5 fold greater mortality than residents of Crete, despite identical dietary practices and identical cholesterol levels. Residents of the North Karelia regions of Finland have mortality rate of 493/100,000 and those in Fribourg France have mortality rate of 102/100,000, yet the cholesterol levels are identical at 245 mg/dl in both regions.
The National Cholesterol Education Program is a quasi-governmental body sponsored by members of the National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association, and other supporters of the "diet-heart" hypothesis. This body recommends a low fat, high carbohydrate diet to prevent heart disease, in spite of the increasing incidence of diabetes, obesity, and hypertension that is linked to consumers of this diet.
They consistently advocate programs of extreme lowering of cholesterol levels by drug therapy, in spite of evidence of increased risk of mortality from heart failure, cancer, cirrhosis, and other diseases in older subjects with low cholesterol levels. They also recently recommended lowering the acceptable level of Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) in the population by statin therapy, in spite of the fact that 8 of the 9 members of the advisory panel had a direct conflict of interest by accepting payments from the drug industry.
This body has popularized the concept that LDL is "bad cholesterol" and HDL is "good cholesterol" in spite of the marginal and sometimes contradictory data distinguishing these fractions from total blood cholesterol. This body also advocates "aggressive cholesterol lowering" in the population in spite of the fact that no cholesterol lowering trials have demonstrated reduced mortality or sudden death from such treatments in the otherwise normal population.
Kilmer S. McCully, M.D.
Chief, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Service
West Roxbury Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Plant Sterols / Sterolins (Phytosterols)
| ||The mechanism of the cholesterol-lowering activity of phytosterols is not fully understood. Phytosterols appear to inhibit the absorption of dietary cholesterol and the reabsorption (via the enterohepatic circulation) of endogenous cholesterol from the gastrointestinal tract. Consequently, the excretion of cholesterol in the feces leads to decreased serum levels of this sterol. Phytosterols do not appear to affect the absorption of bile acids. It is believed that phytosterols displace cholesterol from bile salt micelles. Another proposed mechanism is the possible inhibition of the rate of cholesterol esterification in the intestinal mucosa.|
Beta 1,3 Glucan
| ||The oral use of beta-1,3-glucan increases the effectiveness of other oral cholesterol-reducing agents, such as niacin.|
| ||A US study has shown that despite previous findings to the contrary, the nutritional supplement policosanol does not lower levels of total or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C).|
Policosanol is derived from purified sugar cane and used in the US and other countries to treat hypercholesterolemia.
Luigi Cubeddu, from Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida, and colleagues now think that it should join the list of nutritional supplements that lack scientific evidence to support their use. "Our results are supported by a recent study conducted in The Netherlands where policosanol was found ineffective in lowering serum LDL-C in human patients." [ Am Heart J 2006; Advance online publication]
| ||In a recent study, the more a person exercised, the more their cholesterol improved, but positive results were seen even in those who engaged in small amounts of exercise. The amount of exercise may be more important than intensity. This means that if equal amounts of calories are spent, you would be better off with moderate exertion for longer periods than intense exertion for shorter periods of time. [NEJM November 7, 2002;347: pp.1483-1492]|
| ||Chromium picolinate supplementation at 1,000mcg per day over a 13-week period combined with exercise decreased total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and insulin levels in a recent small study of both males and females. [J Nutr Biochem, 1998;9: pp.471-475]|
| ||There is an E-Book available called The Great Cholesterol Lie. In it, Dr. Dwight Lundell, MD, a cardiovascular and|
thoracic surgeon makes it clear what causes heart disease and points out that it is not cholesterol! Click Here! to read about this book.
TMG (Tri-methyl-glycine) / SAMe
Oxygen / Oxidative Therapies
Ozone / Oxidative Therapy
Vitamin Inositol Hexaniacinate
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
| ||Probably the best form of vitamin B3 to use for the purpose of cholesterol reduction is inositol hexaniacinate (flush-free niacin). It is often given at 500mg tid for two weeks, then increased to 1,000mg tid. If using regular niacin, start out with 100mg tid working up to 1,000mg tid with meals. Niacinamide, as a supplemental vitamin, is not effective for lowering cholesterol. Niacin may also be helpful by transforming small unprotective HDL particles into larger ones which do offer a protective cardiovascular effect.|| |