When dealing with high cholesterol, vitamin supplements are often a solution thought about. But before opting to go this route, one must understand that different kinds of supplements will have many different results depending on what you choose. Because of this, a health provider must be consulted in the beginning to determine what your cholesterol level is, and what supplements to purchase. It is also very important to take note that supplements will not reverse the ill effects of unhealthy habits such as cigarette smoking and a high fat diet. These supplements should only be used as what is was intended for, to help but not treat any underlying conditions. Therefore, you should only use these combined with healthy habits such as a low fat diet and an active lifestyle.
A nutrient that deals with high cholesterol is vitamin B3 (niacin), found in vegetables, fish, milk and eggs. However, the vitamin B3 content of these foods are not enough to lower cholesterol. Our body needs between 2,000-3,000 mg of vitamin B3 daily, and this may only be available via medication. Consuming niacin must be done carefully however, as too much can lead to hot flashes, gout, nausea, gastric distress and indigestion. Because of this, consume niacin only with a doctor’s prescription.
Another ingredient in maintaining low cholesterol is soluble fiber. Apples, barley, oat bran, beans, lentils and citrus fruits are natural foods that are known for the fiber content that eases digestion as well as to control cholesterol. Soluble fiber binds with existing cholesterol in the body. When this happens, cholesterol is flushed away with it when soluble fiber is expelled from the body through fecal waste, thus minimizing cholesterol absorption through the intestines.
Garlic extract is yet another vital ingredient to manage cholesterol levels in the body. If taken excessively however, fiber and garlic extract can lead to bloating, gas, nausea, body odor, heartburn and vomiting. It will also absorb omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil and health supplements. Noted for their HDL elevating qualities, omega-3 fatty acids are useful in maintaining high HDL cholesterol levels in the body (this is the ‘good cholesterol’). If using blood thinning drugs though, check with a health practitioner first when incorporating garlic and omega-3 fatty acids in the diet plan.
If you are interested in all-natural food supplements to curb your cholesterol levels, flax seeds are a very good selection. This type of whole grains have been observed to lower amounts of LDL cholesterol (i.e., ‘bad cholesterol’) and keep it from being absorbed in the intestines. Flax seed is a flexible ingredient of which you can consume with cereal, yogurt or baked with bread or muffins. Be watchful of eating high amounts of flax seed if you are on blood thinning drugs.
This is just a summary of what’s available out there. A health professional or your local pharmacist will be able to advice you on several other choices.