Millions of Americans have high cholesterol and struggle to control it. A class of prescription drugs known as statins are effective at lowering cholesterol levels. But there are some over-the-counter and natural treatments that can help to lower your cholesterol. No matter what drug therapy you choose, the American Heart Association says that diet plays a key role in cholesterol levels and, in many cases, simply changing your diet to a low-fat, high-fiber diet will produce results.
A vitamin that you can purchase at any drug or health food store, niacin is known to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, but only modestly. While it has been proven that statins may cut cholesterol levels in half, niacin is significantly less effective, though for those with only slightly elevated levels, niacin, also known as B3 or nicotinic acid, may be an option. Niacin should be taken three times a day and you should start with a dosage of 50 milligrams three times a day and slowly increase to 1,000 mg, according to the HeartPoint.com website.
Fish Oil Pills
Widely available, fish oil pills are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are polyunsaturated fats. According to the Mayo Clinic, omega-3 fatty acids are important in the fight against high triglyceride and cholesterol. These fats help to protect the heart from sudden death from heart disease. Fish oil pills, along with the consumption of big fish like salmon or tuna, can help to lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Omega-3 fatty acids may also be found in flaxseed or canola oil.
According to the Mayo Clinic and many other heart health experts, oats and oat bran are effective cholesterol reducers. Oats contain soluble fiber, which has been found to be effective at inhibiting the absorption of cholesterol and, in turn, consuming oats can help to reduce levels of so-called bad cholesterol. Oats and oat bran are commercially available as oatmeal and in cereals made from oatmeal or oat bran.
The website Herbal-Supplements-Guide.com recommends five herbs that are effective in lowering bad cholesterol levels. Ginger, green tea, guggulipid (an old Indian herb), olive oil and turmeric are all effective at reducing cholesterol as well as improving circulation and, in some cases, lowering blood pressure.
No Benefit from Antioxidant Vitamins
The American Heart Association addresses the theory that antioxidant vitamins--A, C and E--are useful in reducing cholesterol levels. However, according to the AHA, studies have provided no scientific link between consuming these vitamins and reducing cholesterol levels. The AHA does recommend consuming foods high in antioxidants, such as fruits, vegetables, polyunsaturated oils and whole grains.