Just pick up any supplement on the market, and there are chances that it will claim to lower your cholesterol and triglycerides. However, not all supplement claims are scientifically backed up. If you really want to use supplements, don’t trust everything on the labels. Here’s what scientific studies have to say about the most common supplements for high cholesterol and triglycerides:
Omega-3s (EPA and DHA) have been proven to lower triglyceride levels as much as 30%. Studies suggest that a daily intake of 250 mg EPA and DHA may reduce one’s risk of deaths caused by coronary heart disease and sudden cardiac arrest. Consuming fish oil can reduce the risk, too. To get the most out of fish oil, you need to take 2 to 4 grams every day, which is a high dose. So, you may need a prescription of fish oil if your triglyceride levels are too high. There is a concern about mercury contamination and other toxins that may be present in fish oil supplements. Also, the actual amount of fish oil and whether your body can absorb it effectively are worth thinking about as well. Thus, ask your doctor for recommendations on which ones you should try.
Niacin is a form of vitamin B. It can improve the balance of the good cholesterol HDL and the bad cholesterol LDL. Nevertheless, don’t try niacin unless your doctor tells you to. To have an impact on cholesterol and triglycerides, niacin must be taken at prescription-strength doses, which comes with side effects. These are all good reasons for niacin to be taken under your doctor’s close supervision.
Artichoke leaf extract
Artichoke leaf extract is the dried extract of the leaves taken from the artichoke plant, also known as Cynara scolymus. There are not many scientifically valid studies on the effectiveness of artichoke leaf extract against high cholesterol. Even those few studies show mixed results. A 2000 study looked at people who are in the high-risk range of total cholesterol. They were given an artichoke supplement for 6 weeks. Their blood tests, later, showed a reduction in the LDL level by 23%. However, a more recent trial using a similar design shows no significant changes. If you want to take artichoke supplements, feel free to do so, just keep your expectation low.
What’s the takeaway?
First and foremost, always consult with your doctor before you take any supplement, OTC or prescription. Take note of what you are taking to show your doctor when the need arises. Even better, bring all your medications and supplements with you when visiting your doctor’s office. Keep in mind that no supplement can replace your whole treatment plan. They are called supplements, not replacements. Supplements should only serve as additional effort. After all, a good treatment plan for high cholesterol and triglycerides should include a healthy diet, regular exercise, weight loss, and medication prescribed by your doctor.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: August 26, 2017 | Last Modified: December 6, 2019
Supplements for Cholesterol: What Works? http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20306863,00.html#don-t-rely-on-word-of-mouth-0. Accessed August 16, 2017.
Supplement Smarts for Cholesterol and Triglycerides. http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/supplements#2. Accessed August 16, 2017.