Certain dietary supplements can help reduce elevated cholesterol levels. A new report from New York based ConsumerLab.com, which focuses on test results on health, wellness and nutrition products, reviewed the evidence behind each of the popular cholesterol-lowering ingredients and provided test results for 12 supplements. Among those proven to work are plant sterols, also known as phytosterols, which bind cholesterol in the gut. They tested several sterol supplements. One product appeared to be best, having clinical evidence to support it and being lowest in cost.
Another supplement ingredient touted to lower cholesterol is policosanol, although the evidence is mixed. Tests by ConsumerLab.com identified several policosanol supplements that delivered what they promised, and one was, by far, the best value. Elevated cholesterol is a key risk factor for heart disease.
According to the American Heart Association, 99 million Americans age 20 and older have elevated blood cholesterol levels. Lifestyle changes such as improving diet, losing weight and increasing exercise are often effective at improving cholesterol levels. Various supplement ingredients may be helpful as well, lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol), raising high-density lipoprotein (HDL or good cholesterol) and improving the LDL/HDL ratio. Some supplements may also reduce triglycerides.
Among the 12 products covered in the new review of cholesterol-lowering supplements, 10 were selected by ConsumerLab.com and two others were included for having passed the same evaluation through ConsumerLab.com’s voluntary Quality Certification Program.
The new report also provides expert tips on buying and using these supplements and includes information about other ingredients that may improve cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels. Several of these have been the subject of separate test reports by ConsumerLab.com including fish oil/omega-3 fatty acids, garlic, niacin, red yeast rice, and soy protein. Evidence was also reviewed for guggulsterone, pantethine and Sytrinol.