Vitamins for Cholesterol Control – B3, C, E, D and Omega-3s
It may seem strange to think about using vitamins for cholesterol reduction, however in some cases, that may be just what the doctor ordered – literally! Various vitamins have been attributed to lowering cholesterol numbers. And, although just only one has been clinically proven to actually cause a dip in LDL, studies have shown that various vitamin supplementation may be able to promote healthy lipid levels.
The notion of natural ways to lower cholesterol is nothing new. In fact, in Eastern culture, red yeast rice has long been used medicinally and has been clinically proven to reduce bad cholesterol numbers. Aside from fermented rice extracts, Coenzyme Q10 benefits have been linked to lipid lowering, and a whole host of herbs, spices and natural compounds have been deemed beneficial as well. Take for instance the benefits of plant sterols supplements. In studies they have been proven time and time again to be effective natural ways to lower cholesterol – so much so in fact, that their inclusion as a food additive has earned many products a heart healthy label. But, what about vitamins for cholesterol? Do they have any place among natural lipid lowering remedies?
Take for instance vitamin E. While it is uses in cholesterol reduction are still being explored, some studies reveal that in people on dialysis, it has been shown to help prevent heart disease. It is thought that the anti oxidation effects are responsible for this phenomenon. Since oxidation plays a role in the tendency for LDL cholesterol to affix itself to arterial plaques, it is not an unthinkable connection to make that this may translate to reduced bad cholesterol. And, vitamin D has also been pondered among potential vitamins for cholesterol reduction. Sunshine vitamin may be related to cholesterol because a deficiency can prevent blood fats from being removed from the body, potentially leading to excessive amounts of build up. Vitamin C may be best known for its role in immunity elevation, however The National Institutes of Health cites studies that found that not only is the supplementation of vitamin C potentially effective at lowering total cholesterol, but that triglycerides levels may also be reduced and good cholesterol levels raised as well.
And then there is fish oil, containing Omega-3s. While difficult to classify specifically among vitamins for cholesterol, the unique fatty acids found in the supplement have long been associated with cardiovascular health, and it is a commonly included component in many supplements to lower cholesterol for this reason. Fish oil can reduce the risk of blood clots and help promote healthy blood pressure levels.
However, despite the lack of evidence to support the aforementioned claims about vitamins for cholesterol, only one has been clinically proven to do so, and it is used regularly, although in prescription formulations primarily. Niacin, which is also known as vitamin B3, is best known for its ability to raise good cholesterol. Prescription strength niacin for cholesterol can help boost HDL levels by up to thirty five percent according to Mayo Clinic. This may not seem that substantial, but proper levels of HDL cholesterol are intimately related to bad cholesterol levels, because HDL functions as the cleanup crew of the arteries in terms of LDL removal. It whisks away excess amounts that have attached themselves to arterial walls and sending them to the disposal.
So why is it so important to consider vitamins for cholesterol reduction? Because bad cholesterol (which is commonly referred to as LDL cholesterol which stands for low density lipoprotein) is the waxy and fatty substance that is notorious for causing blockages in the arteries and causing plaques thereby inhibiting blood flow. In time, these plaques and blockages can lead to an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and heart disease.
Unfortunately there is not an abundance of information available about the benefits of vitamins for cholesterol reduction with the exception of niacin (which unfortunately is not therapeutic for lipids in edible amounts). However, in time, it is possible that a properly formulated supplement may be able to provide the same beneficial effects as medications without the risk of side effects. Because of the limited amount of information available regarding the use of vitamins for cholesterol, it is imperative that you discuss any that you intend to use with a health care provider to ensure that it is safe for you to do so without the risk of drug interactions or a negative impact on health conditions that you may have.