Cholesterol is a thick substance found in your blood that is necessary for growing healthy, thriving cells. But, when too much of it builds up your blood vessels, it can prevent blood from freely and properly flowing through. This can lead to a number of health issues, including heart attack and stroke. Dietary and lifestyle changes are the best way to take charge of your heart health and prevent high cholesterol levels, but sometimes supplements can help give you an extra boost if you need support. There is some conflicting information out there about certain supplements and whether or not they are actually effective. What is the best one to take if you suffer from high cholesterol?
While people outside of these populations can have elevated cholesterol levels, some of the contributing risk factors include poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, drinking alcohol, and your age. Some medications can also cause elevated cholesterol in the blood, specifically ones for acne, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and high blood pressure. Unfortunately, beyond all of these, sometimes it may simply be your genetic makeup that makes it harder for LDL cholesterol (or the “bad” cholesterol) to be filtered out of your body. This is why it is so important to lead a preventative lifestyle in the first place by eating well, moving regularly, and cutting back on substances that may make high cholesterol worse.
So when it comes to supplementation for cholesterol, what is one supplement that could actually help? According to the South Denver Cardiology Associates, Omega 3 fatty-acids are the best supplement to take if you have high cholesterol, at least according to science. “Omega-3 fatty acids have been proven to provide significant reductions in triglyceride levels and increases in good HDL cholesterol.” Omega 3 fatty acids are most commonly found in fatty fish like salmon and tuna, nuts, and plant oils. It recommended that patients with heart disease consume one gram of the Omega-3 fatty acid called EPA+DHA each day.
At the end of the day, medical experts agree that the best way to get enough Omega-3 fatty acids each day is to get it through the food you consume—eating fish, nuts, and plant oils like olive and avocado oil, is a natural and easy way to follow a heart healthy diet. However, sometimes life can get busy and it may be difficult to fit everything into your diet each week, so supplements can bridge the gap. However, it is important to note that they are by no means a replacement, solution, or cure.
High cholesterol is scary, and can lead to a number of health issues. It’s important to lead a preventative lifestyle when possible. This includes exercising regularly, eating well, and avoiding things like alcohol and smoking when possible, especially if you’re at unique risk due to genetics or medications you take. Eating a diet high in Omega-3 fatty acids is one way that you can support your heart health, and when life makes it hard to work those foods in regularly, supplementation can help. However, if you are interested in taking a new supplement of any kind, always check with your doctor.