High Cholesterol – Food & Supplements

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High Cholesterol - Food & Supplements


A Canadian study in 2013 showed that apple peels that are rich in antixodant bioactives can inhibit LDL cholesterol oxidation under physiological conditions. Patient QI found a further study that showed that different varieties of apples had different concentrations of the fibre and polyphenols involved in lowering blood cholesterol.  Three varieties of apples were studied, Esmolfe, Malapio Serra and Golden Delicious. After 30 days, results showed that the Esmolfe apple gave the best reduction in cholesterol levels.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Niacin has been proven to have a positive effect on the lipid profile in that it reduces total cholesterol, triglyceride, very-low-density lipoprotein, and low-density lipoprotein levels, and increases the good high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels. A study published in March 2013 has shown that Niacin treatment in patients with high cholesterol and  low HDL levels had an additional benefit in that it also caused a significant decrease in oxidative stress.


A study published in May 2013 investigated the method by which betacarotene affects the lipid profile.  Results showed that dietary supplementation with beta-carotene decreased serum total cholesterol, non-HDLcholesterol, the atherogenic index, and hepatic total lipid and cholesterol contents. The decrease in serum cholesterol with a rise in the amount of cholesterol excreted in feces, shows that betacarotene decreases absorption of cholesterol in the intestine and increases cholesterol excretion into the feces without a direct effect on cholesterol metabolism.


In Japan and other parts of Asia Freshwater Clams (Corbicula spp.) have been used as a traditional food to treat liver disease. The Chinese use the clams to improve alcoholic disease.   The most recent study that Patient QI found was carried out 2013 and compared the effects of a clam extract with the effects of a soy protein isolate on triglyceride and cholesterol metabolism.  Results showed that the Clam extract improved excretion of cholesterol compared to the soy but that both soy and clam treatments reduced liver cholesterol.

Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone)

A group in Australia reviewed all of the published studies to date (2007) on the overall efficacy and consistency of therapeutic action and side effect incidence of Co Q10 for the treatment of hypertension. The group concludes that coenzyme Q10 has the potential in hypertensive patients to lower systolic blood pressure by up to 17 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by up to 10 mm Hg without significant side effects.

Deodeok (Codonopsis lanceolata)

Deodeok is a Korean root vegetable that is used in traditional dishes and as a functional food to treat obesity.  A Korean study showed that  eating deodeok reduced serum levels of triglycerides, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and improved HDL levels compared to a control group.

Flaxseed Oil

Flaxseed oil contains omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid as well as lignans and all can help lower cholesterol.  The most recent study on the cholesterol lowering effects of flaxseed was published in 2013 and showed that the lignan content of the flaxseed oil is an important factor in its ability to lower total cholesterol.  The high lignan content flaxseed decreased the total cholesterol more than the regular lignan flaxseed oil. 

Folic Acid

Folic Acid is one of the B complex vitamins and being deficient in folic acid is believed to be one of the contributing factors to atherosclerosis. The most recent study Patient QI found was carried out in 2013 and looked at the effects of low dose 0.4mg of Folic acid a day for twelve weeks. Results showed that folic acid levels increased in both men and women.  There was a significant decrease in total cholesterol in men and women as well as LDL-C (bad cholesterol).


Patient QI found a review of all of the literature and studies that had been published on the effects of garlic in lowering cholesterol, up to 2013.  The conclusion was that garlic is effective in reducing total serum cholesterol by between 11 and 23mg/dl, LDL-C by between 3 and 15mg/dl when it is used for more than 2 months. There is an average 8% reduction in serum cholesterol and that equates to a 38% reduction in coronary risk at age 50.

Green Tea

Green tea has been a subject of research for its cholesterol lowering effects for a number of years but with conflicting results. The most informative paper that Patient QI found on this was published in 2011 and it reviewed all of the published information up to that date. The review concludes that the consumption of green tea catechins is associated with a statistically significant reduction in total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels; however, there was no significant effect on HDL (good) cholesterol or triglyceride levels. 

Tomatoes (Lycopene)

Lycopene is the bright red pigment that is found in tomatoes and other red vegetables. A study carried out in Jul 2013 evaluated the effect of tomato consumption on HDL cholesterol levels.  This study aimed to prospectively evaluate the effect of tomato consumption on HDL-C levels. Men and women who had normal triglyceride levels but low levels of the good HDL cholesterol were included in the study. One group were given 300g of cucumber per day and the other group were given 2 large uncooked tomatoes per day. Results showed that there was a clear increase in good HDL levels but the increase was most significant in women. 

Olive Oil & Sesame Oil

Olive oil has long been associated with a reduction in cholesterol levels. Patient QI found the most recent study compared Olive oil and Sesame oil for their effects on lipid profiles.  The study published in Sept 2013 showed that after olive oil consumption cholesterol, Triglycerides, LDL-C (bad cholesterol), weight, waist and BMI were all decreased and HDL-C (good cholesterol) was increased. After sesame oil consumption cholesterol, Triglycerides, LDL-C (bad cholesterol) were significantly decreased as were weight and waist.  HDL-C (good cholesterol) was increased.  The differences were that with sesame oil the improvements in LDL and Triglycerides were better.

The High Cholesterol - Food & Supplements page will be updated regularly as new evidence is published in the medical journals.


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