Nancy Dell: Cholesterol-lowering supplements; interesterified fat

1. What supplements can lower cholesterol?

(Article by Nancy Dell, republished from

Len, Internet

Statin drugs can lower cholesterol, but some people do not want to take them or have side effects. There are three supplements you can try; generally they don’t match the potency of a statin, but they may be enough for some people.

First you have red yeast rice. It contains naturally occurring compounds that are like the statins. Studies show when taken as directed, they can drop LDL bad cholesterol 20 percent in 2 to 6 months. The problem is, not all brands have enough of the effective ingredients and the amount of statin-like compounds can vary year to year, even in the same brand.

A second supplement you may try is called phytosterols. They are plant extracts that keep cholesterol from being absorbed from the intestine into the bloodstream. Taking 2 grams a day lowered LDL bad cholesterol 8 percent. Be sure you read the label and buy one with phytosterol esters to get the cholesterol lowering effect.

Finally you can lower cholesterol with psyllim seed. Taking 7 grams – about 3 rounded teaspoons – a day lowered bad cholesterol 11 percent in 8 weeks.

Also, studies have shown an apple a day can lower cholesterol as much as some statins. A cup of legumes a day – like black beans, lentils, or chick peas – can lower bad cholesterol as much as 24 percent.

2. What is “interesterified fat”?
Kim,  Longmeadow

Interesterified fat is a shelf-stable fat being used to replace trans fat, since trans fat is banned by the FDA and should be out of foods soon. 

The problem is interesterified fat can also raise bad cholesterol and blood sugar, while lowering good cholesterol. To avoid it, limit processed foods with palm, palm kernel or fully hydrogenated oils.

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