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Who says only prescription drugs can lower cholesterol? This was true a decade ago, until studies on natural supplements made from herbs and fish oil proved that there is scope for alternative treatment to slash cholesterol levels. Research aimed at testing the efficacy of cholesterol-lowering supplements has been encouraging. Following are the supplements that may help to bring down cholesterol without medication.

Fish Oil
Fish oil capsules are loaded with omega-3 essential fatty acids that promote a healthy heart. Studies shows that it brings down triglyceride levels substantially (a type of fat associated with cholesterol). Besides, lowering triglyceride levels, it may also help to increase good cholesterol levels, thereby reducing the risk of heart diseases.

Artichoke Extracts
Artichoke extracts can also contribute to reduce cholesterol naturally as revealed through various studies. In a study, more than a hundred high cholesterol patients were put on a specific dosage (450 mg) of artichoke leaf extract. After a period of 6 weeks, their blood tests showed lower cholesterol levels. The bad cholesterol levels also dropped sharply by around 19%.

Barley
Studies suggest meals rich in barley can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Barley (a cereal grain) is a good source of soluble fiber and so eating it everyday can reduce cholesterol fast, thereby lowering the risk of coronary artery diseases. Taking barley supplements or a diet high in foods containing barley seems to be a healthy alternative to prescription medicines for lowering cholesterol levels.

Green Tea Extracts
To combat high cholesterol problems, green tea extracts can also be used as found in various small studies. Experts are of the opinion that green tea extracts compel the body to speed up elimination of cholesterol as well as reduce its ability to absorb cholesterol. So, drinking green tea or taking it in supplemental form can be useful to lower bad cholesterol levels.

Sitostanol
Sitostanol is basically a chemical present in various plants and is chiefly derived from vegetable oils. It is an important constituent of margarine (butter substitute). In a study, a small group of people suffering from elevated cholesterol levels were put on sitostanol supplements. Over time, the patients showed a drop in blood cholesterol.

Vitamin B3
Vitamin B3, also referred to as niacin when taken in the form of supplements, is helpful to slash high cholesterol levels. Although, niacin is found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, vitamin B3 content in these foods is not enough for reducing bad cholesterol. Studies indicate that high doses of vitamin B3 (2000 mg every day) provide natural means to decrease bad cholesterol levels. Moreover, studies also suggest that there was a 30% increase in good cholesterol.

Caution

No doubt results from various studies are promising. So, one may be tempted to discard prescription medicines in favor of these cholesterol-lowering agents. However, extensive research has not yet been done on these supplements. Therefore, one cannot consider these supplements as the first line of treatment for high cholesterol. So, talk to your health care provider, before switching over to this natural remedy for lowering cholesterol.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.