Q:

What are some alternative therapies for lowering cholesterol?

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Quick Answer

Red yeast rice, psyllium, coenzyme Q10, the sterol or stanol esters in margarine, and the sugar cane derivative, policosanol, are natural treatments used to lower cholesterol, reports WebMD. Fresh garlic or garlic supplements, fish oil supplements, beans and lentils, and a diet with 15 percent fat are additional natural choices.

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Full Answer

A Canadian study showed a five percent reduction in low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol in individuals who ate one ¾ cup serving a day of legumes, reports WebMD. The heart health-promoting effect of the legumes was more pronounced for men than women. Psyllium, a fiber from plantago seeds, may lower cholesterol levels by encouraging the small intestine to absorb less, thus reducing amounts found in the blood. The same intestinal absorption theory applies to the cholesterol-lowering effects of the sterol and stanol esters used in manufacturing certain margarine spreads.

Red yeast rice may be effective in lowering cholesterol due to the natural statin medicine it contains, called lovastatin, explains WebMD. While the supplement can prevent the body from manufacturing excessive cholesterol, it does have serious side effects and is especially dangerous when combined with statins. Because rhabdomyolysis and hepatitis are possible adverse reactions, individuals who experience jaundice or severe muscle pain when taking red yeast rice should seek immediate medical attention.

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