How to Lower Cholesterol With This Natural Substance
What happens when the bad cholesterol levels don’t go down, even after taking medication? Maybe it’s time to consider taking phytosterols – natural cholesterol from plants.
This article will reveal how these help to lower bad cholesterol, what is the daily recommended dosage and what their relationship to healthy lifestyle are.
Many people ask if there is a perfect method to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Apparently the correct answer will be a combination of several things together: nutrition, healthy lifestyle, medications (if needed) and nutritional supplements that help lower cholesterol levels, for example those that contain phytosterols which are natural ingredients derived from plants.
Many people who have high cholesterol levels take statins which are drugs often prescribed by doctors to help lower cholesterol levels in the blood. While they are effective, they can cause side effects, such as muscle aches, abdominal pain, nausea and/or vomiting, dizziness, difficulty to sleep, diarrhea or constipation and more.
What are phytosterols?
Phytosterols are similar in their chemical structure to cholesterol, but they are not produced by the human body cells, and their only source is the food we consume. You can find them in very small quantities in fruits and vegetables, nuts and almonds, and in larger quantities in several types of grains (wheat, rye) and oils (such as sesame oil).
How do they work?
Phytosterols inhibit cholesterol absorption from the gut and thus reduce the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL). A study examined the efficiency of phytosterols have shown that as a dietary supplement, they can lower the LDL up to 15%. In addition, taking phytosterols with statins (drugs used to lower cholesterol levels) caused a further reduction of 10% in LDL levels compared with statins treatment alone.
Who is suitable to take them?
Phytosterols can suit people with borderline levels of LDL, who still don’t receive medications to treat their cholesterol levels, and are interested to treat their LDL naturally.
They are also suitable for people receiving medications for lowering cholesterol, but fail to reach desirable cholesterol levels despite taking medications. Phytosterols are considered safe to use, even for diabetics. In any case, you should consult with your doctor before taking them.
What is the daily recommended dosage?
Studies show that the typical Western diet contains about 150 mg to 350 mg of phytosterols per day. According to world health organizations, the recommended dosage is about 2 grams a day.
Phytosterols supplements Vs. foods
The problem is that there is a debate over the effectiveness of phytosterols supplements. Some researchers believe that phytosterols found in some supplements may not be effective in lowering cholesterol if not properly prepared by the manufacturer, whereas phytosterols found in foods are biologically active and would be more beneficial in lowering cholesterol. More studies would be needed to support this claim.
In any case, phytosterols supplements are considered safe to use with a few side effects. They might, if used for a long time, cause a decrease in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E, and K. It is possible to prevent the reduction of these vitamins by taking a multi-vitamin not close to taking phytosterols, or you can consume a diet rich in these vitamins such as orange vegetables, avocados, seeds and nuts.
In addition, there is a rare disease called sitosterolemia and this disease is characterized by increased absorption of phytosterols from the intestine into the bloodstream. In this case you should avoid taking phytosterols.
If you want to include phytosterols in your diet, consume healthy foods, including nuts, ground flaxseed, whole grains, vegetables and fruits.
If you also suffer from a high blood pressure, click here to read the article about how to reduce it naturally: