Natural remedies may lower cholesterol by a small amount. These include
- soy products
- plant sterols and stanols
- red yeast rice
- green tea
They all need further study to be sure this effect is true. The reason high cholesterol is bad is that it raises your risk of heart disease and stroke. No studies have been done to prove these remedies lower these risks, too. Most experts and doctors do not recommend supplements and herbal remedies to lower your cholesterol. This is because medicines like statins are more effective.
Dietary supplements and herbal remedies aren’t regulated the way other medicines are. That means they can be sold without proven effectiveness. It also means they are not tested for safety. In fact, some may not actually contain what the label claims. Red yeast rice contains the same active ingredient as is found in lovastatin, a statin medication. Since a supplement like this is not regulated and the dosage is not controlled, the FDA decided red yeast containing this ingredient cannot safely be sold in the US.
It is best to talk to your doctor before you take herbs or supplements. They don’t always mix well with other medicines. Some of them can even be harmful to your health. If you do use an herbal remedy or supplement, do so with caution.
Natural remedies can help a bit, but aren’t as good as statins yet!