Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in a persons’s blood and in their cells. There are two forms of cholesterol: Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and High-density lipoprotein (HDL). Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the unhealthy kind of cholesterol often referred to as “bad” – high levels of LDL cholesterol can damage a person’s arteries, contribute to heart disease, and increase their risk of having a stroke. Fortunately, making dietary tweaks can lower LDL cholesterol, including taking certain supplements.
Another study reported an increase in bile acid synthesis
Growing evidence promotes taking psyllium supplements. Psyllium is fibre made from the husks of seeds of the Plantago ovata plant. It can be taken as a pill or mixed it into drinks or food.
One observational study found that taking psyllium regularly led to a significant reduction in cholesterol levels.
Another study reported an increase in bile acid synthesis and lowered LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in 20 individuals treated with 15 grams of psyllium daily for 40 days.
Synthesis of bile acids is a mechanism that plays a key role in the excretion of excess cholesterol.
In another study, 47 healthy participants experienced a six percent reduction in LDL cholesterol after taking six grams each day for six weeks.
Furthermore, psyllium has been shown to increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels.
For instance, taking 5.1 grams twice a day for eight weeks resulted in a decrease in total and LDL cholesterol, as well as an increase in HDL levels in 49 patients with type 2 diabetes
As Mayo Clinic explained: “High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is known as the “good” cholesterol because it helps remove other forms of cholesterol from your bloodstream.”
Higher levels of HDL cholesterol are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, adds the health body.
How much to take
According to Harvard Health, the amount of psyllium needed to lower cholesterol is 10 to 20 grams a day.
“Psyllium is generally taken three times a day, just before each meal, either in a capsule or as a powder that you mix with water or juice,” the health site explained.
It added: “Make sure you drink at least eight ounces of water, juice, or other fluid every time you take psyllium, otherwise you run the risk of it swelling and blocking the oesophagus or bowels.”
Other ways to lower cholesterol
According to the NHS, cutting down on fatty foods is a surefire way to keep cholesterol in check. Food that contains a type of fat called saturated fat is particularly harmful.
- Meat pies, sausages and fatty meat
- Butter, lard and ghee
- Cream and hard cheese, like cheddar
- Cakes and biscuits
- Food that contains coconut oil or palm oil
Instead, try to eat more:
- Oily fish, like mackerel and salmon
- Brown rice, bread and pasta
- Nuts and seeds
- Fruits and vegetables
Here are several other supplements proven to lower “bad” cholesterol.
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