High cholesterol may be caused:
by diet,
excessive alcohol intake,
smoking cigarettes,
genetic disease,
obesity
diseases such as diabetes or hypothyroidism.

The condition is without symptoms until the problem becomes severe enough to damage the health of the blood vessels. The cholesterol can build up in the vessels and harden over time, causing them to become narrows and less flexible. This condition increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. There are things you can do to normalize your blood cholesterol levels and improve your health. You will learn about these natural solutions here.

Support the Health of Your Liver

Only a small amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream comes from your diet. Most of it is produced by your liver. When your liver is stressed by excess alcohol alcohol or smoking cigarettes, it produces more cholesterol. The first thing to do to support the health of your liver is avoid toxins, such as alcohol and cigarette smoke.

To further support the health of your liver, there are several dietary supplements you can take. Milk thistle extract is one of the supplements commonly recommended for improved liver health and function. The ingredient is found in some of the better multi-nutritional supplements.

A dietary supplement called policosanol has been shown in numerous studies to inhibit cholesterol production in the liver without causing the side effects associated with cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. Researchers have found that the supplement works as well as statin drugs, but does not interfere with the production of Coenzyme Q10.

That is the biggest problem with statin drugs. They inhibit coenzyme Q10 production, which damages the health of the muscles and all of the body's systems, as COQ10 is an important antioxidant. If COQ10 levels in the muscles become depleted, the result can be muscle death. Most doctors feel that statin drugs should only be used by people who have familial hypercholesterolemia, a rare genetic anomaly. Even for those people, policosanol may work just as well, without the risks.

Support the Health of Your GI Tract

If your gastrointestinal tract is healthy, cholesterol is transported out of your body along with bile acids or dietary soluble fiber. If things are not working optimally, cholesterol that was sent to the GI tract for disposal simply gets reabsorbed into the bloodstream.

To improve the health of your GI tract and reduce the absorption or reabsorption of cholesterol, you should:

· Increase your intake of soluble fiber – oatmeal, brown rice and beans are good sources. Kiwifruit supplements are another option. Psyllium husk supplements can cause problems in the GI tract, including blockages.
· Take a lecithin supplement – lecithin comes from soy or other plant foods and is known to inhibit cholesterol absorption in the GI tract and also helps your body excrete cholesterol
· Eat more plant foods – plant foods contain fiber and most contain phytosterols that are similar to cholesterol and compete with it for absorption.
Some cholesterol-lowering dietary supplements contain both lecithin and phytosterols. But it is still a good idea to eat more plant foods and less meat. Meat is a source of saturated fat that raises the level of total fats (lipids) in the bloodstream.

Drink Tea

Both green tea and black teas contain antioxidants that help to prevent the oxidation (hardening) of cholesterol and other fats in the bloodstream. Black teas contain theaflavins. Green tea contains catechins. Both contain phytosterols and other plant compounds that help to raise “good” HDL levels, lower total cholesterol levels and lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.

Many good multi-nutritional supplements contain extracts from green tea, because of all the health benefits associated with the plant. In addition to lowering cholesterol, research indicates that green tea may help people lose weight and reduce their risk of heart disease.

Take a Lipid-Balancing Supplement

If your cholesterol levels are really high, a lipid-balancing supplement may be the solution. Whether or not you need this kind of supplement depends on what your blood tests reveal about your cholesterol levels. If they are not really “high”, you may not need the extra natural compounds listed below.

A cholesterol level that is too low is just as dangerous as one that is too high. Unlike high cholesterol, low cholesterol may be accompanied by a variety of symptoms including depression, memory problems and low sex drive. These symptoms are most often seen in people taking statin drugs, but it is still important to know your numbers.

Nutrients and plant compounds that are known to lower cholesterol include lecithin, phytosterols and the tea extracts mentioned above.

Other “active” ingredients include:

· Beta-sitosterol – a specific phytosterols that is very similar to cholesterol on a molecular level, but does not have a negative effect on your body. It inhibits cholesterol absorption in the GI tract and may also be beneficial for a variety of ailments.
· Policosanol – an extract from sugar cane or beeswax that has been shown to lower cholesterol levels by inhibiting cholesterol production in the liver
· Rice bran oil – another good source of phytosterols

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