In the second-to-last article in my series on high cholesterol, I want to inform you of two more natural supplements that may aid in the battle. One is fish oil, which is linked to an extraordinary array of health benefits, this being yet another one. The other is the lesser-known herbal remedy artichoke. Both are foods, both are supplements. Let’s take stock of the evidence.
For healthy individuals, the American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish twice a week. For those with coronary artery disease, one gram of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per day is recommended. (Both EPA and DHA are strong omega-3s.) Other than fish, walnuts, canola oil and flaxseed are good dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids are especially effective in lowering high triglycerides levels. In a recent meta-analysis of 47 human studies, the authors arrived at the conclusion that an average dose of omega-3 of 3.25 gram a day (1.9 gram EPA and 1.35 gram DHA daily) significantly lowered triglycerides (average: 20%) without significant changes in LDL, HDL or total cholesterol.
Even taking a small dose of omega 3 fatty acids (0.85 gram EPA + DHA a day) significantly reduced the risk of all-cause mortality, cardiac death, and sudden death by 21%, 35%, and 45%, respectively. The FDA-approved drug “Lovaza” has much higher concentration of EPA/DHA than over-the-counter fish oil. Each one-gram capsule has 375 mg of DHA and 465 mg of EPA. This drug is recommended for individuals with very high serum triglycerides (over 500 mg/dL), in a treatment of two to four grams daily. But this drug helps to show how powerful fish oil is.
In a meta-analysis of three human studies, there is early evidence that artichoke may be effective in lowering high cholesterol levels. It found that artichoke led to a reduction of total cholesterol levels by 4.3% after 12 weeks. Compared to placebo’s 8.8%, artichoke reduced total cholesterol by 18.5% at the study’s end. Artichoke significantly reduced total cholesterol in those with the highest levels of cholesterol.
We recently talked about artichokes and how they maintain their health benefits, even after cooking in the article, The Best Cooked Vegetable for Your Health.
Both are definite possibilities for those looking for a natural answer to high cholesterol.