Some people believe that dietary supplements such as fish oil, garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, plant sterols, and red yeast rice will lower their “bad” cholesterol. “Bad” cholesterol, known in the medical community as low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, can cause fatty deposits to build up in the arteries.
For this study, which was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2022 and was simultaneously published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JAAC), researchers compared the impact of these supplements against a low dose of a statin—a cholesterol lowering drug—or a placebo (which does nothing).
The researchers made this comparison in a blinded, randomized clinical trial involving 190 adults with no history of cardiovascular disease. Studyparticipants were between the ages of 40 and 75, and different groups received a low-dose statin called rosuvastatin, a placebo, fish oil, cinnamon, garlic, turmeric, plant sterols, or red yeast rice for 28 days.
The average reduction in LDL after 28 days of taking statins was almost 40%. The statin also had an added benefit on total cholesterol, which fell by an average of 24%, and on blood triglycerides, which fell by 19%.
None of the people who took the supplements experienced a significant drop in LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, or blood triglycerides, and their results were like those of people who took placebo. Although similar adverse effects occurred in all groups, there were a greater number of problems among those taking plant sterols or red yeast rice.
The researchers acknowledged some limitations of the study, such as the small sample size, and that its 28-day period might not capture the effect of the supplements when used over a longer period. However, if something effective and fast is needed, the option of a statin would be the most effective
More information at: Lloyd-Jones D, Morris P, et al. 2022 ACC Expert Consensus Decision Pathway on the Role of Nonstatin Therapies for LDL-Cholesterol Lowering in the Management of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Risk. J Am Coll Cardiol. null2022, 80 (14) 1366–1418.: https://www.jacc.org/doi/epdf/10.1016/j.jacc.2022.07.006