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Question:
To lower my cholesterol, I am taking a phytosterol supplement. Will taking other supplements, like red yeast rice or fish oil, help lower my cholesterol even further?

Answer:
Adding plant sterols ("phytosterols") or stanols to therapy with prescription statin drugs can often lower LDL "bad" cholesterol levels more than statin drugs alone. Adding red yeast rice (which naturally contains statins) has also been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol more than taking sterols alone, particularly if you are only using a modest amount of sterols. There is also some evidence that taking curcumin may increase the cholesterol-lowering effects of phytosterols. (Red yeast rice is the most powerful cholesterol-reducing supplement - although choosing the right brand is critical, as ConsumerLab.com's tests have shown that some brands have much greater chemical strength than others.)

Fish oil, in large doses, can lower elevated levels of triglycerides, although it is not known to lower LDL cholesterol. However, a study in which various doses of fish oil were added to phytosterol treatment found that higher amounts of fish oil resulted in slightly greater reductions in LDL than the phytosterol alone - although this added benefit was not found with a lower dose of fish oil. HDL "good" cholesterol also increased by a small but statistically significant amount with high-dose fish oil.

Get more details, including dosage and safety information, in the Cholesterol-Lowering Supplements Review >>

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Comments
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Thomas11385   November 13, 2016
All the cholesterol the body needs is manufactured by the liver. There is no need for exogenous (dietary) cholesterol. Therefore, the best way to get your cholesterol numbers under control is to avoid animal foods in the diet-- meat, dairy, eggs, butter, etc.

Margaret6923   September 6, 2015
Interesting comment regarding HDL "also increased by a small but statistically significant amount with high-dose fish oil". After having a friend tell me his doctor suggested large doses of fish oil to raise his HDL, I tried it. Started with 12 grams daily; my HDL rose from the mid 30's which I had for years to the mid 50's when I had my next physical. Have since lowered the intake to 6 grams daily and still have maintained the HDL in the mid 50's. Have done nothing else that I am aware of to account for this change.

Judith S.6922   September 6, 2015
How much is a "large dose" of fish oil?

ConsumerLab.com   September 10, 2015
Hi Judith - Please see the "What to Consider When Using" for more about dosage for elevated triglyceride levels: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/_/omega3/#using

This CL Answer initially posted on 9/5/2015. Last updated 9/27/2017.

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