- Do cholesterol supplements work? Although many types of supplements are touted for lowering high cholesterol levels, those with the best evidence of efficacy are sterols/stanols, red yeast rice, and high-dose niacin. In this Review, we tested sterols/stanols. There is modest evidence of efficacy for other supplements such as policosanol (also tested in this Review), fish oil, garlic, guggulsterone, pantethine, soy protein, and Sytrinol (see Summary of Evidence table).
- What did CL's tests find about cholesterol supplements? Tests by ConsumerLab revealed that one sterol product contained less of a specific sterol than claimed and a policosanol product did not contain the expected amount of a specific policosanol. Across products, the dose of sterols/stanols per serving ranged from 400 mg to 900 mg and 10 mg to 20 mg of policosanol. The cost to obtain 800 mg of sterols/stanols ranged from 16 cents to 74 cents and the cost for 20 mg of policosanol ranged from 11 cents to 59 cents. (See What CL Found)
- Top Picks for sterols and policosanol — Among products Approved in testing, ConsumerLab selected a Top Pick for sterols/stanols that provided an ample dose at relatively low cost and its effectiveness is backed by a positive clinical trial. The Top Pick for policosanol provided what may be the best form of policosanol and relatively low cost.
- How much to take and when? Dosage for sterols is at least 400 mg with a meal or (1,000 mg for stanols), twice daily. For policosanol, it is 10 to 20 mg daily. See the ConsumerTips™ section for more about dosage and forms.
- Safety and side effects of cholesterol supplements: Sterols/stanols may interfere with absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and, rarely, their use has been associated with elevations in liver enzymes. A range of side effects, including migraines and insomnia, have been reported with policosanol and it should be used with caution in people taking anti-platelet or anti-coagulant drugs. (For details, see Concerns and Cautions.)
Cholesterol-Lowering Supplements Review (Sterols/Stanols and Policosanol)
Find the Best Cholesterol-Lowering Supplement. See Which Plant Sterol and Policosanol Supplements Passed Our Tests and Are Our Top Picks
Alphabetical list of cholesterol-lowering supplement brands with sterols or policosanol compared in this review
Designs For Health Foresterol
Nature Made CholestOff Plus
Olympian Labs Policosanol
Piping Rock Ultra Policosanol
ProCaps Laboratories CholestaCare
Solgar Policosanol 20 mg
The Vitamin Shoppe Policosanol
Vibrant Health Cholesterol Blockers Version 2.3
In this comprehensive review, you'll discover:
- Which plant sterol and policosanol supplements failed testing and which passed
- ConsumerLab's Top Picks for sterol and policosanol supplements
- The evidence for phytosterol spreads like Smart Balance and Benecol
- How much to take, and the best way to take sterol, stanol and policosanol supplements
- Concerns, cautions, drug and nutrient interactions, and potential side effects of plant sterols and policosanol
- The pros and cons of other cholesterol-lowering ingredients such as fish oil (omega-3), garlic, niacin, red yeast rice, guggulsterone, pantethine, soy protein and Sytrinol, and which may be best for you (links to our product reviews for many of these supplements are included)
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