Diseases and Conditions

High cholesterol

Alternative medicine

Few natural products have been proved to reduce cholesterol, but some might be helpful. With your doctor's OK, consider these cholesterol-lowering supplements and products:

  • Barley
  • Plant sterols and stanols, found in oral supplements, some fortified orange juices and some margarines, such as Promise Activ
  • Blond psyllium, found in seed husk and products such as Metamucil
  • Oat bran, found in oatmeal and whole oats

Another popular cholesterol-lowering supplement is red yeast rice. There is evidence that red yeast rice can help lower your LDL cholesterol. However, the Food and Drug Administration has said that red yeast rice products that contain monacolin K, a naturally occurring form of the prescription medication known as lovastatin, can't be sold in the United States.

If you buy red yeast rice supplements in the United States, there's no way to know whether you're getting enough monacolin K to lower your LDL cholesterol. In other countries, lovastatin in red yeast rice products is potentially dangerous because there's no way to know how much might be in a particular product or what the quality of the lovastatin is.

Even if you take cholesterol-lowering supplements, remember the importance of a healthy lifestyle, and take medication to reduce your cholesterol as directed. Tell your doctor which supplements you take.