Best supplements for cholesterol: The supplement proven to lower ‘bad’ cholesterol levels
Cholesterol is a fatty substance, also referred to as a lipid, and there are tow main types – LDL (bad) cholesterol and HDL (good) cholesterol. HDL stands for high-density lipoproteins and LDL stands for low-density lipoproteins. This is labelled ‘bad’ cholesterol because high levels can lead to a build up of cholesterol in your arteries. While some cholesterol is vital for normal function of the body, having high cholesterol can narrow the arteries and lead to heart attack and stroke.
One of the main factors that can increase your chances of having heart problems or stroke if you ave high cholesterol is an unhealthy diet – particular eating high levels of saturated fat.
While eating less saturated fat is the first step you should take, taking activated charcoal has also been proven to help lower cholesterol.
Activated charcoal is a fine, powdered form of the regular sort of charcoal you’ve probably been putting on barbecues for years, says Holland and Barrett.
But nowadays you’re more likely yo find it in drinks, skin-care products and toothpaste.
It explains: “The charcoal is ‘activated’ by heating it to very high temperatures, which changes its internal structure. This creates a lot of small holes in each particle, increasing the surface area and making it more porous.
“One teaspoon of activated charcoal has roughly the same total surface areas as a football field.
“The result is that activated charcoal is very absorbent, which means it can soak up or ‘trap’ a range of different substances.
“The charcoal then carries them out of the body, eliminating them from your system.”
A number of studies have linked activated charcoal and reduced LDL cholesterol.
The high street health store says: “According to one, published in The Lancet in 1989, people with high cholesterol who took 8g of charcoal three times a day for four weeks experience a 41 per cent reduction in LDL cholesterol.
“Later research by the University of Helsinki, Finland, found that patients taking different doses of charcoal every day for three weeks had reduced LDL levels between 29 per cent and 41 per cent, while levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol increased by up to 121 per cent.”
There is no safe upper limit set for activated charcoal in the UK, but products tend to range from 25mg to 250mg.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends taking 1g at least 30 minutes before a meal and 1g afterwards.
Some studies have suggested vitamin B5 can also help to lower cholesterol.
This is because our body needs vitamin B5 to metabolise cholesterol.
One Canadian-Led study published in the journal Vascular Health and Risk Management in 214 found when people with high levels of LDL [bad] cholesterol were given 300mg of vitamin B5 every day over 16 weeks, their levels dropped significantly.