(NaturalNews) Cholesterol is a natural byproduct of the liver and a necessary component of good health. Normal cholesterol is essential for cellular repair and development. It plays a critical role in the improvement of memory and learning, is the precursor to vitamin D production, and synthesizes sex hormones and natural steroids -- which control blood sugar, fluid balance and blood pressure. It helps to convert fats in the liver, and is a potent antioxidant acting to scavenge free radicals and reduce metabolic syndrome.
The American Heart Association notes that cholesterol isn't dissolved in the blood and must be transported throughout the body by lipoproteins. Research indicates that HDL, the high density "good" cholesterol, guards the cardiovascular system. LDL, or low density "bad" cholesterol, can build deposits on arteries. Problems occur when HDL levels are reduced, creating inflammation in the cardiovascular system. Too little HDL cholesterol prevents production of pain-controlling steroid hormones, limits the body's ability to properly digest foods, and damages the body's ability to create energy reserves. Too little HDL leads to pain and inflammation, which is the real cause of heart disease, according to the latest studies.
Natural remedies and cures for normal cholesterol levels
Natural remedies and cures help maintain normal levels of cholesterol without the need to take pharmaceutical drugs that produce dangerous side effects.
Red Yeast Rice
Chinese red yeast rice helps balance normal levels of cholesterol. Red yeast rice contains substances called monacolins, which are naturally-occurring and converted by the body to make a chemical inhibiting the production of cholesterol. One monccolin in particular, lovastatin, has been extracted and used in popular statin drugs, thus causing the FDA to view natural red yeast rice as an unproved drug and banning it in the USA. Consuming moderate amounts of natural red yeast rice as part of an overall diet helps maintain normal cholesterol levels. Extracting the active ingredient from the rice and using it in a drug formulation amplifies its effects, and may produce both muscle and kidney injuries. Supplies of red yeast rice supplements sold in the USA at this time do not contain any of the active ingredient to reduce cholesterol levels.
Green tea contains various compounds that lower LDL cholesterol levels. A study performed in Brazil where people consumed green tea extract in capsules resulted in a 4.5 percent lowering of LDL cholesterol levels.
Eating nuts regularly, especially walnuts and almonds, may help reduce cholesterol levels of LDL cholesterol.
Niacin, or vitamin B-3 helps lower LDL cholesterol levels as much as 10% and raise HDL cholesterol levels by 15% to 30%. Because of its many side effects, niacin should only be used under the supervision of a health practitioner.
Artichoke Leaf Extract
Artichoke leaf extract my help lower cholesterol levels by limiting its synthesis in the our bodies. Additionally, the extract may increase the flow of cholesterol excretion from the liver.
Slow the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines by consuming foods such as oats, legumes, prunes, apples, carrots, broccoli and yams, all high in soluble fiber. Five to 10 grams daily can produce a 5 percent reduction in LDL cholesterol.
Policonsanol is a dietary supplement made from Cuban sugarcane wax. It is not readily available in the US; however, non-Cuban products are available here which are made from beeswax or wheat germ. It is used to regular total cholesterol levels and is touted to be as effective as statins and red yeast rice. It may produce mild side effects such as digestive upsets, headaches and insomnia and can take two months or longer to show results.
JB Bardot is an herbalist and a classical homeopath, and has a post graduate degree in holistic nutrition. Bardot cares for both people and animals, using alternative approaches to health care and lifestyle. She writes about wellness, green living, alternative medicine, holistic nutrition, homeopathy, herbs and naturopathic medicine. You can find her at The JB Bardot Archives at www.jbbardot.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jbbardot23 or on Twitter at jbbardot23 or https://twitter.com/jbbardot23