October is National Cholesterol Month. This month is coordinated annually by HEART UK to raise awareness of cholesterol. Most people don’t know they have raised cholesterol, as there are no clear symptoms. For some, the first sign might be a heart attack.
A shocking 6 out of 10 adults in the UK have raised cholesterol*. So, take National Cholesterol Month as an opportunity to learn a little more about your health, and help protect your pump with some simple lifestyle and nutritional supplement suggestions.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all cells of the body. Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. Two kinds of lipoproteins carry cholesterol throughout your body: low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Having healthy levels of both types of lipoproteins is important. LDL is considered ‘bad’ cholesterol, while HDL is good cholesterol.
When there is too much cholesterol in your blood, you are considered to have high cholesterol. High levels of LDL in the blood can cause heart disease, while HDL can lower it.
Optimising blood cholesterol naturally
There are a number of supplements that, alongside a healthy diet, can help to balance your cholesterol levels.
Some studies** have shown that probiotic supplementation is effective at lowering blood cholesterol levels, by inhibiting intestinal absorption of cholesterol from dietary sources, as well as through other mechanisms.
ProVen Probiotics Adult 25 Billion contains Lab4, the most comprehensively studied group of friendly bacteria of any product in the UK.
These are available at £13.95 from provenprobiotics.co.uk and independent health stores.
Healthy fats are important in your diet. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats can help to reduce the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in your blood and help to increase the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. As well as optimising your diet by increasing intake of nuts, seeds, oily fish and avocados, try an omega 3 supplement.
Quest Marine Omega 3 is a concentrated fish oil containing a healthy 180mg EPA and 120mg DHA per capsule.
Available at £6.19 from revital.co.uk.
Heart support formulation
There are some great supplements designed specifically to support heart function and help contribute to healthy cholesterol levels.
Nature’s Plus AgeLoss Heart Support contains PotenSterolTM, a unique, high quality plant sterol complex that helps to block cholesterol absorption sites.
The supplement supports many other aspects of heart health too. Magnesium contributes to normal muscle contraction, B vitamins contribute to normal red blood cell formation and the potent RejuvabolicTM Full Spectrum Antioxidant Blend provides protection against oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
Available at £39.85 from revital.co.uk.
The phytosterols in aged garlic extract help to stop or slow absorption of dietary cholesterol and cholesterol made by the liver.
Elouise Bauskis, Technical Nutritionist & Herbalist at NutriCentre.com explains, “these types of plant sterols compete with ‘bad’ dietary cholesterol for absorption. It is in this way that they may be beneficial in lowering cholesterol, especially LDL cholesterol.”
Quest Kyolic Garlic 1000 is produced from organically grown, aged garlic that is transformed into Kyolic form through a unique cold-aging process. The aging process takes approximately 20 months, and it is this method that triggers a series of biological reactions.
Available at £21.65 from revital.co.uk