Natural Alternatives to Statin Drugs

Statin drugs are prescribed to people with high cholesterol. Common side effects of statins include dizziness, headaches, nausea, pain, sleep disturbances, muscle weakness and liver problems, according to AltMedAngel.com. High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and should be treated under the care and supervision of a physician. It is not recommended that you stop taking prescription medications without talking to your physician first. Natural alternatives to statin drugs can help reduce cholesterol without the side effects of statins.

Psyllium

Psyllium is an herb used to treat conditions such as constipation, LDL (bad) cholesterol and diabetes and is found in over-the-counter products such as Metamucil and laxatives, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. When added to a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet, psyllium can help reduce LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Red Yeast Rice

Red yeast rice is made by fermenting a type of yeast called monascus purpureus over red rice. It is used to promote blood circulation, treat digestive issues and lower cholesterol. Red yeast rice is one of the top 10 herbs for cholesterol management, according to the online magazine, WomenFitness.net. Red yeast rice is available in capsule form in health food stores or online.

Garlic

Garlic is popular as a cooking ingredient and as an herbal supplement to improve the immune system, prevent heart disease, and lower high blood pressure and high cholesterol. According to the University of Maryland, garlic is rich in antioxidants, reducing free radical damage in the body. It lowers serum cholesterol levels in the blood while raising good cholesterol levels. Garlic can be eaten fresh, cooked or as a powdered supplement in capsule form.

Fenugreek

Fenugreek can lower elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood with its steroidal saponins, which inhibit cholesterol absorption and synthesis, according to WomenFitness.com. However, fenugreek should not be used by pregnant women because it can cause miscarriage.

Diet

Changing your diet is a natural alternative to taking statin drugs. Talk to your physician before starting a new diet or stopping any prescription medication. Harvard Health Publications suggest lowering your cholesterol by making meat a minor part of your diet, eating low-fat dairy products, avoiding saturated and trans fats, avoiding palm and coconut oils, eating less than 200mg. of dietary cholesterol per day, eating nuts, fruits and vegetables, increasing fiber and complex carbohydrates, and reducing salt and alcohol intake. After three months of trying to lower your cholesterol through diet, check with your doctor to see whether your cholesterol has decreased. If it has not, additional treatment might be necessary.

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