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Frequently Asked Questions HOL-emblem1-web.GIF (3556 bytes)

16. What can I do to lower my blood cholesterol?

Exercise, diet, and supplements can change your serum cholesterol level. What you eat is probably the most important factor. Believe it or not, cutting down on saturated fats is more important than cutting down on cholesterol.

Supplementing your diet with fiber helps to lower cholesterol. Forty to 60 grams of fiber a day will help bind cholesterol to bile salts so that it can be eliminated from the body. Researchers at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Kentucky found that a high-fiber diet decreased LDL by 23 percent and total serum cholesterol levels by 19 percent.

Niacin has been found to lower the level of "bad" cholesterol, LDL, while increasing "good" cholesterol, HDL. It is medically recognized as a cholesterol fighter and is listed as such in the Physician's Desk Reference (under its chemical name nicotinic acid).

Vitamin C is another recognized cholesterol fighter. Many scientific studies have shown that taking vitamin C results in a decreased level of serum cholesterol. Citrus essential oils are usually used holistically as therapy for reducing cholesterol rather than preventing it.

Lecithin is also a good cholesterol fighter because, as a natural emulsifier, it binds with fats to carry them out of the body. It also increases HDL while decreasing LDL.

Sitosterol is considered a cholesterol neutralizer. Derived from plants, it is white and waxy, resembling cholesterol. One researcher claims that if you consume sitosterol along with cholesterol-laden foods, you need not worry about the cholesterol.

Sitosterol is plentiful in corn oil but is destroyed by heat during processing. So use cold-pressed natural corn oil, or extra virgin corn oil. Sitosterol supplements are scarce, but they are available in some parts of the United States and are becoming more widely available.

Garlic and onion extracts stimulate production of HDL while reducing LDL.

To fight cholesterol, 500 milligrams of niacin per day is usually required, and between 700 milligrams and 1 gram of vitamin C. But as in all questions of nutrition and supplementation, it is best to consult a professional for the appropriate dosages associated with your diet and lifestyle.

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