Mainstream medicine considers high cholesterol and high blood pressure to be two of the biggest bugaboos behind heart disease. Statistics on this disease are scary. According to the Heart Disease Facts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year a quarter of all deaths in the U.S. are due to heart disease. That’s about 610,000 people.
That is a shame, since taking the right steps for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol has never been simpler. Eating the healthiest foods and staying physically fit are certainly important for prevention and recovery. However, one of the more overlooked strategies for better heart health entails getting the right nutritional supplements.
The list of herbal supplements for blood pressure is extensive. Likewise, many all natural cholesterol lowering supplements have been discovered.
The challenge is to find which ones work, based on good scientific research. One of the best sources of such information is PubMed, the online medical database at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Finding and sifting through scientific publications can be an overwhelming task. Let’s start by narrowing the list down to the top 5 cholesterol lowering supplements.
As you might expect, lowering cholesterol levels also benefits blood pressure. For this reason, herbal supplements to lower blood pressure are often the same as those for lowering cholesterol.
For example, the following herbs have garnered strong scientific support, as indicated by studies showing what they can do for improving cardiovascular health. The research cited here is representative of the many hundreds of studies that have been published on these herbs.
Amla (Wild Indian Gooseberry)
Sixty patients with high cholesterol were treated with a daily supplement of amla fruit powder for 42 days. For comparison, an additional 20 patients were treated with the cholesterol-lowering drug, Zocor (2012).
Both treatments produced significant reductions in triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, VLDL cholesterol, and blood pressure. However, the amla treatment had a greater impact on lowering blood pressure than the Zocor did.
This is a very informative study, since it evaluated the clinical effects of a supplement in comparison with those of a common medication.
A 2011 study evaluated the effects of coleus extracts on hypertension in geriatric patients (ages 50-80 years). Results showed an improved cholesterol profile and a reduction both in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
This study also showed a beneficial effect on kidneys. This is an important result in light of elevated blood pressure that is associated with the age-related deterioration of kidney function.
Aside from doing the clinical studies like those cited above, researchers also look for mechanisms of action in model cells and organisms. This is the case in a 2004 study on the cholesterol-lowering properties of reishi mushrooms.
The key result in this study showed the inhibitory effects of reishi mushroom extracts on an important enzyme that drives cholesterol synthesis in liver cells. This mechanism explains how reishi mushrooms work for lowering cholesterol levels.
Grape Skin Extract
The most notable ingredient in grape skins is a plant polyphenolic called resveratrol. This natural substance provides a long list of health benefits, which were summarized in an extensive review article in 2011.
One of the most well-known health benefits of resveratrol cited in this review is the reduction of cardiovascular risk factors. These include high blood pressure and the formation of cholesterol-laden arterial plaque.
When it comes to natural blood pressure reducers, supplements containing maitake mushroom extracts are particularly powerful. This is nothing new, since maitake mushrooms have been used for centuries in Japan for this purpose.
Earlier research on maitake showed that this mushroom can significantly reduce high blood pressure (1988, 1989). These and subsequent studies laid the foundation for a 2001 review of the therapeutic potential of maitake mushrooms.
Overall, many studies of maitake reveal its versatility for a number of disorders, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Tackling Heart Disease Naturally
The double whammy of high cholesterol and high blood pressure are closely linked to one another. Supplements that address one of these factors often simultaneously address the other.
Based on what science has discovered so far about the supplements that do so, any list of top 5 cholesterol lowering supplements, as outlined here, should include amla, Coleus forskohlii, grape skin extract, reishi mushrooms, and maitake mushrooms.
Quantum Wellness Botanical Institute’s Quantum Heart Max helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure using each of these top five heart-healthy ingredients.