For people without heart disease, low-dose statin therapy can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol better than six dietary supplements promoted to improve heart health, according to a study published online Nov. 6, 2022, by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Researchers examined 190 adults ages 40 to 75 who did not have cardiovascular disease. Participants had LDL levels that ranged from optimal to high and a 5% to 20% risk of developing cardiovascular disease within 10 years. Everyone was randomly put into one of eight groups. One group took 5 milligrams of the statin drug rosuvastatin (Crestor), another group took a daily placebo, and the rest took one of six dietary supplements, each with a dominant ingredient: fish oil, cinnamon, garlic, turmeric, plant sterols, or red yeast rice. (These ingredients have been touted to have heart health benefits, including helping to lower cholesterol.)
After 28 days, people in the statin group lowered their LDL by an average of almost 38%, while changes in most of the supplement groups were comparable to those who took a placebo. (The garlic supplement group actually saw their LDL levels increase.) The statin group also had an average 24% decrease in total cholesterol.
The researchers noted that more than 28 days may be needed for these dietary supplements to affect cholesterol levels. Still, the findings support statins as the best medicine for lowering cholesterol.
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