The presence of the chemical compound cholesterol - which is a fatlike substance circulating mostly in the blood is a normal event and is not harmful to the health of the human body. Cholesterol is very important for the body and the human cellular machinery requires some of it in order to maintain the normal structure and functioning of the cell membranes. The compound also performs other vital functions within the human body. Cholesterol present in very high amounts within the body is however unhealthy and elevated levels can cause great harm to the person by a variety of complications it engenders. When seeking to check the cholesterol profile of patient most doctors will focus on the total level of blood cholesterol and particularly on the two types of proteins manufactured by the body to transport cholesterol within the blood and circulatory system of the human body. Blockages in the arteries can be induced by the elevated presence of too much low-density lipoproteins-LDL or the so called "bad" cholesterol. High amounts of these compounds can block the arteries and induce sudden heart attacks. On the other hand the presence of high-density lipoproteins-HDL cholesterol, or the so called "good" cholesterol, aids in clearing away the accumulated cholesterol before it can build up to extreme levels along the arteries. The risk of a heart attack is increased if the person suffers from a high total blood cholesterol and extremely elevated levels of LDL-anything above 3.9 mmol/l of blood. At the same time very low levels of the HDL cholesterol-anything below 0.9 mmol/l of blood can also lead to heart attacks. The ideal cholesterol profile in a person according to the experts is total cholesterol lying below 5.2 mmol/l of blood with the HDL level as high as possibly in the total profile.
Cholesterol levels are influenced directly by hereditary and genetic factors-however, in the majority of people, the high levels are directly connected to a diet which is very rich in foods containing high amounts of the saturated fats and cholesterol compounds. These two chemical compounds are present primarily in the majority of foods sourced from animals, such as red meats like beef and pork, in dairy products such as butter, and in many whole milk dairy items consumed on a daily basis by many people. Oils sourced from plants like the coconut, the palms, and many hydrogenated vegetable oils are used in processed foods-such oils are extremely high in the saturated fat but not in cholesterol. Cholesterol problems are compounded when a person suffers from excess weight, the habit of smoking, and the lack of sufficient physical exercise-these factors can all induce a very undesirable effect on the cholesterol levels within the body and in some cases can be the main trigger for the problems induced eventually.
Supplements and herbs
The use of many of these herbal and nutritional remedies can aid in regulating the elevated cholesterol levels within the blood. Supplementation must be started by initially taking the vitamins E and C, align with the herbal garlic remedies-these supplements can be used either together or they can be taken one at a time. The use of these supplements over a long period of time is safe and extremely beneficial to the person-in addition, the use of these supplements can be done even when you are using cholesterol lowering prescription medications suggested by a doctor. While the use of the supplemental vitamin E will not directly lead to a lowering of the cholesterol levels, this vitamin seems to be able to prevent the production of free radicals-which are unstable oxygen molecules within the body and it also keeps the levels of increase in the levels of the LDL cholesterol-the accumulation of this compound is usually the initial step in the buildup of coronary plaque eventually leading to heart attack and other cardiac problems. The effectiveness of the vitamin E within the body is assured by the presence of vitamin C and the presence of this additional essential nutrient may even result in an increase in the levels of protective HDL cholesterol within the blood of the affected individual. The power of garlic to bring about reduction in the cholesterol has been investigated with conflicting claims about its benefits; the supplemental use of the herb garlic is backed by many nutritionally oriented practitioners. They attribute the garlic with having an overall positive effect on the elevated levels of cholesterol and supplemental use of the herb is suggested-garlic can be taken in large amounts, preferably raw in the daily diet over a long period of time. People following diets with a very low content of soluble dietary fiber, should include the herb psyllium in their diet as this dietary fiber can help in bringing about a reduction in the total cholesterol levels.
Instead of using cholesterol reducing medications, patients may also take inositol hexaniacinate, the red yeast rice, and gugulipid as alternative supplements to lower total cholesterol levels in the body. The use of these supplements should be done along and never in combination with the prescription medications suggested by the doctor. The levels of LDL in the body can be reduced by supplements of inositol hexaniacinate, which is a form of the B vitamin niacin, if it is taken for two to three months on a continuous basis-this supplement will also raise the HDL levels in the blood at the same time. The supplemental use of either herbal remedies-the red yeast rice or the gugulipid can be done combined with the inositol hexaniacinate or to take its place as a supplement in the diet. The formation and synthesis of cholesterol in the body is inhibited by the red yeast rice and these results in a lowering of total blood cholesterol in the individual. The supplemental substance known as gugulipid will lead to an increase in the body's ability to metabolize LDL present in high amounts in the blood and tissues.
Additional things you may do
The diet must be changed for effective lowering of the high cholesterol levels. At the same time, try to reduce your intake of all types of saturated fats and dietary cholesterol on a long term basis. Red meats must be substituted by fish, the diet must also contain a lot of high-fiber foods-this includes all types of grains, different vegetables, and all kinds of fruits. For cooking, try to use olive or canola oil to replace butter and other vegetable oils. Cholesterol levels can also be reduced by regularly eating oat bran as a part of the daily diet. The levels of HDL cholesterol can be raised if the person is physically fit, you must strive to follow a good program consisting of regular aerobic exercises to raise the HDL level in the blood.
Other beneficial herbs