Beta-glucan is a type of soluble fiber molecule derived from the cell wall of baker’s yeast, oats and barley, and many medicinal mushrooms, such as maitake. Beta-glucan is the key factor for the cholesterol-lowering effect of oat bran. As with other soluble-fiber components, the binding of cholesterol (and bile acids) by beta-glucan and the resulting elimination of these substances in the feces is very helpful for reducing blood cholesterol. Results from a number of double-blind trials with either oat- or yeast-derived beta-glucan indicate typical reductions, after at least four weeks of use, of approximately 10% for total cholesterol and 8% for LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, with elevations in HDL (“good”) cholesterol ranging from zero to 16%. For lowering cholesterol levels, the amount of beta-glucan used has ranged from 2,900 to 15,000 mg per day.There are other supplements that have shown positive results for dealing with high cholesterol. They include:
Chromium Chromium supplementation has reduced total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and increased HDL cholesterol in double-blind and other controlled trials. Fenugreek Fenugreek seeds contain compounds that inhibit both cholesterol absorption in the intestines and cholesterol production by the liver. Glucomannan Glucomannan is a water-soluble dietary fiber that has been shown to significantly reduce total blood cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, and to raise HDL cholesterol. Hydroxy-Beta-Methylbutyrate Supplementing with HMB, or beta hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate, is an effective way to lower total and LDL cholesterol. Pantothenic Acid Pantethine, a byproduct of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), may help reduce the amount of cholesterol made by the body. Psyllium Psyllium has been shown to be effective at lowering total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Red Yeast Rice One of the ingredients in red yeast rice appears to block the production of cholesterol in the liver. Sitostanol Sitostanol, a synthetic molecule related to beta-sitosterol, is available in margarine form and has also been shown to lower cholesterol levels. Soy Soy supplementation has been shown to lower cholesterol. Soy contains isoflavones, which are believed to be soy’s main cholesterol-lowering ingredients. Vitamin B3 High amounts (several grams per day) of niacin, a form of vitamin B3, have been shown to lower cholesterol. Vitamin C Vitamin C appears to protect LDL cholesterol from damage, and in some trials, cholesterol levels have fallen when people supplement with vitamin C.