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Ask the Experts

Natural products for cholesterol control

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Ask the Experts
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Q: I’ve just been prescribed a statin drug to control my cholesterol after failing to control it with diet and lifestyle, so now I’m looking for natural products to provide supportive therapy. What do you suggest?

A: Although it’s unfortunate you haven’t found success on your own, I’m happy to hear you’re seeking an integrative approach to taking your medications.

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Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

CoQ10 is the nutrient most people think of when taking statins. This is because statins, while blocking our body’s production of cholesterol, also interfere with the production of CoQ10. Since CoQ10 is critical to the functioning of our mitochondria (which produce our cells’ energy), decreased levels can cause problems.

Some individuals on statins experience muscle pain, exercise intolerance, and even diabetes. Fortunately, supplemental CoQ10 may help mitigate these negative effects.

When it comes to CoQ10, ubiquinol may be the preferred form since it appears to be better absorbed and is also an important fat-soluble antioxidant in the plasma. This helps prevent LDL (bad) cholesterol from behaving badly).

Look for ubiquinol products that guarantee stability, ideally in a stable, healthy base such as MCT oil.

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Vitamin D

In some statin users, muscle pain and inflammation is so serious that statin use is difficult to tolerate. Research shows that supplemental vitamin D may help reduce statin intolerance in patients with vitamin D deficiency.

However, vitamin D supplementation may also reduce statin absorption in the body. Be sure to ask your health care practitioner if vitamin D supplementation is right for you.

After consulting your health care practitioner for guidance, visit your local health food retailer for advice on product selection.

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