Now, too much of LDL cholesterol in the blood causes formation of plaques in the arteries. This is because smaller particles of LDL easily penetrate the thin layer of cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels, forming an interface between circulating blood and the rest of the vessel wall. This increases the risk for coronary heart disease. The LDL particles also transport cholesterol into the artery wall, where they are retained by filler glycoprotein units existing between cells. They attract white blood cells which engulf the LDL particles and start forming plaques.
These plaques clog the arteries and cause heart disease and stroke. A total cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL with LDL cholesterol levels less than 100 mg/dL is desirable. Higher levels of HDL cholesterol are better for the body. HDL cholesterol of less than 40 mg/dL for men and less than 50 mg/dL for women is said to be high risk for heart disease. The normal triglyceride level has to be less than 150 mg/dL.
Natural remedies are a good way to fight cholesterol in case the cholesterol levels are not already high. Here are a few natural remedies for high cholesterol.
► Evening primrose oil: Oil from the evening primrose seed is very rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which has been found to significantly decrease serum triglyceride (TG) and LDL, and significantly increase HDL cholesterol according to a research published in the Journal of Oleo Science. An earlier study had shown that evening primrose oil was more effective in controlling cholesterol when compared with sunflower oil and linseed oil. It is available for consumption as supplements in the form of capsules or in liquid form.
► Red rice yeast: Red rice yeast extract is an effective natural supplement that helps lower cholesterol. It is a source of naturally occurring statins which form the prescription drugs that are used to control cholesterol. Its cholesterol lowering effects were investigated by researchers from UCLA School of Medicine, who found that hyperlipidemia subjects treated with 2.4 g/day of Chinese red yeast rice dietary supplement for 8 weeks had significantly lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triacylglycerol. However, HDL cholesterol did not change significantly. Red rice yeast is readily available in the form of capsules.
► Dietary soluble fiber: That soluble fiber found in beans, oats, guar gum, and psyllium helps lower total blood cholesterol by lowering LDL cholesterol, has been shown by a number of research studies. For example, a meta-analysis of 67 controlled trials by the Harvard School of Public Health researchers revealed that dietary soluble fibers had total cholesterol -- and LDL cholesterol-lowering effects. According to them, 3 g soluble fiber from oats (3 servings of oatmeal, 28 g each) can decrease total and LDL cholesterol by approximately 0.13 mmol/L. Increasing soluble fiber can make only a small contribution to dietary therapy to lower cholesterol.