Artichoke Or Green Tea Extract May Help Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally
Lifestyle and Cholesterol Level
If you are concerned about your blood cholesterol level, there are things you can do to keep it under control. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are five lifestyle choices you can make that can promote a healthful cholesterol level. These choices include keeping your weight within the recommended range, eating heart-healthy foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, exercising on most days of the week, not smoking and drinking alcohol only in moderate amounts. You should consult your doctor before undertaking any exercise program, particularly if you have not been active in the past.
If you find that lifestyle changes are not sufficient to give you the cholesterol level that you need, there are other things you can try without resorting to prescription medication.
Artichoke Leaf Extract
Your total cholesterol number measures the sum of your blood levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL or "good" cholesterol), low density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad" cholesterol) and very low density lipoprotein (VLDL, another form of harmful cholesterol). The Mayo Clinic reports that artichoke leaf extract may reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Indeed, there is clinical evidence to support the usefulness of artichoke leaf extract (ALE) as a dietary supplement for lowering total cholesterol. In the October 2009 issue of "Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews," researchers reported that after searching the medical literature up to June 2008, they found three randomized, controlled clinical trials assessing the effects of ALE on blood levels of total cholesterol. The three trials included a total of 262 patients. In one trial, patients took 1800 mg per day of artichoke extract in the form of tablets containing 450 mg of extract per tablet. After six weeks, these patients showed an 18.5% drop in total cholesterol blood levels. Patients on placebo showed only an 8.6% drop in total cholesterol. In another trial, patients receiving ALE saw their total cholesterol drop by 4.2% over 12 weeks while patients on placebo experienced an increase of 2% in total cholesterol. In a third trial of patients who started with a rather high total cholesterol level of more than 230 mg per deciliter of blood, the clinicians reported a significant decrease after treatment with ALE. In all of the trials, the side effects of using ALE were mild, short-lived and relatively infrequent.
Before you elect to use artichoke leaf extract or any other dietary supplement, you should consult with your doctor about possible side effects and interactions with any other medications you might be taking.
Green tea contains catechins, biologically active polyphenols that have protective effects against cardiovascular disease. In an article dated November 17, 2011, MedicalNewsToday.com reported that a group of researchers from the College of Pharmacy at Western University of Health Sciences searched the medical literature up to March 2010 for randomized, controlled clinical trials relating to the effects of green tea on blood cholesterol levels. The researchers found 20 clinical trials involving 1,415 subjects. When they pooled and analyzed the data from these trials, they found that green tea lowered blood levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol to a statistically significant extent. The green tea was consumed either as a beverage or as capsules of green tea extract at doses of 145 to 3000 mg per day over 3 to 24 weeks. There was no effect seen on HDL cholesterol levels or on blood levels of triglycerides, the form in which fat is stored in the body.
You should be aware that green tea extract may have side effects that include nausea, vomiting, gas or diarrhea. In addition, green tea extract may interact with blood-thinning medications such as warfarin. As always, you should consult your doctor before using green tea extract or any other dietary supplement.
This hub has been written for the sole purpose of providing information to the reader. It is not intended to be a source of any kind of medical advice or instruction, and it should not be used in the diagnosis of any illness, disease or condition. You should consult your doctor if you have questions about a specific medical problem.