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Lower LDL Cholesterol with Berberine

September 28, 2021

Are you looking for natural ways to lower your LDL (bad cholesterol)? Nina Radford MD, Cooper Clinic Cardiologist, shares her scientific insights on how berberine supplements can help support heart health and lower cholesterol.

A wealth of epidemiologic data supports the correlation between high levels of LDL cholesterol and increased cardiovascular events such as stroke and heart attack. There is also a lot of evidence from clinical trials that show a strong link between a decrease in LDL cholesterol, and a lower risk of suffering a cardiovascular event in people with and without cardiovascular disease.

Supplement substitutes for statins

Health care providers can recommend non-prescription drug therapy based on one’s cardiovascular risk profile. This is for those with LDL levels higher than 100 mg/dL, or patients who are not able to take statin medication.

Dietary modification is the mainstay of non-drug treatment for high LDL cholesterol. There are several practical dietary options to lower LDL cholesterol.

  • Trans fats are often found in commercially baked goods.
  • Substitute monounsaturated oils, such as olive oil, canola oil and avocado oil, for saturated fats like cream, butter and cheese.
  • Consume more soluble fiber. This can be present in peas and beans, oats and peas as well as citrus fruits, carrots and barley.

A number of supplements can also be used to lower LDL. It is applicable especially for those who are already following a healthy diet. Berberine is a relative newcomer in this category of supplements.

Berberine, an alkaloid found in root, bark and fruit of many plants, includes:

  • Goldenseal Oregon grape Barberry Tree turmeric

There are a variety of physiological mechanisms that berberine may use to lower LDL cholesterol. A meta-analysis of six trials showed that 229 patients with high cholesterol took between 900 and 500 mg of Berberine daily. This led to a 25% decrease in LDL cholesterol.

Cooper Complete now has Berberine Complex to support glucose metabolism and maintain cardiometabolic balance. This customized formulation includes berberine and alpha-lipoic acids to support proper insulin function. Grape seed extract also includes for antioxidant support.

Conclusion About Berberine

Berberine can lower blood sugar and blood pressure. If you are taking medication for diabetes or hypertension, be sure to monitor your blood sugar levels while taking this supplement. Berberine may also cause diarrhoea, stomach distension, constipation, and bitter taste. Avoid taking Berberine if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

Although berberine and red yeast rice have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol, there are not much long-term safety data or evidence to support better clinical outcomes. Talk to your doctor about any supplements that you are considering.

Nina B. Radford MD, Cooper Clinic Cardiologist, and Director of Clinical Research, contributed to this article.