Cholesterol: Overview for Clinicians

Non-Pharmaceutical Therapy for Lowering Cholesterol

For improving lipid profile:

  • Encourage a diet similar to the Mediterranean diet: rich in multi-colored whole foods (fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, soy, olive oil, cold-water fish and dark colored berries and grapes).
  • The portfolio diet, found to work as well as 20 mg of lovastatin includes viscous fiber, soy protein, plant sterols/stanols and nuts (almonds).
  • Incorporate viscous (soluble) fiber. Examples include psyllium (Metamucil), methyl cellulose (Citrucel), guar gum, or ground flax seed.
  • Plant sterols and stanols in the form of vegetables. If more is required, consider OTC spreads such as, Take Control or Benecol. Or supplement with Beta-sitosterol at a dose of 700 mg to 1 gm before each meal three times daily.
  • Niacin (Nicotinic Acid) is the only treatment that reduces LDL and triglycerides while raising HDL. For techniques to reduce flushing, see clinician handout in the downloads section at the right.
  • Artichoke extract at a dose of 1800 mg divided doses (600 mg three times daily or 900 mg twice daily) shows promise.
  • For elevated triglycerides, 4 gms of fish oil (EPA and DHA) are needed to reduce levels. Reducing carbohydrate intake along with increasing exercise to push the sugar into the muscle is also key in lowering levels and reducing metabolic risk.
  • Consider supplementation with red yeast rice at 1200-1800 mg twice daily. (3.6 gms RYR=6 mg of lovastatin).

Please see the downloads section at the right for more detailed clinician and patient information.

Disclaimer: This information is for general education. Please work with your health care practitioner to use it in the best way possible to promote your health.