Recent Blog Articles
Taking up adaptive sports
Cutting and self-harm: Why it happens and what to do
Discrimination at work is linked to high blood pressure
Pouring from an empty cup? Three ways to refill emotionally
Give praise to the elbow: A bending, twisting marvel
Sneezy and dopey? Seasonal allergies and your brain
The FDA relaxes restrictions on blood donation
Apps to accelerometers: Can technology improve mental health in older adults?
Swimming and skin: What to know if a child has eczema
A muscle-building obsession in boys: What to know and do
Don’t buy into dietary supplements for heart health
- By Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch
In the journals
For people without heart disease, low-dose statin therapy can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol better than six dietary supplements promoted to improve heart health, according to a study published online Nov. 6, 2022, by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Researchers examined 190 adults ages 40 to 75 who did not have cardiovascular disease. Participants had LDL levels that ranged from optimal to high and a 5% to 20% risk of developing cardiovascular disease within 10 years. Everyone was randomly put into one of eight groups. One group took 5 milligrams of the statin drug rosuvastatin (Crestor), another group took a daily placebo, and the rest took one of six dietary supplements, each with a dominant ingredient: fish oil, cinnamon, garlic, turmeric, plant sterols, or red yeast rice. (These ingredients have been touted to have heart health benefits, including helping to lower cholesterol.)
After 28 days, people in the statin group lowered their LDL by an average of almost 38%, while changes in most of the supplement groups were comparable to those who took a placebo. (The garlic supplement group actually saw their LDL levels increase.) The statin group also had an average 24% decrease in total cholesterol.
The researchers noted that more than 28 days may be needed for these dietary supplements to affect cholesterol levels. Still, the findings support statins as the best medicine for lowering cholesterol.
Image: © Tanja Ivanova/Getty Images
About the Author
Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
You might also be interested in…
Making Sense of Vitamins and Minerals
About half of all Americans routinely take dietary supplements. The most common ones are multivitamin and multimineral supplements. Making Sense of Vitamins and Minerals: Choosing the foods and nutrients you need to stay healthy explains the evidence behind the benefits and safety profiles of various vitamins and minerals. It also includes the recommended minimum and maximum amounts you should consume, as well as good food sources of each.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!