CLEVELAND – A new Cleveland Clinic study shows over-the-counter dietary supplements claiming to help lower cholesterol aren’t very effective.
“What we looked at is the effect of 5 milligram of a low-dose statin compared to placebo and six commonly used dietary supplements for the reduction of LDL cholesterol in a patient population that is at intermediate risk for future risk of adverse cardiovascular events,” explained Luke Laffin, MD, cardiologist for Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Laffin said they studied six supplements including fish oil, garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, plant sterols, and red yeast rice, and then compared them to statins, which are prescription medicines.
The results showed that a low-dose statin was much more effective at reducing cholesterol than any of the supplements.
He said they also found that statins are just as safe as the supplements.
In addition, the supplements did very little in helping to reduce cholesterol.
So, what does this mean for people with high cholesterol?
“If you have had conversations with your doctor about starting cholesterol lowering medicines, it’s probably best to continue those conversations and not resort to over-the-counter supplements which generally don’t have any great data, including in this trial, that they actually reduce cholesterol and decrease cardiovascular risk,” said Dr. Laffin.
Dr. Laffin said it’s probably best for people who are taking these kinds of supplements to treat high cholesterol to stop and switch to a proven medication.