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Herbal Supplement Shown to Reduce Cholesterol

High cholesterol levels have been associated with many diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease. Many lifestyle factors affect the risk of high cholesterol-including diet, exercise, and smoking-but there are steps you can take to reduce the risk.

According to a study published in the February 2012 issue of Phytotherapy Research and conducted by researchers with the Italian company Indena, an herbal supplement may reduce total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.

This study included 60 adults with high cholesterol levels or abnormal blood lipid profiles. The participants randomly consumed an herbal supplement that contained policosanol, tomato extract, grape procyanidins and Oenothera biennis or a placebo for six weeks. After a two week washout period, the groups switched interventions so that each individual participated in the supplementation and placebo phases.

Supplementation resulted in a 17.3% reduction in LDL cholesterol and a 13.4% reduction in total cholesterol. The researchers also noted a 7.2% decrease in the inflammation marker C-reactive protein, an 8.9% decrease in the oxidative stress marker malondialdehyde, and a 2.8% decrease in the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismustase. Levels of these compounds actually increased during the placebo phase.

There are a number of ways to lower cholesterol, including regular physical activity, limiting consumption of trans and saturated fats, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking.

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