Cholesterol Matters: Healthy Choices for Your Healthy Heart

Love Your Heart

Healthy cholesterol levels depend upon diet and lifestyle choices, as well as an element of genetic predispositions. We aim for lower LDL and triglyceride numbers, while shooting for higher HDL, the “good” cholesterol. Besides looking at total cholesterol, experts also evaluate very small particles known as VLDL, as well as comparing the ratio of LDL to HDL. 

Despite how you look at the numbers, the bottom line is, we all want to achieve and maintain a healthy cholesterol profile. These studies researched the efficacy of several supplements when it comes to lipid health.

Omega-3s and resveratrol improved lipid profiles


People with high cholesterol levels may take statin drugs to manage the condition, but some still have elevated levels of triglycerides, the most common type of blood fat. Doctors wanted to see if omega-3s could lower triglycerides in those with elevated levels who were taking statin drugs.

Participants in the study took the statin drug rosuvastatin for four weeks. Then the 201 who still had elevated triglycerides continued on rosuvastatin alone, or added 4,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per day. After eight weeks, the omega-3 group saw a 26.3 percent drop in triglycerides, compared to 11.4 percent for rosuvastatin alone.

To more accurately predict chances of heart disease, doctors are beginning to total the two types of “bad” cholesterol—LDL and VLDL (very-low-density lipoprotein)—as a percentage of total cholesterol, excluding HDL, the “good” cholesterol. After the eight week study period, those in the omega-3 group saw a 10.7 percent decline in non-HDL cholesterol levels compared to a 2.2 percent drop for rosuvastatin alone.

Discussing the findings, doctors said omega-3s appeared to provide the greatest benefit in those whose triglyceride levels or non-HDL cholesterol levels were highest, and whose body mass index scores were low.

Reference: Clinical Therapeutics; 2018, Vol. 40, No. 1, 83-94


This study followed 71 apparently healthy men and non-pregnant women, aged 20 to 65, who had just been diagnosed with imbalanced lipid profiles, including elevated total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Those in the study had similar health status and history, and didn’t smoke, drink, take lipid-lowering drugs, or supplements containing resveratrol.

Participants took 100 mg of resveratrol per day, or a placebo. After two months, while the placebo group had not significantly improved, those taking resveratrol saw total cholesterol levels decline to an average of 201.4 mg per deciliter of blood (mg/dL) from 220.6, and triglycerides decrease to 133.4 mg/dL from 166.7.

Reference: Nutrition; July, 2018, Published Online

Vitamin A Boosts Good Cholesterol

In this study, doctors measured the diets of 57 obese, but metabolically healthy, men and women, aged 18 to 62. As the level of vitamin A in the diet from food and supplements increased, so did the level of HDL, the “good” cholesterol.

In a second finding, as levels of vitamin A decreased, HDL levels decreased more in the women than in the men.

The body can synthesize vitamin A from retinyl palmitate found in animal foods such as dairy, eggs, liver, and fish; and from beta carotene found in colorful fruits and vegetables. Supplements can provide one or both forms of vitamin A.

Reference: Cholesterol; 2018, 8050512; Published Online

BetsyHealth Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before using a supplement, especially if you take prescription or over-the-counter medications or have a medical condition. For example, the supplements in this article also thin blood. Also, resveratrol may have estrogenic-like properties.

Article copyright 2019 by Insights for Well Being. All rights reserved. Used with permission.