CHOLESTEROL 11 Red Yeast Rice The fermented by-product of cooked rice on which red yeast is grown, this supplement has been used for centuries to treat a variety of medical conditions. But modern studies show that the true value of red yeast rice is its ability to lower cholesterol. It accomplishes this by restricting the liver’s production of cholesterol in the same way as the statin drug lovastatin. Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles, Center for Human Nutrition studied a proprietary red yeast rice supplement in a 12-week double blind, placebo-­ controlled trial involving 83 adults with borderline-high to moderately elevated cholesterol. They found that the supplement significantly reduced both total and LDL cholesterol levels. Other studies show that red yeast rice safely lowers total cholesterol an average of 10 to 30 percent, lowers LDL cholesterol an average of 10 to 20 percent, and increase HDL by 7 to 15 percent. According to a recent trial of 74 people with unhealthy cholesterol levels, taking a combination of red yeast rice and fish oil is just as effective at lowering LDL cholesterol levels as statin drugs. And unlike pharmaceuticals, this dynamic duo also lowered triglyceride levels in all of the participants taking the supplements. Other studies show that pairing 2,400 mg. of red yeast rice and 3,000 IU of fish oil not only tames bad cholesterol and triglycerides, it also benefits HDL cholesterol levels. As with statin drugs, red yeast rice can deplete CoQ10 levels, so make sure to supplement with at least 60 mg of CoQ10 daily if you use this nutrient. Although relatively free from side effects, some people experience digestive upset when taking a red yeast rice extract. To avoid this, take the supplement with food. Fish Oil The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil supplements help transport cholesterol out of the body. And it’s especially effective when combined with garlic. In one trial by Canadian scientists, 50 men with high cholesterol received either a combination of 12,000 mg of fish oil with 900 mg of garlic, fish oil alone, garlic alone, or a placebo. Those taking the garlic-fish oil combination had a 34.3 percent reduction in their LDL levels and a 12.2 percent decrease in their total cholesterol. And, as mentioned above, pairing it with red yeast rice can lower cholesterol as effectively as a statin drug. But to reap the cholesterol-lowering benefits of fish oil, you need to take at least 3,000 mg a day of a high quality molecularly-distilled product high in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Supplementing The Diet Dietary supplements are appropriately named because they are meant to be a supplement to a healthy diet.They are not meant to replace healthful eating habits.When combined with a heart-healthy diet, these supplements are even more effective.