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National Institutes of Health • National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

NCCAM Clinical Digest. For health professionals.

High Cholesterol and Complementary Health Practices

February 2013
Food label showing 0 milligrams of cholesterol

Approximately 13 percent of U.S. adults has high total cholesterol. Lowering cholesterol levels can slow down, reduce, or even stop plaque from building up in the walls of arteries and may decrease the chance of having a heart attack. Mainstays in treating high cholesterol include diet, weight loss, physical activity, and when necessary, drug treatment.

According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, high blood cholesterol is one of the top 10 conditions prompting use of complementary health practices among adults. This issue provides information on “what the science says” about the effectiveness and safety of several dietary supplements reportedly used by people with high cholesterol, including red yeast rice, flaxseed and flaxseed oil, and garlic.

Time to Talk Tips: High Blood Cholesterol? 5 Things You Should Know

Read more about what the science says

Scientific Literature

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NCCAM Clinical Digest is a service of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, NIH, DHHS. NCCAM Clinical Digest, a monthly e-newsletter, offers evidence-based information on complementary health approaches, including scientific literature searches, summaries of NCCAM-funded research, fact sheets for patients, and more.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is dedicated to exploring complementary health products and practices in the context of rigorous science, training complementary health researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCAM's Clearinghouse toll-free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCAM Web site at nccam.nih.gov. NCCAM is 1 of 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health, the Federal focal point for medical research in the United States.

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Content is in the public domain and may be reprinted, except if marked as copyrighted (©). Please credit the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine as the source. All copyrighted material is the property of its respective owners and may not be reprinted without their permission.

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