Supplements for Cholesterol: What Works?

Plenty of dietary supplements on the market claim to lower your cholesterol. These claims aren't always backed up by research, however. Though not always perfect, scientific studies are the best way to determine if an alternative remedy really works. We break down what the research does—and doesn’t—say about the benefits of the most popular supplements for lowering cholesterol.

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Soy protein

What it is: A protein found in soy foods such as tofu, edamame, and soy milk.

The evidence: The FDA allows the labels of certain foods containing soy protein to claim that, as part of a heart-healthy diet, soy protein may help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering LDL. Research has found that soy protein’s effect is relatively modest, however. A 2006 review by the American Heart Association found that consuming 50 grams of soy protein a day—twice as much as the FDA says is necessary to reduce the risk of heart disease—results in an average drop in LDL of just 3%. The bottom line: Soy protein does lower LDL, but only slightly. The size of the effect seems to have been overstated. (Still have questions about natural cholesterol-lowering remedies? Ask our Natural Living experts)

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