Lakewood resident Walter Killius said, “What did doctors recommend you do? Stop eating everything that taste good, cause it ain’t good for you. And they put me on cholesterol pills.”
Millions of Americans are prescribed statins, like Lipitor or Crestor, to reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
But potential side effects shy many people away from taking them.
Dietary supplements often marketed to promote heart health were a better option for many.
Those supplements are fish oil, garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, plant sterols and red yeast rice.
“Commonly used supplements for ‘heart health’ don’t work,” said Cleveland Clinic preventive cardiologist Dr. Luke Laffin. “They don’t lower LDL cholesterol, they don’t lower tri-glyceride compared to placebo. And they’re vastly inferior.”
In this clinical trial, researchers analyzed health data for 190 adults between the ages of 40 and 75 who had no history of cardiovascular disease.
Laffin said different groups got a low-dose statin, a placebo and the six supplements for 28 days.
The statin had the greatest impact, significantly lowering bad cholesterol levels.
“Supplements are not necessarily without harm. So, talk with your doctor,” Laffin said. “If you need lowering cholesterol medications, get the real thing — not some over-the-counter nonsense.”
In a statement, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade association for the dietary supplement industry, said: “Supplements are not intended to replace medications or other medical treatments.”