© Dana Rothstein | Dreamstime.com
B vitamins are often referred to as “the energy vitamins” because they help your body’s natural process of obtaining energy from the food you eat. When consumed, they literally provide your body with a “boost” of energy. B vitamins also can lower cholesterol naturally by reducing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels while raising HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels. With that in mind, some physicians encourage their patients to take B vitamin supplements to lower cholesterol.
Lower Cholesterol Naturally With Vitamin B5
Pantethine, the activated form of vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid, has been shown by a Princeton clinical research team to lower both total cholesterol levels and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Pantethine has the advantage of being an effective treatment for high cholesterol while avoiding the undesirable side effects of synthetic lipid-lowering drugs (i.e. Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor, etc).
Pantethine can lower the incidence of heart attack and stroke by reducing platelet stickiness and clumping. Furthermore, it offers protection against the damaging effects of environmental pathogens such as cigarette smoke.
Vitamin B3, Niacin for Lowering Cholesterol
Niacin works in the liver by affecting the production of blood fats, and it has been well-researched. Several well-designed double-blind, placebo controlled studies have found that niacin can reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by approximately 10 percent and triglycerides by 25 percent while raising HDL (“good”) cholesterol by 20 percent to 30 percent.
“High LDLs lead to atherosclerosis and then cardiovascular disease,” warns Nadia Chariff, Health Advisor & Registered Dietitian at Coffeeble. “Make no mistake, dietary & lifestyle factors such as high saturated fat intake & lack of exercise definitely play a part! Besides recommending alternative diets & increased activity, I recommend niacin to my patients.”
Another important vitamin in managing your cholesterol is B12. Not only has research shown that taking vitamin B12 daily can lower cholesterol naturally, but it can also provide additional cardiovascular health benefits, such as reducing the risk of developing atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries). Moreover, this important nutrient can help fight chronic fatigue and aids in the maintenance of the central nervous system. However, it is important to note that vitamin B12 is better absorbed by the body when it is taken along with other B vitamins, such as the aforementioned vitamin B3 (niacin).
“One of the dynamic duos on the B vitamins team is vitamins B12 and folate (B9),” says Dr. Chanté Wiegand, ND, Director of Research & Development at Pure Synergy . “They work together to support DNA synthesis and cell replication. They also collaborate to keep your heart healthy by preventing the build-up of a detrimental compound called homocysteine.”
Getting Your B Vitamins Through Food or Through Supplements?
So if the bottom-line message here is that these B vitamins for cholesterol can help regulate healthy cholesterol levels, how can you be sure you’re getting enough? Check your diet first; food is always the best way to get your nutrients.
“Foods rich in Vitamin B include whole grains, red meat, dairy products, sunflower seeds, almonds, broccoli, spinach, citrus fruits, bananas, and avocados,” says Dr. Liana Casusi, MD, Medical Consultant at Oh So Spotless. “If certain food cannot be included in the diet, then Vitamin B supplementation is suggested.”
If you’re trying to lower cholesterol naturally and achieve therapeutic levels of these nutrients, you may need to add B vitamin supplements to your daily routine.
 Nutrition Research. 2011 Aug;31(8):608-15.
 Illingworth DR, et al. Comparative effects of lovastatin and niacin in primary hypercholesterolemia. A prospective trial. Arch Intern Med. 1994;154:1586-1595.
 Seminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis. 2000;26(3):341-8.
Originally published in 2012, this post is regularly updated.