In the world of ever-increasing numbers of sophisticated, expensive cholesterol-lowering treatments, there’s one highly effective, “old-school” therapy that tends to get ignored: fiber. By now, it’s a well-established fact that you can cheaply and easily lower LDL naturally by increasing your fiber intake, either through foods or supplements. And yet, in my medical practice and those of my peers, I see patient after patient who either doesn’t know about the effectiveness of fiber or ignores this fundamental natural treatment for high cholesterol.
Americans now eat less than 15 grams of fiber a day, down from the 50 to 100 grams consumed by our Paleolithic ancestors. Fiber comes mainly from plant foods—fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and beans. Studies have consistently shown that 25 grams in women and 35 grams in men should be a daily goal to lower LDL naturally and for overall cholesterol control. This can be easily achieved and is associated with numerous health benefits in addition to lowering cholesterol. But for unknown reasons, many people who want to lower cholesterol naturally turn to expensive supplements or statin drugs before they try fiber.
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Among its many health-promoting benefits, fiber has been shown to:
- Lower total cholesterol, lower triglycerides, and lower LDL naturally without lowering HDL
- improve blood sugar control in type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
- help with weight loss
- lower blood pressure
Don’t ignore psyllium as an effective, inexpensive fiber source!
You don’t need the newest, latest and greatest (or the most expensive) fiber supplement to lower LDL naturally. The lowly psyllium will do just fine. A review published in the European Journal of Nutrition examined 21 randomized placebo-controlled studies looking at the effects of psyllium in almost 2000 patients with mild to moderate high cholesterol. The dose of psyllium ranged between 3 and 20 grams per day. Some of the studies combined the psyllium with low-fat or other types of diets. The authors concluded that psyllium effectively lowers both total and LDL cholesterol. The higher the dose of psyllium, the more cholesterol-lowering effect it had. Psyllium reduced serum total cholesterol more quickly than LDL cholesterol.
How to use psyllium to lower LDL naturally:
The seed husks of psyllium are a viscous (gel-forming) water-soluble fiber and one of the most commonly sold fiber supplements in the world. You can buy whole psyllium husks, psyllium husk powder, encapsulated psyllium husk powder, and other psyllium products under numerous brand names. In general, psyllium husk powder is smoother and mixes better in liquids than whole psyllium husks. One tablespoon psyllium husk powder contains about 9 grams of psyllium, about 6.5 grams of which is fiber. Simply mix one tablespoon into at least 12 oz of water or juice and consume immediately. Be sure to drink plenty of additional fluids throughout the day. Start by taking 1 serving each day. Gradually increase to 3 servings per day for the biggest reward in your effort to lower LDL naturally. If minor gas or bloating occurs, reduce the amount you take until your system adjusts. A month’s supply generally costs less than ten dollars.
When you consume a diet containing psyllium and other foods that have been specifically found to lower cholesterol, like almonds, plant sterols, oats, barley, okra, and eggplant, studies show you can lower LDL naturally as much as you could with a statin drug. Food is powerful medicine!
Our Comprehensive Guide on Natural Cholesterol Control: Achieve Healthy Cholesterol Levels Without Drugs gives the complete picture on the most effective and proven ways to lower LDL naturally using food, supplements and other non-drug approaches. Like the aforementioned studies on fiber, all of the protocols found in our Comprehensive Guide have solid research behind them and are recommended by leading integrative medicine physicians to their own patients. When you download this exclusive Guide, Natural Cholesterol Control: Achieve Healthy Cholesterol Levels Without Drugs, you’ll have an entire list of natural remedies – all in one place – so that you can determine which ones are most appropriate for you. Say “no” to statin drugs for good, and begin using safe and effective remedies to lower LDL naturally.
 Chutkan R, Fahey G, Wright WL, McRorie J. Viscous versus nonviscous soluble fiber supplements: mechanisms and evidence for fiber-specific health benefits. J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2012 Aug;24(8):476-87.
 Wei ZH, Wang H, et al. Time- and dose-dependent effect of psyllium on serum lipids in mild-to-moderate hypercholesterolemia: a meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jul;63(7):821-7.
 Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Marchie A, et al. Direct comparison of a dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods with a statin in hypercholesterolemic participants. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Feb;81(2):380-7.
Originally published in 2012, this blog has been updated.