Recent perspectives on the role of nutraceuticals as cholesterol-lowering agents

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Purpose of reviewReduction in circulating cholesterol is an important step in lowering cardiovascular risk. Although statins are the most frequently prescribed cholesterol-lowering medication, there remains a significant portion of patients who require alternative treatment options. Nutraceuticals are increasingly popular as cholesterol-lowering agents. Despite the lack of long-term trials evaluating their use on cardiovascular endpoints and mortality, several studies have demonstrated their potential cholesterol-lowering effects. The purpose of this review is to provide an update on the role of nutraceuticals as cholesterol-lowering agents. The present review will focus on individual nutraceutical compounds, which have shown modest cholesterol-lowering abilities, as well as combination nutraceuticals, which may offer potential additive and/or synergistic effects.Recent findingsBerberine, red yeast rice, and plant sterols have moderate potential as cholesterol-lowering agents. Combination nutraceuticals, including the proprietary formulation, Armolipid Plus, appear to confer additional benefit on plasma lipid profiles, even when taken with statins and other agents.SummaryAlthough robust, long-term clinical trials to examine the effects of nutraceuticals on clinical outcomes are still required, their cholesterol-lowering ability, together with their reported tolerance and safety, offer a pragmatic option for lowering plasma cholesterol levels.

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