Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Quiz: Can supplements help your cholesterol?

  1 of  
Current Score:  
slide image

Eating soya makes a big difference to cholesterol levels.

slide image

Eating soya makes a big difference to cholesterol levels.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Soybean is a predominantly unsaturated fat, so will help to manage LDL (bad) blood cholesterol levels, however, its effect on cholesterol is not significant. Including soy protein daily in the diet can lower ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol, but it only boosts ‘good’ (HDL) cholesterol levels in those able to make dietary phyto-oestrogens (around a third of the population). The effect is similar to cutting back on saturated and total fat in your diet.

slide image

Which one of these helps lower bad cholesterol when added to food?

slide image

Which one of these helps lower bad cholesterol when added to food?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Stanol and sterol esters are natural substances derived from plants. They lower blood cholesterol by blocking the uptake of bile salts in the same manner as bile salt sequestrant drugs. The response to stanol and sterol esters depends on the dose taken. Between 2-3g per day will have optimal cholesterol lowering benefits. This is most easily achieved with cholesterol lowering ‘shot’ drinks, which should be taken before or after the main meal of the day for maximum cholesterol lowering effect. Stanol and sterol enriched spreads, yoghurts, desserts and milks are also available, but provide lower amounts of stanol or sterol ester per serving.

Fish oil has many health benefits including:

Fish oil has many health benefits including:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

The British Heart Foundation says some foods, like oily fish, can help control blood cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease. The Food Standards Agency recommends eating at least two portions of fish a week, with at least one being an oily fish such as salmon, mackerel or sardines. Studies show fish oil can lower triglycerides -- a kind of fat that can contribute to an increased risk of heart attack or stroke if your blood levels are too high.

 

It's best to get the benefits from food – but supplements providing 2-4 grams of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA daily can help lower your triglycerides and may even increase levels of good cholesterol (HDL).

 

In some cases, fish oil supplements can increase LDL cholesterol in people with high triglycerides. It can also cause problems if you are on blood thinners, so always check with your GP or pharmacist before taking supplements.

Which of these is best for reducing bad cholesterol?

Which of these is best for reducing bad cholesterol?

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Barley contains soluble fibre, known as beta-glucan, which may help lower ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol levels. The British Dietetic Association recommends eating more wholegrains, like barley as well as other foods high in soluble fibre such as peas, beans, lentils, oats, fruit and vegetables.

 

As for fenugreek seed or red clover flower, there’s just not enough evidence to suggest either help lower cholesterol.

The traditional medicine, red yeast rice, can:

The traditional medicine, red yeast rice, can:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Red yeast rice is a traditional Chinese food made by fermenting rice with the mould, Monascus purpureus. Red yeast rice contains several monacolin substances, including monacolin K which is identical to the cholesterol-lowering drug lovastatin. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has approved a claim that monacolin K from red yeast rice contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels. As a natural product it remains difficult to predict the level of active monacolins in red yeast rice. Some producers have used food dye to replicate the colour, and the presence of the fungal toxin, citrinin, is a potential health risk. Always check with your GP before using red yeast rice. It should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women.

The B vitamin niacin lowers cholesterol, so it’s fine to take as much as you like.

The B vitamin niacin lowers cholesterol, so it’s fine to take as much as you like.

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Niacin is one of the oldest treatments for high cholesterol, but that doesn't mean loading up with it is a good idea. Niacin in the massive doses needed to lower cholesterol can trigger side effects like itching, facial flushing, headaches, blurred vision or diarrhoea. High doses may also raise blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. If it is considered worth using to control your blood cholesterol levels, your GP can prescribe a 'sustained release' niacin that has fewer side effects.

It's possible that flaxseed can:

It's possible that flaxseed can:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Flaxseeds, also known as linseeds, are tiny seeds high in fibre and rich in lignans, dietary substances that help limit intestinal cholesterol uptake. Some scientific studies have demonstrated the cholesterol-lowering effect of adding whole flaxseeds to your diet, however, more research is needed before firm conclusions can be made.

 

However, flaxseed oil has none of the lignans and fibres of the original seed, but it is naturally rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) – an omega-3 fat beneficial to heart health in general.

Supplements with psyllium fibre are good for the heart because they:

Supplements with psyllium fibre are good for the heart because they:

  • Your Answer:
  • Correct Answer:

Psyllium is the chief ingredient in many fibre supplements. It’s a ground seed husk that contains soluble fibre and can help lower your ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL). Psyllium powders or capsules need to taken with plenty of water and should never be taken 'dry'.

 

Adding at least 5 to 10 grams of this kind of fibre each day to your diet can help lower cholesterol by binding dietary and bile salt cholesterol in the intestine, reducing uptake into the bloodstream.

Your Score:   You correctly answered   out of   questions.
Your Score:   You correctly answered   out of   questions.
results image

Well done! You have an excellent grasp of cholesterol knowledge.

Quite good! You know a lot about how to improve your cholesterol levels.

You can do better! Read up on cholesterol to improve your cholesterol numbers.

Cholesterol newsletter

The latest heart health news and information, delivered to your inbox.
Sign Up

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

woman_holding_head_in_pain
How to help headache pain
man in mirror
How smoking affects your looks & life
boost your metabolism
Foods to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol
man holding sore neck
Could you have a hormone imbalance?
woman looking at pregnancy test
Is your body ready for pregnancy?
woman holding mouth
Common mouth problems
couple makigh salad
Nutrition for over 50s
bucket with cleaning supplies in it
Cleaning and organising tips
adult man contemplating
When illness makes it hard to eat
Allergies
Allergy myths and facts
egg in cup
Surprising things that can harm your liver