Alternatives to Statin Drugs

Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs are one of the most commonly prescribed drugs by doctors. Unfortunately, they come with a risk of myopathy (muscle fatigue, pain, and damage), fatigue, liver and kidney damage, memory loss or confusion, and type 2 diabetes. As a result, patients and their doctors are looking for natural therapies to balance lipid levels. And as I discussed in an earlier article, The Cholesterol Study You Never Heard About, the effectiveness of statin drugs can be misleading.

There has been much research demonstrating that the Mediterranean Diet, low carbohydrate diet, and plant-based diets are effective in balancing lipid levels. This is especially true when regular exercise is followed, hormones are balanced, and body weight and fat percentage are reduced.

The use of targeted dietary supplements is helpful in achieving better lipid balance. Many of my patients see good improvement in their lipid values with our Cholesterol Wellness formula. The formula includes:


Red Yeast Rice

Red yeast rice (RYR) is commonly recommended by holistic doctors for lipid balancing as an alternative to cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. This dietary supplement has been recommended by the European Cardiology Society and European Atherosclerosis Society since 2011 for the management of high cholesterol. In addition, the International Lipid Expert Panel acknowledges support for RYR for reducing moderately elevated LDL-cholesterol. The panel reports that RYR is well tolerated, and side effects are usually minimal. There have been several studies conducted with RYR for lowering cholesterol. A review of studies in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reports that large meta-analyses of randomized trials demonstrate the benefit of RYR for people with high cholesterol. A reduction of LDL cholesterol from 15% to 25% can be attained within 8 weeks. Cholesterol Wellness contains a citrinin-free extract, the same type as recommended by the expert panels, as high doses of citrinin may have toxic effects on the kidneys.


Flush Free Niacin

Niacin has long been used in nutritional medicine and cardiology for improving lipid levels. Niacin can improve good HDL cholesterol while lowering LD cholesterol and triglycerides. However, niacin is notorious for causing flushing of the skin and other side effects related to the dilation of blood vessels. Cholesterol Health contains a flush-free version to avoid these side effects.



Chromium is often used in nutritional medicine for blood glucose balancing. However, it also has benefits on lipid levels. For example, a recent review of studies found that it decreased triglycerides and total cholesterol, as well as increased HDL cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes.


Garlic Powder

Garlic, as a food and as a supplement, is used to support lipid balance. A review of garlic studies published in the journal Medicine found that garlic reduced total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Consuming garlic as a good and taking it in the form of a dietary supplement is a nutritional strategy recommended by many holistic doctors.


Coenzyme Q10

Considered a cardiovascular super-nutrient, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ0) has several benefits for the heart and blood vessels. CoQ10 acts as an antioxidant to protect against LDL cholesterol oxidation. The oxidized form of LDL cholesterol is the most damaging form of LDL cholesterol. In addition. CoQ10 supports healthy heart function and blood vessel health.  Cholesterol Wellness contains CoQ10 for its’ multiple cardiovascular benefits.


Raw Whole Food Blend

As with many of my formulas, the Cholesterol Wellness contains a blend of raw, whole foods to support digestive function, absorption, and provides phytonutrient support to the body.


A Multifaceted Approach to Lipid Balancing

Cholesterol Wellness provides targeted nutritional therapy for lipid balancing. While red yeast rice is the leading ingredient, the other components target key aspects of cardiovascular health to provide synergistic support. For patients who have elevated LDL particles, Cholesterol Wellness can also be helpful. Some patients also take our Bergamot Wellness for additional cholesterol and LDL particle improvements.


Dr. Mark Stengler NMD, MS, is a bestselling author in private practice in Encinitas, California, at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine. His newsletter, Dr. Stengler’s Health Breakthroughs, is available at His clinic website is



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Cicero AF, Colletti A, Bajraktari G, et al. Lipid-lowering nutraceuticals in clinical practice: Position paper from an international lipid expert panel. Nutrition Reviews. 2017;75(9):731-767. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nux047

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