High levels of cholesterol, when combined with a poor ratio between "good" (high-density lipoproteins, or HDL) and "bad" (low-density lipoproteins, or LDL) can cause a build-up of plaque on artery walls and increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. The most commonly prescribed medication to regulate cholesterol is a class called statins.
There are, however, risks and side effects associated with statins. These can include stomach pain, sexual dysfunction, nausea, dizziness, and numbness in the extremities. More serious side effects can cause damage to muscle tissue, kidneys and liver. For these reasons, it is advisable to regulate cholesterol levels as much as possible by natural methods.
Lifestyle changes are crucial for lowering high LDL cholesterol. Regular exercise has been shown to have an excellent effect on lowering risks for heart disease, even with only moderate activity. A heart-healthy diet should avoid saturated fats, which are found mostly in animal products, and trans fatty acids found in hydrogenated (solid) fats, many commercial products (especially baked goods) and fast foods.
There are, however, healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids found in vegetable and fish oils, and plant fats called sterols. Sterols have a low bioavailability, however, since they are bound to plant fibers. A supplement such as Natur-Leaf® can provide the sterols and sterolins that will help balance cholesterol levels by binding LDL cholesterol into a form that is excreted. Unlike statins, Natur-Leaf® has had no reported side effects and can be considered a useful tool in the fight against bad cholesterol.