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LDL-C

Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) choleterol is (sometimes falsely) seen as the 'bad' cholesterol and is the ying to HDL-C's yang. LDL serves to bring fatty acids and cholesterol from the liver and circulate them to tissues, oxidized LDL (oLDL) can contribute to heart disease.

Research analysis led by Kamal Patel.
All content reviewed by the Examine.com Team. Published: Feb 6, 2013
Last Updated:

Things To Know & Note

Also Known As

LDL-cholesterol

Human Effect Matrix

The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (it excludes animal and in vitro studies) to tell you what supplements affect ldl-c
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
Notes
grade-a Notable Very High See all 14 studies
There appears to be a reliable and significant reduction in circulating LDL cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic persons with garlic supplementation, and the magnitude of this change tends to be in the range of 10-20% (more potency in those with worse profiles at baseline)
grade-a Minor Very High See all 15 studies
Cocoa products appear to be able to reduce LDL cholesterol due to their flavonoid component, with the reduction in LDL-C being mild.
grade-a
Minor
- See all 30 studies
A decrease has been noted in persons without high cholesterol in the first place, and the decreasing effect of statins appears to be augmented with fish oil. However, in persons at higher risk for cardiovascular disease due to high triglycerides and cholesterol (who more frequently use fish oil as therapy) it is possible LDL-C may actually be increased. The magnitude tends to be in the 5-10% range.
grade-a Minor Moderate See all 13 studies
It is possible that policosanol is either effective or totally ineffective due to older Cuban studies being remarkably different than more recent replications; high probability of publicity bias
grade-a Minor Very High See all 6 studies
Not overly potent reductions of LDL-C, although they seem to reliably occur in persons with high cholesterol
grade-a - Very High See all 14 studies
The best evidence to date does not support a role for chromium in the reduction of LDL cholesterol, even when assessing type II diabetic individuals.
grade-a - High See all 11 studies
Although a minor effect may occur in those with high blood cholesterol concentrations, the majority of evidence does not support a role of Red Clover Extract in reducing LDL-C when supplemented.
grade-b Notable High See all 5 studies
Most evidence suggests that in subjects with dyslipidemia that supplemental niacin at the pharmacological dose results in a decrease in circulating LDL-C, although to a lesser magnitude than it influences HDL-C
grade-b Minor Very High See all 3 studies
The reduction of LDL-C when berberine was paired with lifestyle changes was −0.58mmol/L (95% CI −0.78 to −0.39) in diabetics, suggesting a significant benefit but not remarkably potent. However, another study in people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease showed no benefit over lifestyle changes alone.
grade-b Minor Low See all 19 studies
A small reduction in people with high cholesterol levels is possible, but studies are inconsistent.
grade-b Minor Very High See all 4 studies
There appears to be somewhat of a reduction in LDL-C associated with consumption of green tea polyphenolics (5% or so with 500mg catechin intake)
grade-b Minor Moderate See all 8 studies
Reductions in LDL-C are mild at best and only occur in persons with impaired lipid profiles (high cholesterol or dyslipidemia), but they do appear to occur with ingestion of the seed extract
grade-b Minor Moderate See all 5 studies
A decrease in LDL-C seems to be somewhat consistent, but the magnitude of decrease is not overly impressive relative to other agents
grade-b Minor Very High See all 6 studies
Degree of efficacy seems variable and correlated with disease state (more drastic improvements when LDL-C is much higher) but currently does not appear to be overly remarkable unless fatty liver exists.
grade-b Minor High See all 3 studies
Similar to total cholesterol, one study noted a stasis in LDL when placebo decreased (a relative increase). Reasons for this unknown and the data needs to be replicated, and HDL was unaffected.
grade-b Minor Low See all 3 studies
A decrease in LDL cholesterol may occur when a zinc deficiency in obese persons is being normalized.
grade-b - - See all 3 studies
grade-b - High See all 12 studies
Insufficient evidence to support decreases of LDL-C and evidence to support no influence whatsoever.
grade-b - High See all 4 studies
Although there is some counter evidence, usually DHEA supplementation does not alter LDL-C concentrations
grade-b - Very High See all 6 studies
Similar to total cholesterol, while there may be a minor reduction in those at the worst levels of LDL cholesterol those with minor increases fail to find benefit.
grade-b - - See 2 studies
No detectable influence on LDL-C levels
grade-b - - See all 4 studies
grade-b - Very High See all 9 studies
No significant alterations in LDL cholesterol seen with Vitamin C supplementation
grade-b - Very High See all 7 studies
Vitamin E supplementation does not appear to alter the overall levels of LDL cholesterol.
grade-c Notable Very High See 2 studies
A decrease in LDL-C has been noted with krill oil, which appears to be to quite a significant degree
grade-c Notable - See study
A decrease in LDL-C has been noted with soy lecithin ingestion to the degree of 42.05-56.15% in hypercholesterolemics, which is a remarkable decrease. Requires replication.
grade-c Minor Moderate See all 4 studies
Nothing remarkable about the reductions in LDL-C, seem to occur somewhat reliably and are minor in magnitude
grade-c Minor High See all 4 studies
A slight decrease in LDL-C has been noted following ashwagandha supplementation.
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
Possible reductions in LDL-C
grade-c Minor - See study
A decrease in LDL-C has once been noted
grade-c Minor - See study
A decrease in LDL-C has been noted to be associated with ephedrine, although this may be confounded with weight loss (also seen in the trials)
grade-c Minor - See study
May decrease LDL-C
grade-c Minor - See study
A decrease in LDL cholesterol has been noted, but may be due to weight loss
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
Although unreliable, there is a possible increase in LDL cholesterol from Guggul supplementation
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
A decrease in LDL-C has been noted, confounded with both weight loss and industry influence.
grade-c Minor - See study
A reduction in LDL-C is seen in hyperlipidemics associated with hyperimmune milk consumption
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
May reduce LDL-C levels to a very small degree, seems unreliable in doing so
grade-c Minor - See study
An increase in LDL cholesterol has been noted with oral ingestion of pterostilbene in hypercholesterolemic adults, mitigated by grape seed extract
grade-c Minor - See study
Somewhat effective in menopausal women.
grade-c Minor Very High See all 3 studies
May reduce LDL cholesterol for as long as pycnogenol is taken (some evidence to suggest a normalization after supplement cessation)
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
A reducing effect on LDL-C has been noted once during caloric surplus; practical relevance of this information unknown
grade-c Minor - See 2 studies
A decrease in LDL-C has been noted in persons with high blood lipids, although this decrease is not observed in persons who do not have high LDL-C concentrations.
grade-c Minor - See study
Possible decreases in LDL-C in persons at risk for heart disease, but it does not appear to be of large magnitude
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
A decrease in LDL-C has been noted to a minor degree in persons at risk for cardiovascular disease, but there is no inherent reduction in LDL-C in otherwise healthy persons.
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
A mild reduction in LDL cholesterol levels seen in obese persons with rose hip supplementation explains the reduction in total cholesterol, as HDL-C appears to be unaffected.
grade-c Minor - See study
Minor decrease in LDL has been noted with shilajit
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
Either no significant influence on LDL cholesterol or a slight increase (around 5%) has been noted; practical significance of this information unknown
grade-c Minor - See study
Possible LDL-C lowering effect, but has not yet been shown to be better than other protein sources.
grade-c Minor - See study
A respectable decrease in LDL has been reported once, although this reduction in LDL is confounded with weight loss that occurred with yacon syrup.
grade-c - - See 2 studies
grade-c - - See study
Although not a primary research end-point, no significant influence on LDL-C is seen.
grade-c - - See study
No significant effects on LDL-C
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
No significant changes in LDL-C concentrations in serum with blueberries.
grade-c - - See study
No significant influences on LDL cholesterol noted
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on LDL-C concentrations in serum following citrulline supplementation
grade-c - Moderate See 2 studies
A possible reduction seen in persons with high blood triglycerides and cholesterol failed to reach statistical significance due to large variance.
grade-c - - See 2 studies
grade-c - - See study
Although rice bran oil may reduce LDL cholesterol, there is insufficient evidence to support the role of gamma-oryzanol in this role
grade-c - - See study
No significant reducing effects on LDL cholesterol have been noted with ganoderma supplementation
grade-c - - See study
Garcinia appears unable to influence LDL-C levels based on preliminary evidence
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
No significant interactions with LDL-C even in high risk persons
grade-c - - See study
LDL cholesterol appears unaffected
grade-c - - See study
LDL cholesterol appears unaffected
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
No significant influence on LDL cholesterol levels
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
No significant modifications in LDL-C levels
grade-c - Very High See all 3 studies
LDL cholesterol appears to be unaffected following Roselle ingestion
grade-c - - See study
LDL-C appears to be unaffected, but testing has not been conducted in metabolically unwell persons
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on LDL cholesterol seems apparent
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
No significant influence on LDL cholesterol levels seen with magnesium supplementation
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on LDL cholesterol is noted with melatonin
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on LDL cholesterol
grade-c - - See study
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on LDL-C with PS supplementation
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
No significant influences on LDL-C levels
grade-c - Very High See all 3 studies
Although a reduction in LDL-C cannot be ruled out (due to the reduction in total cholesterol), the best evidence currently suggest no effect while uncontrolled studies confirm a reduction of minor magnitude
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
LDL-C appears to be unaffected with chia ingestion when compared to similar macronutrient sources
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on LDL-C levels in otherwise healthy men
grade-c - - See study
No detectable influence on LDL-C levels following theaflavin consumption
grade-c - Very High See all 3 studies
Mixed effects on LDL-C, likely no direct influence on LDL but may reduce overall LDL levels secondary to improving the diabetic state (which normally increases LDL)
grade-c - - See study
LDL-C appears to be unaffected by supplemental vitamin K
grade-d Notable - See study
Decreases in LDL-C have been noted with eclipta alba in hypertensive persons to 24%, which is quite a significant reduction.
grade-d Minor - See study
A decrease in LDL-C has been noted with consumption of the fruits over 21 days, affecting both healthy controls and diabetics
grade-d Minor High See all 3 studies
A decrease in LDL-C has been noted alongside other improvements in lipid parameters.
grade-d Minor - See study
Administering purified MCTs to diabetics results in a non-significant reduction of LDL-C.
grade-d Minor Very High See all 3 studies
Possible reductions in LDL cholesterol seen with TTA consumption
grade-d Minor Very High See all 3 studies
Decreases in LDL cholesterol have been noted in metabolically unwell persons following moderate Mate consumption (as brewed tea)
grade-d - - See study
No detectable influence on LDL cholesterol concentrations associated with horse chestnut extract.
grade-d - - See study
grade-d - - See study
No significant influence on circulating LDL-C has been noted with supplementation
grade-d - - See study
No apparent changes to LDL cholesterol exist in otherwise healthy adults given PQQ supplementation daily for up to three weeks.
grade-d - - See study
No significant influence of rubus coreanus on LDL cholesterol levels in otherwise healthy persons.
grade-d - - See study
No significant alterations in LDL-C concentrations
grade-d - Moderate See 2 studies
One study found a modest, significant reduction relative to placebo. Another study found a small, non-significant reduction
grade-d - - See study
No change noted in those with high blood sugar