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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 lead by Kamal Patel
All content reviewed by Examine.com Team. Published:
Last Updated:

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.
grade-a Garlic 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 Cocoa Extract 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 Fish Oil
- 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 Policosanol  
grade-a Psyllium  
grade-a Chromium  
grade-a Red Clover Extract  
grade-b Vitamin B3 (Niacin)  
grade-b Berberine  
grade-b Green Tea Catechins  
grade-b Nigella sativa  
grade-b Olive leaf extract  
grade-b Spirulina  
grade-b Trimethylglycine  
grade-b Zinc  
grade-b Astaxanthin  
grade-b Conjugated Linoleic Acid  
grade-b Curcumin  
grade-b Dehydroepiandrosterone  
grade-b Hesperidin  
grade-b L-Carnitine  
grade-b Lactobacillus reuteri  
grade-b Vitamin C  
grade-b Vitamin E  
grade-c Krill Oil  
grade-c Soy lecithin  
grade-c Artichoke Extract  
grade-c Ashwagandha  
grade-c Ecklonia cava  
grade-c Eleutherococcus senticosus  
grade-c Ephedrine  
grade-c Ginger  
grade-c Grapefruit  
grade-c Guggul  
grade-c Irvingia gabonensis  
grade-c Microlactin  
grade-c Panax ginseng  
grade-c Pterostilbene  
grade-c Pueraria mirifica  
grade-c Pycnogenol  
grade-c Pyruvate  
grade-c Quercetin  
grade-c Resveratrol  
grade-c Rooibos  
grade-c Rose Hip  
grade-c Shilajit  
grade-c Vitamin D  
grade-c Whey Protein  
grade-c Yacon  
grade-c Anethum graveolens  
grade-c Benfotiamine  
grade-c Black Cohosh  
grade-c Blueberry  
grade-c Caffeine  
grade-c Citrulline  
grade-c Citrullus colocynthis  
grade-c Creatine  
grade-c Gamma Oryzanol  
grade-c Ganoderma lucidum  
grade-c Garcinia cambogia  
grade-c Grape Seed Extract  
grade-c Green Coffee Extract  
grade-c Gynostemma pentaphyllum  
grade-c HMB  
grade-c Hemp Protein  
grade-c Hibiscus sabdariffa  
grade-c Japanese Knotweed  
grade-c Licorice  
grade-c Magnesium  
grade-c Melatonin  
grade-c Nattokinase  
grade-c Phosphatidylcholine  
grade-c Phosphatidylserine  
grade-c Punicic Acid  
grade-c Royal Jelly  
grade-c Salvia hispanica  
grade-c Sea Buckthorn  
grade-c Theaflavins  
grade-c Vanadium  
grade-c Vitamin K  
grade-d Eclipta alba  
grade-d Emblica officinalis  
grade-d Inositol  
grade-d Medium-chain triglycerides  
grade-d Tetradecyl Thioacetic Acid  
grade-d Yerba mate  
grade-d Horse Chestnut  
grade-d Perilla Oil  
grade-d Pueraria lobata  
grade-d Pyrroloquinoline quinone  
grade-d Rubus coreanus  
grade-d Safflower Oil  
grade-d Tribulus terrestris  
grade-d Vitamin B1  

All comparative evidence is now gathered in our ​A-to-Z Supplement Reference.

The evidence for each separate supplement is still freely available ​here.