Hyperlipidemia. Keep your Cholesterol in Check! Ask about Supplements.

Updated: 10/13/23

Are you concerned about the risk factors associated with high cholesterol? Hyperlipidemia – a condition marked by an excess of lipids such as fats, triglycerides, and cholesterol in your blood – is something to take seriously. If left untreated it can lead to serious problems including heart attacks and strokes. While lifestyle choices like healthy eating and exercise are important in reducing the risk of hyperlipidemia, adjusting dietary habits alone may not be enough to keep your numbers in check. Considering supplements may also help lower these risks, so if you have concerns or questions surrounding this issue consider talking to your doctor today!

What is the Hyperlipidemia?

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential in preventing various health conditions, including hyperlipidemia. But what is hyperlipidemia? It is a medical term that refers to the condition where there are high levels of fats, particularly cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. The excessive levels of these lipids can lead to various disorders and complications, including heart diseases, strokes, and peripheral vascular diseases. As a health-conscious individual, it is necessary to understand what hyperlipidemia is, its symptoms, and practical treatment options. In this blog post, we will dive deep into this medical condition to expand your understanding and encourage you to take action in managing your health.

There are two types of hyperlipidemia, namely, primary and secondary. Primary hyperlipidemia is caused by genetic defects, while secondary hyperlipidemia is often caused by an underlying condition such as obesity, hypothyroidism, and diabetes. Regardless of the type, excessive amounts of lipids in the blood can lead to the buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries. This buildup can lead to the development of atherosclerosis, a condition that causes the arteries to become less flexible and narrowed, increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Familial combined hyperlipidemia is a condition where people have elevated cholesterol levels at a young age. They are also much more likely to have heart attacks and strokes in their 20s and 30s.

Dyslipidemia vs. Hyperlipidemia

These two terms are often used interchangeably. However, they are not exactly the same thing. Dyslipidemia refers to any abnormal level of lipids in the blood, both high and low. Hyperlipidemia is a specific type of dyslipidemia where lipid levels are elevated.

Symptoms of Hyperlipidemia

Although hyperlipidemia is easy to diagnose with proper screening, there are few noticeable symptoms. Hyperlipidemia takes time to cause health problems such as heart disease and atherosclerosis. Without further health complications, it can be difficult to know that you are hyperlipidemic.

Chest Pain

Chest pain is a common symptom of hyperlipidemia. It usually occurs when your heart has difficulty getting enough oxygen-rich blood due to clogged arteries. The pain may come and go, and can be described as a tightening, pressure, or crushing sensation in the chest. Chest pain can also spread to other parts of the body, such as the arms, back, neck, jaw, and stomach.

Shortness of Breath

Another symptom of hyperlipidemia is shortness of breath. It occurs when your lungs don’t get enough oxygen due to reduced blood flow to the lungs. You may experience difficulty breathing or feel like you can’t catch your breath, especially during physical activity or when lying down. Shortness of breath can also be accompanied by wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness.


Fatigue or tiredness is a common symptom of hyperlipidemia. It occurs due to a lack of oxygen and nutrients reaching vital organs and tissues. You may feel like you’re constantly tired or have trouble staying awake during the day. Fatigue can also be accompanied by dizziness, lightheadedness, and weakness in the muscles.

Numbness and Tingling

Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet can also be symptoms of hyperlipidemia. They occur due to reduced blood flow to the extremities, causing nerve damage. You may feel a sensation of pins and needles or a burning and prickling sensation in your hands and feet. Numbness and tingling can also be accompanied by muscle weakness and cramping.

Vision Changes

Lastly, vision changes can be an early sign of hyperlipidemia. They occur due to blocked blood vessels in the eye, which can lead to retinopathy or vision loss. You may experience blurred vision, double vision, or a sharp decline in your visual acuity. If you’re experiencing vision changes, it’s important to see a specialist immediately to prevent further damage to your eyes.

Lipemia Retinali

This condition occurs when the lipids in the blood are high enough to affect the appearance of the retina, causing it to appear milky or opaque, especially in the blood vessels.

Xanthomas and Xanthelasmas

Another symptom of hyperlipidemia is the appearance of xanthomas and xanthelasmas. These are yellowish growths that can develop on your skin. They occur as a result of the accumulation of excess lipids in the bloodstream. These growths can be quite unsightly, and they can also be painful, especially if they appear on pressure points such as the knees or elbows.

Erectile Dysfunction

Finally, another symptom of hyperlipidemia is erectile dysfunction. Studies have shown that high levels of lipids in the bloodstream can interfere with the production of nitric oxide in the body. This compound plays a crucial role in ensuring adequate blood flow to the penis. When there’s a deficiency of nitric oxide, it can affect the quality and duration of erections, leading to erectile dysfunction.

Can Hyperlipidemia Cause Hypertension?

Hyperlipidemia and hypertension are two of the most prevalent health problems worldwide. Hyperlipidemia refers to high levels of blood lipids, including cholesterol and triglycerides, while hypertension refers to high blood pressure. While these two conditions are typically linked, researchers have long debated the link between hyperlipidemia and hypertension. Understanding whether hyperlipidemia can cause hypertension is crucial for developing proper treatment plans and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Several studies have also found a significant association between high levels of cholesterol and hypertension in children and adolescents. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Human Hypertension found that children with hypercholesterolemia are more likely to develop hypertension than children with normal cholesterol levels.

Hyperlipidemia with Diabetes

Research suggests that diabetes and hyperlipidemia are closely related. Those with diabetes are more likely to develop hyperlipidemia, which can further increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. This is because high blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels, making them more likely to accumulate fatty deposits. These fatty deposits can narrow the arteries that supply blood to the heart and brain, leading to heart attacks and strokes. High levels of LDL cholesterol in combination with high blood sugar can also damage the walls of blood vessels, leading to additional complications.

If you have hyperlipidemia and diabetes, it’s important to manage these conditions appropriately. This often involves making changes to your lifestyle, such as adopting a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking. Additionally, certain medications like statins and fibrates may be used to help manage high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Managing diabetes and hyperlipidemia properly can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease and other complications.

Hyperlipidemia Causes

What Causes Hyperlipidemia?


One of the leading causes of hyperlipidemia is an imbalanced diet. Consuming foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fats, and trans fats can contribute significantly to the rise in blood cholesterol levels. Therefore, the best way to control your cholesterol intake is by reducing saturated and trans-fat in your diet. Replace these fats with plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Also, try to limit your saturated fats intake to only 5 to 6 percent of your daily calorie intake. 

Lifestyle Factors

Lack of exercise and physical activity can also cause hyperlipidemia, as regular exercise helps to control cholesterol levels. In addition, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can also increase the risk of hyperlipidemia. To manage this condition, make lifestyle changes such as adopting a healthy diet, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and cutting down on alcohol.


If you have diabetes, it’s important to manage your blood sugar levels, as uncontrolled diabetes can lead to hyperlipidemia. High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels, leading to a buildup of cholesterol and fatty deposits. To avoid this, stick to a healthy diet, take your medication as prescribed, and monitor your blood sugar levels regularly. Diabetes and hyperlipidemia are closely linked. Changes in fat production and storage associated with diabetes can affect blood lipid levels, leading to elevated levels of LDL-cholesterol and lower levels of HDL-cholesterol.


High cholesterol can, in some cases, be caused by genetics. Familial combined hyperlipidemia is a condition where high cholesterol is caused by genetic factors, rather than diet alone. Unlike standard cases of hyperlipidemia, those with this condition often have high cholesterol in their teens and 20s.

People with familial combined hyperlipidemia are more likely to develop heart problems at a young age. They are at an increased risk of both heart attacks and strokes.

Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, and kidney disease can also cause hyperlipidemia. Some medications, such as beta-blockers, steroids, and diuretics, can also contribute to elevated lipid levels. If you have any of these medical conditions, it’s important to work closely with your doctor to manage your cholesterol levels.


Obesity can contribute to high cholesterol levels. Increased weight makes it more difficult for the body to properly break down sugars and fats and can alter the levels of lipids found in the blood. This can lead to hyperlipidemia. Lack of exercise can also impact fat stores in the body and lead to changes in the lipid concentrations in the body.

Age & Gender

As we age, our bodies undergo many changes, including increased levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Women, especially after menopause, are also at higher risk of developing hyperlipidemia. While we cannot control these factors, we can manage this condition by adopting a healthy lifestyle and eating a balanced diet. It’s not known if aging directly leads to higher cholesterol levels. However, as people age, cholesterol levels tend to increase.


Alcohol and hyperlipidemia are closely linked, with alcoholics significantly more likely to develop high cholesterol.

Prolonged periods of alcohol consumption have shown to significantly increase cholesterol levels.

How is Hyperlipidemia Diagnosed?

The early diagnosis and management of hyperlipidemia are crucial to reduce the risk of developing heart-related diseases. Healthcare providers use various diagnostic tools to diagnose the condition, depending on the individual’s medical history, family history, and overall health. If you have concerns about your cholesterol levels or other risk factors, consult your healthcare provider for further evaluation.

Treatment of Hyperlipidemia

Lifestyle Changes

One of the most effective ways to treat hyperlipidemia is to make some positive lifestyle changes. This includes eating a healthy diet that is low in saturated and trans fats, exercising regularly, losing weight if you are overweight or obese, quitting smoking, and reducing your alcohol consumption. These lifestyle changes can help to lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

Combination Therapy

In some cases, a combination of lifestyle changes and medications are needed to manage hyperlipidemia effectively. Combination therapy can help to lower cholesterol levels more quickly and can also help to reduce the risk of heart disease more effectively. If you are working with a combination therapy, make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions closely and report any side effects or concerns right away.


Once you have started treatment for hyperlipidemia, it’s important to have regular check-ups with your doctor to monitor your cholesterol levels and assess your response to treatment. This will help your doctor to adjust your treatment plan if needed and ensure that your cholesterol levels are kept under control. You may also need to have regular blood tests to monitor your liver function and other health markers.


Excess weight happens with higher cholesterol levels. Exercise can help you shed weight and regulate lipid concentrations in the blood, leading to a lower risk of hyperlipidemia. Regular physical activity can improve your cholesterol and triglycerides levels, reduce blood pressure, and boost heart health. Quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption can also reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Lastly, managing stress through relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation can also benefit your heart health.

Holistic Approach

Finally, it’s important to take a holistic approach to the treatment of hyperlipidemia. This means focusing on your overall health and well-being and taking steps to manage any other health conditions you may have. This can include managing your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes, managing high blood pressure, and managing stress. By taking a holistic approach, you can improve your overall health and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

Medication for Hyperlipidemia

If lifestyle changes alone are not enough to manage hyperlipidemia, your doctor may prescribe medications to lower your cholesterol levels. Statins, fibrates, niacin, and bile acid sequestrants are the most common medications for hyperlipidemia. These medications work by reducing the production and absorption of cholesterol in the body and can help to reduce the risk of heart disease.


The primary treatment option for high cholesterol is a type of medication, statins. They block molecules that produce cholesterol. They also help the body reabsorb cholesterol that has formed into plaques in the arteries, reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Lipitor is the most common statin. However, there are a number of Lipitor alternatives, including Pravachol and Zocor.

Statins are generally safe and well tolerated by most patients. However, they do come with a few side effects, especially as the body adjusts to the medication. These side effects include headaches, nausea and muscle aches. They can also increase your risk of developing diabetes.

Bile Acid Sequestrants

These medications bind to bile acids in the intestine, preventing their reabsorption and promoting their elimination from the body. This process reduces cholesterol levels in the blood.


These medications can help lower triglycerides and raise HDL or “good” cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol Absorbing Inhibitors

Cholesterol experiences reabsorption by the body in the small intestine, making it difficult to lower levels. Zetia is a cholesterol medicine that works to block the absorption of cholesterol in the lower intestine. Zetia and other cholesterol absorbing inhibitors are often alongside statins.

Injectable Cholesterol Medicine

There are a number of new injectable cholesterol medicines that help target specific types of cholesterol, making them more efficient.

These drugs are PCSK9 inhibitors, which helps the liver absorb higher levels of LDL cholesterol, the “bad” type of cholesterol. Since they directly target LDL in the blood, they can lead to quicker decreases in circulating cholesterol levels.

Injectable cholesterol medicines are by people who have statin allergies, or by those with genetic conditions that cause high levels of LDL in the blood.

Diet for Hyperlipidemia

Foods to Avoid

If you have hyperlipidemia, it’s essential to be wary of foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fats, and trans fats. Such foods include red meat, organ meats, whole-fat dairy products, fried foods, and processed foods. Instead, opt for lean meats like poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products, and unprocessed foods. Avoiding high-calorie foods, junk food, and sugary drinks is also important for maintaining a healthy weight.

Foods to Eat

A healthy diet for hyperlipidemia should consist mainly of plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. These foods are rich in dietary fibers, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol levels, and improve heart health. Consuming oily fish like salmon, herring, and mackerel is also a recommendation, as they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that can boost heart health.

Portion Control 

Even healthy foods can cause weight gain if eaten in large quantities. Therefore, it’s crucial to practice portion control while following a healthy diet. Stick to the recommended serving sizes, and avoid overeating. You can use smaller plates and bowls, and eat slowly to allow your brain to signal when you’re full.

Cooking Methods

How you cook your food can also affect your cholesterol and triglycerides levels. Grilling, broiling, or roasting your lean meats, poultry, and fish is healthier than frying or sautéing them in butter or oil. Using healthy cooking oils like olive oil, avocado oil, or canola oil for your salads and snacks is also a recommendation.

How to Lower Hyperlipidemia Naturally

Although hyperlipidemia can be dangerous when left unaddressed, there are a number of ways that you can live with the condition. The main way of living with hyperlipidemia is dietary change. Even with medication, most people will also need to change what they eat to prevent cholesterol levels from increasing again. Taking steps to lower high cholesterol can reduce the risk of a number of medical conditions. Cholesterol and strokes have a strong link, as are cholesterol and heart disease. A better diet and exercise regimen can reduce the risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke.

Stress Reduction

Chronic stress can lead to elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Finding ways to manage stress, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing techniques, can help reduce your lipid levels and improve your overall health.

Reduce Alcohol Intake

Consuming alcohol in moderation is fine, but excessive alcohol consumption can lead to high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Limit your daily alcohol intake to one drink for women and two drinks for men.

Herbal Supplements

Certain herbal supplements have shown to lower lipid levels, such as garlicky, red yeast rice, and green tea extract. However, consult with your doctor before taking any herbal supplement, as it may interact with other medication and cause side effects.

Quit Smoking

Smoking can increase the effects that bad cholesterol has on your body, making it more likely that you develop heart disease.

Supplements for Hyperlipidemia

In addition to standard pharmaceutical treatments, there are a number of herbal supplements that may be effective for controlling high cholesterol.

Pure Niacin

Niacin, or vitamin B3, can improve lipid levels by decreasing the production of LDL or “bad” cholesterol while increasing the levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol. This supplement can also reduce triglycerides and improve blood flow. However, before taking niacin, consult with your healthcare provider as it can cause side effects like flushing and liver damage.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids 

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients known to lower triglyceride levels and reduce inflammation in the body. This supplement is commonly found in fish oil supplements, but it can also be consumed through eating fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Omega-3 fatty acids also have other health benefits like reducing the risk of heart disease and improving brain function.


Soluble fiber is another supplement that can help lower cholesterol levels by reducing the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines. Foods rich in fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Soluble fiber supplements like psyllium husk can also be added to the diet for an extra boost in managing hyperlipidemia.

Plant Sterols and Stanols 

These supplements are similar in structure to cholesterol and work by blocking cholesterol absorption in the intestines. These are in fortified foods like margarine, orange juice, and yogurt. Plant sterol and stanol supplements are also available in pill or powder form.

Black Maca Powder

Black maca powder is a supplement from the root of the maca plant, which is native to Peru. One of the major benefits of black maca powder is its ability to regulate lipid levels in the blood. Research has shown that black maca supplements may lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol. This is because black maca powder contains compounds called polyphenols and glucosinolates that help balance lipid metabolism and prevent the accumulation of fat in the liver.

Pure Astragalus Extract Powder

Astragalus is an herb that has long been used to treat heart conditions in traditional Chinese medicine. Research has shown that it may be effective for lowering cholesterol levels. Studies in mice showed that astragalus lowered both total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels. Astragalus powder has few common side effects, although it can cause stomach discomfort in some users. To avoid any stomach pain, take astragalus with food.

Hawthorn Berry Extract Powder

Hawthorn berry extract is used for its antioxidant properties. It’s also effective for reducing cholesterol levels. Studies in mice have shown that hawthorn berry extract lowers LDL-cholesterol levels in the blood.

Milk Thistle Extract Powder

Milk thistle has a wide range of health benefits, including supporting liver health and supporting weight loss. It also has shown to be effective for keeping cholesterol levels down. Patients with diabetes who were treated with milk thistle showed significantly lower levels of cholesterol than patients who did not receive the treatment.

Red Yeast Rice Extract Powder

Red yeast rice may be effective for regulating cholesterol levels. It contains monacolin K, which is an ingredient found in certain statins. Monacolin K can reduce cholesterol levels and lower the risk of developing heart disease. When selecting a red yeast rice extract powder, check purity levels. Some have a dilution, making them almost entirely ineffective for treating hyperlipidemia.

Flaxseed Extract Powder

Flaxseed is used for its wide range of health benefits, including regulating triglycerides. One of the benefits of flaxseed extract powder is its ability to improve cholesterol levels. According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, flaxseed can reduce total cholesterol levels by up to 17%. Additionally, flaxseed has shown to decrease LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels by up to 20%.

Green Tea Extract

Green tea extract contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a unique compound that has antioxidant properties and has been associated with improved lipid profiles. Research has shown that green tea extract can help to improve total cholesterol levels, lower LDL cholesterol, and increase HDL cholesterol levels.


Used for centuries in traditional medicine, garlic is known for its medicinal benefits. Garlic supplements have been found to have a positive effect on cholesterol levels by reducing LDL levels and, in some cases, increasing HDL levels. Garlic can also lower blood pressure and has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Berberine HCL Powder

Berberine is one of the most effective natural treatments for both high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It is a natural supplement with extractions from certain plants. Berberine HCL powder regulates LDL-cholesterol in the blood, helping the body to absorb more harmful cholesterol molecules and remove them from the blood. It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can improve overall health.

The Bottom Line

Hyperlipidemia is a common condition that can increase your risk of developing heart disease. By following a healthy lifestyle, taking medication as prescribed, and working closely with your doctor, you can effectively manage this condition and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your treatment options and take control of your health today.

Now that you know how to lower hyperlipidemia naturally, make the necessary changes to your lifestyle. By combining a healthy diet, regular exercise, stress reduction techniques, and moderate alcohol intake, you can easily manage your lipid levels and enjoy a healthier and happier life. It is important to monitor your lipid levels regularly and follow the advice of your healthcare provider to ensure your health and wellbeing.

Supplements can be a powerful tool in managing hyperlipidemia. As with any medication or supplement, it is important to seek the advice of a healthcare professional before beginning any supplementation regimen. A qualified healthcare provider can help you determine the right type and dosage of supplements that work specifically for you. In combination with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and lifestyle modifications, supplements can play an important role in reducing cholesterol and improving heart health. So, take the first step towards a healthy heart by incorporating supplement regimen in your life today!

Author: Ryan Quigley
Graduate of Longwood University in Virginia. Part-time sports journalist covering the Vegas Golden Knights.