A historical, evidence-based, and narrative review on commonly used dietary supplements in lipid-lowering

Jelani K. Grant, Michael Dangl, Chiadi E. Ndumele, Erin D. Michos, Seth Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Dietary supplements augment the nutritional value of everyday food intake and originate from the historical practices of ancient Egyptian (Ebers papyrus), Chinese (Pen Ts’ao by Shen Nung), Indian (Ayurveda), Greek (Hippocrates), and Arabic herbalists. In modern-day medicine, the use of dietary supplements continues to increase in popularity with greater than 50% of the US population reporting taking supplements. To further compound this trend, many patients believe that dietary supplements are equally or more effective than evidence-based therapies for lipoprotein and lipid-lowering. Supplements such as red yeast rice, omega-3 fatty acids, garlic, cinnamon, plant sterols, and turmeric are marketed to and believed by consumers to promote “cholesterol health.” However, these supplements are not subjected to the same manufacturing scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration as pharmaceutical drugs and as such, the exact contents and level of ingredients in each of these may vary. Furthermore, supplements do not have to demonstrate efficacy or safety before being marketed. The holistic approach to lowering atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk makes dietary supplements an attractive option to many patients; however, their use should not come at the expense of established therapies with proven benefits. In this narrative review, we provide a historical and evidence-based approach to the use of some dietary supplements in lipoprotein and lipid-lowering and provide a framework for managing patient expectations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100493
JournalJournal of Lipid Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • dietary supplements
  • fish oil
  • inflammation
  • lipid lowering
  • lipids
  • supplements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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