How Blueberries Lower Cholesterol

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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New research on the marvelous blueberry reveals that this superfruit is able to turn down genes in your digestive tract that favorably impact the clearance of cholesterol out of your body. Blueberries were also able to turn down the volume on your liver’s production of HMG-CoA reductase (the primary enzyme that makes cholesterol in your body), which is also the target of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. 

In this animal study, six weeks of blueberry anthocyanin supplementation lowered total cholesterol by 6 to 12 percent, with higher doses lowering it the most. As cholesterol comes into your digestive tract via your bile, it is typically reabsorbed and used again. The reason for a high fiber diet is that fiber tends to absorb some of this cholesterol, and help clear it out.  In comparison, blueberries help turn down genes in your digestive tract with the net result that less cholesterol is reabsorbed – a finding that is synergistic with increased fiber intake.

Of course, your liver can still make cholesterol to compensate for the digestive clearance, so it is interesting that this study showed that blueberries were also telling the liver not to do that either. 

Unlike toxic statin drugs that take a sledgehammer to your liver, nutrients like blueberries are tools to help guide you in the right direction. When you combine cholesterol metabolizing nutrients with a healthy diet and lifestyle (engaging weight loss if you are overweight), then you give your body the opportunity to correct itself. This means cholesterol numbers come down because you are actually healthier. Statins do not produce health, and are a slow and steady poison when used over the long term.

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