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NMU – 228 Artichoke Leaf Extract Supplements Increase the Good Cholesterol (HDL)

Nutrition/Natural Medicine Update No 228 (January 26, 2022)

with Dr. James Meschino


Topic: Artichoke Leaf Extract Supplements Increase the Good Cholesterol (HDL)

Source: International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition (2012)


In recent Lifestyle Medicine Updates, I have explained the best natural ways to increase the good cholesterol in your blood, known as the HDL.  As I have explained, many of the strategies that lower the bad cholesterol, often don’t raise the HDL cholesterol, and some people have really low HDL levels, which in itself has been shown to be a significant risk factor for heart disease.  So, the goal is to keep your LDL-cholesterol low and to have a high HDL cholesterol. If your bad cholesterol (LDL) is high you can often lower it quite significantly by reducing your intake of foods high in saturated fats, trans-fats, cholesterol, deep-fried and breaded foods, and by increasing your intake of cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber foods like beans, peas, oats, and some low glycemic fibrous fruits and vegetables like non-sweet apples and the white rind of citrus fruits (high in pectin), as well as the consumption of ground flaxseeds and/or psyllium husk fiber. Endurance exercise and weight loss are also helpful to lower the bad cholesterol – LDL-cholesterol However, strategies that lower the LDL don’t always raise the HDL, as I mentioned. You can raise your HDL to some degree through aerobic exercise, losing excess body fat, especially around your belly, quitting smoking if you are a smoker, having a small handful of cashews each day, eating more avocadoes, and using extra virgin olive oil. In the previous Lifestyle Medicine, I also explained that taking a supplement containing Gum Guggul and Artichoke Leaf Extract has also been shown to raise HDL levels, as studies using both natural supplements have shown that they can lower the bad cholesterol and raise the HDL.

I covered the research on Gum Guggul last week. This week I want to cover the research on Artichoke Leaf Extract. A number of studies over the years, both human and animal studies, have shown that artichoke leaf extract can lower LDL and raise the HDL. For example, a study in 2012, involving 92 overweight subjects who had high LDL and low HDL, showed that compared to the placebo group, the individuals who ingested the artichoke leaf extract supplement each day for eight weeks saw an increase in their HDL, as well as a significant lowering of their LDL-cholesterol. Evidence suggests that constituents in artichoke leaf extract turn on a gene in the liver called the PON1 gene that is associated with liver cells making more HDL-cholesterol and releasing it to the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream HDL acts like a vacuum cleaner, pulling cholesterol out of the artery wall and returning to the liver to be discarded as bile. As such, HDL helps to reverse the narrowing of our arteries (atherosclerosis), which is a key factor in preventing heart disease and stroke. I often recommend that patients with high LDL and/or low HDL, take a supplement each day that contains both gum guggul and artichoke leaf extract whereby each caplet contains:

Gum Guggul – 500 mg (standardized to 2.5% guggulsterone)

Artichoke Leaf Extract – 200 mg (standardized to 13-18% caffeoylquinic acids)

The typical dosage is 3 caplets, twice daily with meals.

A supplement of this nature can even be used in conjunction with a statin drug, like Crestor or Lipitor, to help further lower LDL, and raise the HDL, sometimes enabling your doctor to lower the statin drug dosage you require. By the way, it’s also a good idea to eat artichokes, but a supplement with these concentrated medicinal ingredients is an even more potent way to lower the LDL and increase the HDL. Keeping your LDL low and your HDL high is a key strategy for healthy life expectancy, so know your numbers and do whatever is necessary to get them into the ideal range.

I have included the scientific references for this information in the text below.



1. Rondanelli M et al. Beneficial effects of artichoke leaf extract supplementation on increasing HDL-cholesterol in subjects with primary mild hypercholesterolemia: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. 2012; Pages 1-15

2. Magied M et al. Artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) Leaves and Heads Extracts as Hypoglycemic and Hypocholesterolemic in Rats. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research. Vol. 4, No. 1, 2016, pp 60-68.

3. Rizzi F et al. Interaction between polyphenols intake and PON1 gene variants on markers of cardiovascular disease: A nutrigenetic observational study. Journal of Translational Medicine. 2016.,with%20HDL%20in%20the%20circulation


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

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