Heart disease is the leading cause of death within the United States, even more than other health conditions such as cancer, accidents, or strokes.
And while heart disease can be caused by a number of factors, one of the largest factors is high cholesterol. According to the CDC, scientific research shows that more than 95 million adults in the US currently have total cholesterol levels higher than 200 mg/dL.
That’s almost 30% of the total population, for the record, which means that nearly 30% of all Americans are at higher-than-normal risk of heart disease.
We know that diet has a hugely important effect on cholesterol, so the question is this: can taking Moringa (Miracle Tree) daily help lower your cholesterol?
Why Take Moringa for Cholesterol?
Researchers have studied the effects of Moringa on both human and animal subjects, and the overwhelming conclusion is that adding Moringa to your diet can help lower your cholesterol, thus decreasing your risk of heart disease.
Let’s take a closer look at cholesterol, what it is, and how Moringa (drumstick tree) specifically can help lower it.
What is Cholesterol?
In the simplest terms: cholesterol is a fat-like compound that’s found in every cell in your body.
Your liver produces cholesterol naturally, which is good because cholesterol is extremely important!
Cholesterol helps create hormones like estrogen and testosterone, it’s necessary for Vitamin D, and it helps produce the acid your body needs to digest foods.
Why do we need Cholesterol?
We need cholesterol to function properly; it’s not something to be scared of.
Cholesterol is also found in certain types of foods, like eggs, cheese, and grass-fed steak.
Contrary to popular belief, for most people, eating cholesterol-rich foods will not raise their cholesterol.
Studies show that the human body is pretty good at regulating dietary cholesterol; when you eat healthy foods high in cholesterol, your liver produces less, and when you don’t eat cholesterol-heavy foods, your body produces more.
In other words, most people don’t have much to fear from cholesterol-dense foods like dairy and meat products.
There are two exceptions here. First, the small exception: hyper-responders.
About 25% of people do seem to experience a small/moderate increase in cholesterol when eating cholesterol-rich foods.
According to research, this does not seem to have an effect on heart disease, but it’s still something to be aware of!
The second exception is a larger one: saturated and trans fats.
Studies have shown that eating saturated and trans fats can cause your body to create way more cholesterol than it needs.
Can you Have Too Much Cholesterol?
Too much cholesterol can result in plaque forming in your arteries, which in turn can cause blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes.
The foods we eat aren’t the only things that can increase cholesterol: some diseases like diabetes and hyperthyroidism can result in high cholesterol, too.
But your diet is the single largest factor in determining your cholesterol.
Let’s talk about how the Moringa tree can help.
Want to know where to find the right gear to grow your Moringa? Or where to find Moringa Oleifera Seeds?
More reading can be found here, at Morningarden’s signature Moringa 101 post:
Is Moringa Good for Cholesterol?
Moringa is incredible for cholesterol.
Moringa’s effect on cholesterol has been studied in both human and animal subjects, and it’s probably one of the health benefits we have the most support for.
In a 2010 study conducted on patients with Type 2 diabetes, researchers gave participants a daily 8-gram dose of Moringa for 40 days. Their blood glucose decreased, of course; we’ve talked about the effects of Moringa on diabetes on this blog before.
At the end of those 40 days, however, researchers also discovered that Moringa had decreased cholesterol levels, too. All in all, the participant’s cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels decreased by about 14% and 29%, respectively.
In another study, one group of rabbits with high levels of cholesterol were given a daily dose of 100mg/kg of Moringa leaf extract.
Simultaneously, another group was given a daily dose of simvastatin, the drug used to lower LDL cholesterol.
At the end of the 12-week study, Moringa had decreased LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides levels, and carotid plaque just as much as the simvastatin did.
Simvastatins (such as FloLipid and Zocor) are prescription drugs; you can’t get them over the counter in the United States.
Moringa Oleifera worked just as well, with many other health benefits.
Also: not only can Moringa help decrease your cholesterol, but it can also decrease the cholesterol found in your eggs.
In what is arguably one of the greatest studies ever conducted by man, 120 chickens were given Moringa leaf powder mixed into their feed.
Doses varied; some chickens were given .5 grams/kilogram of Moringa leaf powder, others 1, 1.5, and 2. At the end of the study, researchers then measured the cholesterol in the resulting chicken eggs.
Antioxidants increased and cholesterol decreased, that’s what happened.
Though not each of those studies focused on cholesterol, every one of those studies resulted in some sort of improvement.
Why Does Moringa Lower Cholesterol?
There are several different reasons scientists believe Moringa Oleifera might lower cholesterol.
One potential reason is because of Moringa’s high level of fiber.
Moringa Olieferia is famous for its high concentration of Vitamin C, but for some, fiber is more important.
A 10-gram serving of Moringa powder (about 1.5 tablespoons) contains roughly 2.44 grams of fiber; in other words, fiber makes up about 1/4th of Moringa’s whole composition.
How Does Fiber Help Lower Cholesterol?
Fiber is important for a number of reasons.
Firstly, fiber improves your overall digestive health; high-fiber foods move through your digestive system quickly and help reduce the risk of colon cancer and promote regularity.
Just as importantly, though, soluble fiber can also reduce how much cholesterol is absorbed into your bloodstream.
And if you have diabetes, it can also reduce your blood sugar levels, too.
The fiber in Moringa Oleifera helps not only with digestion but also with cholesterol absorption, which in turn can help lower cholesterol.
Helping to lower blood pressure and long-term blood sugar levels is just a couple of the many health benefits of Moringa, and could end up being life-saving for you or a loved one.
Moringa Oleifera is also chockful of antioxidants, which themselves also work to decrease cholesterol.
Oxidation of cholesterol is caused by free radicals (a type of unstable molecule missing an electron), and that oxidation can increase the plaque in your arteries. That’s where antioxidants come in.
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants find free radicals and give them an extra electron, which stabilizes them and prevents them from wreaking havoc on your body.
The antioxidants inside of Moringa Oleifera help prevent that oxidation, and also help lower LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind).
Recent research also suggests that Moringa Oleifera can help accelerate weight loss, as well.
Now, please remember: weight and health are not always related!
It’s entirely possible to have what some might consider a “healthy” weight and still have high cholesterol, and it’s also possible to be “overweight” and have low cholesterol. Genes and environmental factors can have just as much of an impact on cholesterol as diet does.
However, if you are obese and do have high cholesterol, losing weight can often help lower it.
Adding Moringa Oleifera to a healthy diet can further increase the rate at which you lose weight, which could potentially also help lower your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides levels.
How Much Moringa Should I Take to Lower Cholesterol?
That depends! Most of the research has used different amounts. Some studies have used a single amount, like 8 grams.
Other studies have adjusted doses based on weight: half a gram per kilogram, 1 gram per kilogram, 2 grams per kilogram (which would result in doses of 3.4 grams, 6.8 grams, and 13.6 grams, respectively, for a 150-pound person).
Each of those studies has resulted in lowered cholesterol. It doesn’t matter whether the doses have been high or low; they’ve all helped human and animal test subjects control and manage their cholesterol.
Most studies that have used varying doses of Moringa Oleifera have found the best results with “medium” doses. Because these studies were performed by different researchers with different goals, though, the “medium” doses have all varied.
What is a Medium Dose of Moringa?
So what does that mean? Mostly, it means that there’s not currently an exact answer. We don’t yet know what the “perfect” amount of Moringa is for lowering cholesterol.
We do know that you don’t have to have a huge amount, though; even small or moderate amounts can lower your cholesterol!
We always recommend starting with small amounts, like 1-3 grams of Moringa powder daily. Then, over a period of a few weeks, you can slowly increase the amount to 5-10 grams. That gives your body time to get used to the sudden increase in antioxidants, vitamins, etc.
Psst: for a more in-depth look at exactly how much Moringa you should eat each day, take a look at our post on How Much Moringa To Take Daily.
Moringa and Cholesterol (Conclusion)
We know some of our audience is a little against traditional medicine, but still are looking for different health benefits.
When it comes to alternative medicine, Moringa Oleifera (can be taken as Moringa Extract, just the Moringa Oleifera Leaves, or Moringa Oil) can help your immune system, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, provide anti inflammatory compounds, lower cholesterol, and a ton of other health benefits.
Even Moringa Oleifera leaf extract is one of the best dietary supplements, providing you with a ton of essential nutrients, and you can grow it in your garden.
There are a lot of misconceptions about cholesterol, and education (preferably by way of speaking with a doctor) is always the first step you should take.
We also recommend always taking a holistic approach to your health; adding a spoonful of Moringa powder to your diet probably isn’t going to offset binging on 10,000 calories worth of ice cream.
But studies show that Moringa absolutely can decrease cholesterol. Talk to your doctor about adding some to your diet; it just might be able to replace your medication.