A scoping review on natural cholesterol lowering supplements sold in South African pharmacies

Hyeon Bok Lee, Razeeya Khan, Muhammed Vally, Ané Orchard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Dyslipidaemia is defined as elevated total or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels or low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Patients may often make use of natural cholesterol lowering supplements (NCLSs) available at the pharmacy; however, limited information on these supplements is readily available. Pharmacists should be knowledgeable about NCLSs to ensure that the use of these supplements is supported by evidence and to provide appropriate advice to patients for desirable therapeutic outcomes. Aim: This study aimed to identify the NCLSs being sold in South African pharmacies and review the scientific evidence for each of the ingredients in these NCLSs. Methods: Seventeen NCLS products were identified, and the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) scoping review methodology was used to conduct a literature review of NCLSs. Results: From the ingredients reviewed it is evident that co-enzyme Q10, probiotics and sterols have sufficient evidence supporting their use. However, there is still limited scientific evidence available to validate the remaining ingredients. Conclusion: Further research on NCLSs will provide practising pharmacists and practitioners with a guide of the evidence available on the various ingredients in NCLSs. Contribution: This study provides a review of the available literature on the NCLSs being sold in the pharmacies across South Africa to provide pharmacists with a collated document of the evidence behind these popular supplements to assist them in making evidence based informed decision regarding natural products for cholesterol.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbera2299
JournalHealth SA Gesondheid
Publication statusPublished - 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • HDL
  • LDL
  • cholesterol, dyslipidaemia
  • natural supplements


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