The Heart Health Benefits of Amla (Indian Gooseberry)
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Table of Contents
Can Amla Reduce Cholesterol?
Amla, also known as Indian gooseberry or by its scientific names (Emblica Officinalis and Phyllanthus Emblica), is a plant-based medicine and superfood native to India and southeast Asia.
Despite the fact that amla has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, the global research community has only recently begun to truly delve into the evidence behind this ancient cure-all remedy. And the results have been pretty astounding.
Apart from its incredible nutritional value (with more vitamin C than citrus and more antioxidants than any other plant on the planet), scientists have discovered a vast array of medicinal benefits, ranging from lowering high cholesterol and blood glucose to assisting weight-loss and immunity.
In this article, we’ll explore amla’s effects on your cholesterol in two scenarios — general hyperlipidemia and diabetic dyslipidemia — and show how adding amla to your diet can be an excellent, plant-based alternative to artificial medications.
Treating Hyperlipidemia (High Cholesterol) With Amla
What Is Hyperlipidemia?
Hyperlipidemia is the scientific term for the condition more colloquially known as “high cholesterol.”
More specifically, hyperlipidemia is actually the presence of elevated ‘bad’ cholesterol levels, which includes LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. It doesn’t measure your total cholesterol level, or the presence of HDL cholesterol (which is often called ‘good’ cholesterol).
This ‘bad’ cholesterol can lead to arterial plaque in blood vessels, which left untreated can dramatically impair blood flow to all tissues.
Over time, this buildup can lead to coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and stroke, which is why hyperlipidemia is important to identify and reverse quickly.
The tricky part of identifying and preventing hyperlipidemia is that high cholesterol by itself doesn’t have many symptoms, and only shows up on a lipid profile. That’s one of the reasons why it’s important to stay on top of semi-regular checkups.
Can Alma Reduce High Cholesterol?
The short answer? All studies so far point to yes, but additional research may be needed to strengthen these findings.
In one of the first clinical studies of its kind, amla powder had comparable effects to the reductase inhibitor simvastatin, a leading drug, with subjects experiencing a significant reduction of cholesterol.
Still another study explored the effect of amla fruit extract specifically on smokers, measuring a wide variety of cardiovascular and respiratory factors. Participants in this study showed significant, consistent benefits, especially in their ratios of ‘good’ cholesterol to ‘bad’ cholesterol.
Other research in both rabbit studies and rat studies have shown a very similar cholesterol-lowering effect, all of which speaks to amla’s potential as a plant-based medicine for lowering cholesterol.
As we mentioned above, this body of research is small but promising, and we look forward to more studies to further our understanding of exactly how amla lowers cholesterol.
Treating Diabetic Dyslipidemia With Amla
What Is Dyslipidemia?
Dyslipidemia is a larger term that encompasses both abnormally high and low levels of cholesterol on your lipid profile (blood work). When referenced in terms of diabetes, dyslipidemia speaks to a larger imbalance in the body’s ability to regulate lipids and cholesterol.
Diabetic dyslipidemia is most often characterized by elevated fasting and post-meal triglycerides, low HDL-cholesterol, elevated LDL-cholesterol, and a high ratio of free, LDL particles.
In any situation, elevated LDL cholesterol (also known as low-density lipoprotein) represents an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Coupled with low HDL cholesterol (also known as high-density lipoprotein), and the high blood glucose levels that often occur with diabetes, diabetic dyslipidemia represents “the major link between diabetes and cardiovascular risk.”
The Effects of Amla on Dyslipidemia
For people living with diabetes, the effects of amla on dyslipidemia have potential to be even more significant than to those just dealing with hyperlipidemia.
And the results have been strong. In a randomized, double-blind, multicenter control trial of patients with dyslipidemia, Emblica officinalis extract had an effect on total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol, a rare combination for a single medicine.
In the same clinical trial, amla extract was also found to have no effect on CoQ10, an enzyme that helps prevent heart disease. In contrast, most common statin medications did lower CoQ10, meaning that amla had similar positive results with less side effects.
In addition, amla extract and amla fruit have even been shown to lower oxidative stress, another risk factor for heart disease, thanks to its exceptionally high antioxidant value. Another area which show’s amla’s promise as an all-factor medicine for heart disease.
These studies continue to support amla’s potential as a plant-based, natural medicine to combat heart disease, and it looks like a better question isn’t “does amla lower cholesterol”, but rather, “how comprehensively does amla benefit cardiovascular health?”
Is Amla Safe to Take to Reduce High Cholesterol?
Allergic reactions to amla are rare, and there are currently no known clinical side effects associated with amla. However, there are two things to be aware when adding amla to your diet:
First, as we mentioned above amla can lower your blood pressure and help reduce inflammation. However, this may increase the risk for bleeding or bruising if you have any bleeding disorders, or during surgery.
If you’re planning a surgery, discuss any new medicine or supplement with your doctor, including amla.
Second, amla lowers your blood glucose when taken consistently, which is a reason for its strong antidiabetic properties. However, this also means that taking amla when you already have low blood glucose may increase your risk of hypoglycemia.
Fortunately, if needed you can simply stop taking amla, and your blood glucose will likely rebound relatively quickly.
Try Amla Green Risk-Free
Amla’s promise as a plant-based medicine begs the question: why hasn’t amla powder caught on more widely?
Well, two reasons. The first is that it’s difficult to source organic, high-quality amla berries, even in India and southeast Asia. Second, despite the fact that there are many ways to add amla to your diet, amla powder has a bitter and sour taste that can be off putting.
The result is a powerful, tasty powder with all the benefits of amla.
We’re thrilled to be able to share Amla Green around the world, so we’re offering a risk-free trial for your first batch. Try it, and if you don’t like it, we offer a money-back guarantee.
Amla Green has strict guidelines for scientific references in our articles, and we rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, governmental organizations, and reputable medical organizations. We do our best to avoid using non evidence-based references in all articles. The references in this article are listed below.
“Akhtar, Muhammad Shoaib, Ayesha Ramzan, Amanat Ali, and Maqsood Ahmad. “Effect of Amla Fruit (Emblica Officinalis Gaertn.) on Blood Glucose and Lipid Profile of Normal Subjects and Type 2 Diabetic Patients.” International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition 62, no. 6 (September 2011): 609–16.” ”https://doi.org/10.3109/09637486.2011.560565"
“Anila, L., and N. R. Vijayalakshmi. “Flavonoids from Emblica Officinalis and Mangifera Indica-Effectiveness for Dyslipidemia.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 79, no. 1 (January 2002): 81–87.” ”https://doi.org/10.1016/s0378-8741(01)00361-0"
“Emblica Officinalis (Amla): A Review for Its Phytochemistry, Ethnomedicinal Uses and Medicinal Potentials with Respect to Molecular Mechanisms - PubMed.” ”https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27320046/"
“Fatima, Nishat, Usharani Pingali, and Raveendranadh Pilli. “Evaluation of Phyllanthus Emblica Extract on Cold Pressor Induced Cardiovascular Changes in Healthy Human Subjects.” Pharmacognosy Research 6, no. 1 (January 2014): 29–35.” ”https://doi.org/10.4103/0974-8490.122914"
“Gopa, Biswas, Jagatkumar Bhatt, and Kovur G. Hemavathi. “A Comparative Clinical Study of Hypolipidemic Efficacy of Amla (Emblica Officinalis) with 3-Hydroxy-3-Methylglutaryl-Coenzyme-A Reductase Inhibitor Simvastatin.” Indian Journal of Pharmacology 44, no. 2 (2012): 238–42.” ”https://doi.org/10.4103/0253-7613.93857"
“Krishnaveni, Mani, and Sankaran Mirunalini. “Therapeutic Potential of Phyllanthus Emblica (Amla): The Ayurvedic Wonder.” Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology 21, no. 1 (2010): 93–105.” ”https://doi.org/10.1515/jbcpp.2010.21.1.93"
“Mathur, R., A. Sharma, V. P. Dixit, and M. Varma. “Hypolipidaemic Effect of Fruit Juice of Emblica Officinalis in Cholesterol-Fed Rabbits.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 50, no. 2 (February 1996): 61–68.” ”https://doi.org/10.1016/0378-8741(95)01308-3"
“ResearchGate. “(PDF) Pilot Study Evaluating the Use of Emblica Officinalis Standardized Fruit Extract in Cardio-Respiratory Improvement and Antioxidant Status of Volunteers with Smoking History.” ”https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hermed.2014.09.002"
“Upadya, Haridas, S. Prabhu, Aravinda Prasad, Deepa Subramanian, Swati Gupta, and Ajay Goel. “A Randomized, Double Blind, Placebo Controlled, Multicenter Clinical Trial to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of Emblica Officinalis Extract in Patients with Dyslipidemia.” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 19 (January 22, 2019). ” ”https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-019-2430-y"
“Usharani, Pingali, Nishat Fatima, and Nizampatnam Muralidhar. “Effects of Phyllanthus Emblica Extract on Endothelial Dysfunction and Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Controlled Study.” Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy 6 (July 26, 2013): 275–84. ” ”https://doi.org/10.2147/DMSO.S46341"
“Wu, Liya, and Klaus G. Parhofer. “Diabetic Dyslipidemia.” Metabolism 63, no. 12 (December 1, 2014): 1469–79. ” ”https://doi.org/10.1016/j.metabol.2014.08.010"
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, is a cofounder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. Using an evidence-based approach to nutrition and fitness, he first reduced his own insulin usage by more than 40%, and has educated thousands of people with all forms of diabetes how to reverse insulin resistance using food as medicine. Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) Conference, Plant Stock, and has been featured on Forks Over Knives, NPR, PBS, KQED, Fast Company, and is the author of the upcoming book Mastering Diabetes.
- Cyrus Khambatta