A combination of nutraceuticals could be the ticket for lowering blood lipids and heart disease risk, according to a study from the University of Bologna. Placebos or a combined supplement of red yeast rice, banaba, artichoke, and coenzyme Q10 were given to 30 adults with elevated LDL-cholesterol. The subjects were given either the supplements or placebos for six weeks, followed by a two-week washout, and then a six-week crossover. Results showed that when the subjects supplemented with the combined nutraceutical formula, total cholesterol decreased 13.6%, LDL-cholesterol decreased 18.2%, and C-reactive protein (CRP, a marker for inflammation) decreased 18.2% compared to placebo.
In Perspective: Banaba is a flowering leaf plant grown in tropical climates, such as the Philippines and India and has been used as a traditional medicine in the treatment of diabetes. It contains corosolic acid, a substance with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antifungal, and blood-sugar-lowering properties. Why artichoke? There is no credible body of evidence to support the inclusion of this in the above study, other than testimony and traditional medicine uses. It is likely the main reason the researchers obtained such dramatic improvements in lipids in this study is because of the red yeast rice, which contains a variety of compounds, including a natural statin.
Elizabeth Somer, M.A.,R.D.
Cicero A, Colletti A, Fogacci F, et al: Effects of a combined nutraceutical on lipid pattern, glucose metabolism and inflammatory parameters in moderately hypercholesterolemic subjects. High Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Prevention 2016; June 23rd.