Reduces Cholesterol Absorption
A study out of Florida State University involving 160 women who either ate 2.7 ounces of dried apples or prunes found that those in the apple group reduced their LDL (bad cholesterol) by 23 percent and their HDL (good cholesterol) increased by four percent. A protein that indicates inflammation and increases the risk for heart disease, C-reactive protein dropped by 32 percent in women who ate apples every day. Those in the prune group did not have significant reductions in any of these risk factors. Women who ate apples lost an average of 3.3 pounds despite the fact that 240 calories was added to their diet. Apples contain a soluble fiber called pectin prevents the gut from absorbing cholesterol and tells the body to use it. Researchers also noted that all colors provide the same benefits.
Could Fight Liver Metastasis
Researchers are using high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) to carry siRNAs that inhibit genes involved in cancer attacked ovarian cancer tumors in mice. RNA interference had great potential but delivery has been difficult because without nanoparticles, the siRNA gets degraded before it reaches the tumor In mice, this technique reduced tumor size and the quantity by 60 to 80 percent and adding it to chemotherapy further reduced it by 90 percent. Previous research showed that the SR-B1 receptor on cancer cells and liver take up HDL. Another advantage is that since the liver has these receptors, any cancers that metastasize there will be targeted as well. No adverse side effects were observed and the next experiments will focus on developing a nanoparticle that can be used in humans.
Perfect Valentine's Gift
Just in time for Valentine's Day, new research reveals just how chocolate "loves" the heart with cocoa's antioxidant compounds known as polyphenols that boost production of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) and lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Polyphenols are abundant in dark chocolate. Researchers, writing in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that polyphenols do their magic by enhancing the work of sterol regulatory element binding proteins (SREBPs), which attach to DNA to activate genes that boost HDL. Cocoa polyphenols were found to increase levels of ApoA1 (a component of HDL) and decrease levels of ApoB (a component of LDL) in the intestine and liver.
95 Ways to Affect Cholesterol
Analysis of human genomic DNA showed that 95 genes affect the levels of cholesterol, demonstrating the complexity of cholesterol regulation but also providing some answers that could help prevent heart disease. Variations in these genes make up 25 to 33 percent of the variation in the cholesterol and triglyceride levels that people inherit. Diet and exercise also play a role in cholesterol levels and statin drugs are used to control cholesterol levels. Twenty percent of people have a variation in a gene called SORT1, which predisposes them to lower levels of LDL and as a result, they have a 40 percent reduced risk of a heart attack. Researchers hope this variation allows them to develop a drug that will lower LDL levels.
LDL Matters Even in 20s
It's time to start paying more attention to cholesterol levels in young people, suggest researchers who found that even modestly elevated cholesterol during a person's 20s and 30s can raise risk of developing coronary artery calcium and atherosclerosis later in life. Findings from the 20-year study were released recently by University of California - San Francisco researchers. They found that people with higher levels of LDL cholesterol or lower levels of HDL cholesterol in young adulthood turned out to be more likely to have coronary calcium later in life. Researchers found that 44 percent of people in the study with average LDL greater than 160 mg/dL had calcifications in coronary arteries 20 years later, compared with only eight percent of those with LDL levels less than 70 mg/dL.
Increase HDL Decrease Cancer
"Cholesterol is a single molecule it has a single chemical structure. There is no good and bad cholesterol."
- Philip in the comments
A long term study following 76,000 people on statins found that as their high-density lipoprotein levels (HDL) increased, their risk of developing any type of cancer decreased. Based on these results, Dr. Richard Karas and colleagues recommend a minimum HDL level of 40 milligrams/deciliter (mg/dL) for men 50 mg/dL for women. They hypothesize that HDL has antioxidant effects and may also help with immune surveillance, searching and destroying damaged cells that could become cancer. It could also be that low HDL is a marker of chronic health issues that increase the risk of cancer, such as inflammation. Niacin in large doses has been shown to increase HDL, but healthy habits such as eating right and maintaining a healthy weight can produce the same results.
Lower Triglycerides Too
Adding nuts to your diet can lower cholesterol according to a study in a recent issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. For the study, participants ate an average of 2.4 ounces of nuts per day resulting in a reduction of slightly more than five percent of total cholesterol; a 7.4 percent reduction in LDL, or unhealthy cholesterol, and a 10.2 percent reduction of triglycerides among participants with high levels. Explained Joan Sabaté, M.D., Dr.P.H., of Loma Linda University, CA, "The lipid-lowering effects of nut consumption were greatest among subjects with high baseline LDL-C and with low body mass index and among those consuming Western diets.” She called for the inclusion of nuts in the diet to favorably affect blood lipid levels and to potentially lower coronary heart disease risk.
Increases Triglycerides Too
It’s known that foods high in saturated fat and trans fatty acids contribute to elevated levels of LDL cholesterol, commonly known as the “bad cholesterol.” Now a new study links high amounts of added sugars to lower HDL, or “good cholesterol.” Eating or drinking high amounts of added sugars also contributes to higher levels of harmful trigylcerides, according to research from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study. The study, which surveyed more than 6000 adults about their eating habits and followed up by analyzing participants’ blood samples found that, when 25 percent of caloric intake came from added sugar, HDL levels went down while triglycerides rose significantly. Researchers point fingers at soft drinks that account for 30 percent of added sugar in American diets.