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Combination of Nutraceuticals May Help Reduce Heart Disease Biomarkers

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the United States. A recent study suggests that consuming a nutraceutical combination of fermented red rice, phytosterols, and olive polyphenols may reduce biomarkers of heart disease in people who are at low risk for developing cardiovascular disease.


Participants in the study included 80 people over the age of 18 who were at low cardiovascular risk but were deemed overweight due to their BMI being between 25.0 and 29.9 kg/m2. Over the course of at least 100 days, half of the group took a soft gel capsule containing 166 mg of red yeast rice, 720 mg of plant sterol esters, 250 mg of Curcuma longa L. rhizome extract with a total curcuminoid content of 18% and 25 mg of olive fruit extract with a total hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol content of 10%. The other half of the group took a placebo daily.


After being enrolled in the study, all of the participants had a one-month run-in period during which they followed a controlled calorie diet (a 600 calorie daily deficit). They were not treated with any vitamins or minerals during that time. They also completed an initial screening assessment that included a medical history, and a physical exam at the onset of the study and again after three months. Additionally, all of the participants underwent an oral fat load test at the beginning and end of the study.


At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted a reduction of total cholesterol, triglycderides, and LDL cholesterol in the supplement group, when compared to baseline and to placebo. They also noted an improvement in the parameters recorded during the oral fat load test, when compared to the oral fat load test performed at baseline.


Researchers from University of Pavia and Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo in Italy led the study. It was published online ahead of print on January 31, 2018, in the journal Phytomedicine.


Previous studies suggest that phytosterols may help with prostate health, hair growth, and may have antioxidant properties. They can be found in all plants but are present in higher concentrations in unrefined plant oils, nuts, whole grains, and legumes.


In addition to lowering cholesterol, fermented red rice has been found to help with lowering high blood pressure, reducing inflammation, lowering blood sugar, and aiding bone health. Fermented red rice is not generally part of the western diet, but it can also be taken in supplement form.


Olive polyphenols have been found to help fight against oxidative stress, heart disease, high blood pressure, and to help lower cholesterol. They can be found in extra virgin olive oil, which can be added to your diet as a salad dressing or used as a low-heat cooking oil.

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