|Blueberry ingredient to cut the cholesterol, new findings
compound identified in blueberries could be the next key health
ingredient in food formulations as researchers find it can
effectively lower cholesterol.
compound pterostilbene has the potential to be developed into a
nutraceutical for lowering cholesterol, particularly for those who do
not respond well to conventional drugs used for this purpose, say the
their findings this week at the annual www.chemistry.org/portal/a/c/s/1/home" target="_blank">American
meeting, the study authors from the US government-backed Agricultural
Research Service (ARS) say the blueberry compound could be a potent
weapon in the battle against obesity and heart disease through its
levels of LDL cholesterol, also known as 'bad' cholesterol, are known
to contribute to atherosclerosis, the narrowing and hardening of the
arteries, a condition that is related to increased chances of heart
is similar to resveratrol, another antioxidant identified in grapes
and red wine that is also believed to lower cholesterol. Other
researchers have found pterostilbene in grapes, but this is the first
time it has been found in blueberries, commented lead researcher
Agnes M. Rimando. She and her associates earlier showed that this
compound may help fight cancer.
disease made up 16.7 million, or a considerable 29.2 per cent, of
total global deaths according to the World Health Report 2003 from
the UN-backed World Health Organisation (WHO).
governments are looking to change in dietary habits as a way to ease
the escalation of CVD because high blood pressure, high blood
cholesterol, overweight and obesity - and the chronic disease of type
2 diabetes - are among the major biological risk factors.
range of cholesterol-lowering food products is already on the market,
developed by pharma and food ingredients firms to target the growing
demand from consumers.
month Canadian company Forbes Medi-Tech received a positive opinion
from European authorities for the approval of its wood-derived
cholesterol-lowering ingredient Reducol, joining a list of new
EU-approved plant sterol ingredients and applications from US-based
Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), food giant Unilever (with its Flora
ProActiv range), and the smaller Finnish firms Teriaka and
market for heart health foods is forecast for rapid growth and seems
to have room for new ingredients, especially given the slow process
for approval of phytosterols until recently.
Frost & Sullivan report on plant sterols forecasts growth between
now and 2010 at 15 per cent annually, partly boosted by faster
regulatory approval. (New applications can be cleared faster based on
their similarity to previous approvals).
are excited to learn that blueberries, which are already known to be
rich in healthy compounds, may also be a potent weapon in the battle
against obesity and heart disease," said blueberry study
leader Rimando at ARS.
the recent ARS study, rat liver cells were exposed to four compounds
found in blueberries. Of the four compounds, pterostilbene showed the
highest potency for activating the cells' PPAR-alpha receptor, which
in turn plays a role in reducing cholesterol and other lipids.
was similar in activity to ciprofibrate, a commercial drug that
lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides. But ciprofibrate,
whose mechanism of action on cells is less specific, can have side
effects such as muscle pain and nausea. Pterostilbene, which targets
a specific receptor, is likely to have fewer side effects,"
compound did not show any signs of cell toxicity in preliminary
human trials need to be conducted to establish how many blueberries a
person needs to eat to have a positive effect at lowering