Indicator Of Heart Disease Risk Lowered By Orange Juice Beverage Fortified With Plant Sterols
The best way to fight heart disease is through changes in diet and life style. However, the reality is that people have trouble making those changes. Drinking a plant sterol-fortified orange juice beverage is a relatively simple thing to do and it may have important preventative effects.
Devaraj and Ishwarlal Jialal, UC Davis professor of medicine and pathology, first showed the cholesterol-reducing effects of adding plant sterols to a nonfat beverage in 2004. The current findings support the idea of using plant sterols to improve health. Plant cholesterols known as sterols, recognized for their cholesterol-lowering power when added to margarines, salad dressings and other fats, also have been found to be effective in reducing low-density lipoprotein, or “bad cholesterol” levels, when added to orange juice.
Now, UC Davis researchers have found that twice-daily servings of a reduced-calorie orange juice beverage fortified with plant sterols also reduce levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation and an accepted risk marker for heart disease. To help individuals reduce their risk of heart disease, both American Heart Association and the National Cholesterol Education Program recommend a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in soluble fiber and plant sterols. Sterols are present in small quantities in a variety of food, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, cereals and legumes. Chemically similar to cholesterol, sterols are thought to lower LDL levels in the body by limiting absorption of cholesterol in the intestine.
In the current study, 72 healthy male volunteers ate their normal diet, but added a cup of the juice beverage to their breakfast and dinner. Half of the group drank a reduced-calorie, sterol-fortified orange juice beverage, while the other half drank a juice beverage without sterols. Both beverages were provided by The Coca- Cola Company’s Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness. Then’ blood samples from fasting participants were taken before and after the trial to determine cholesterol levels. Researchers found that volunteers who drank the sterol-fortified orange juice beverage had an average nine percent decrease in LDL cholesterol, and an average twelve percent decrease in C-reactive protein levels. Researchers found no significant changes in LDL or C-reactive protein levels in who drank the non-sterol fortified orange juice beverage.
Despite great strides in prevention and treatment, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death throughout the Western world. Nearly half of all cardiovascular disease events occur in people without elevated blood cholesterol or lipid levels. Therefore, the potential role of inflammation in the development of cardiovascular disease has come under intense study in recent years. Researchers now recommend that C-reactive protein levels be used to further evaluate cardiovascular disease risk and developing metabolic syndrome and even diabetes.
After this studies, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has concluded that food or drink containing at least 0.4 g /serving of plant sterols consumed daily, as part of diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.