Artichoke Extract Lowers Cholesterol

Photo: Artichokes

The artichoke could help to lower
cholesterol levels and avoid the
need of medication; © SXC

Once plasma cholesterol reaches a certain level, drugs are often prescribed to help reduce it. Intervention before concentrations reaches these levels may help reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases without the need for drugs. A new piece of research has shown that otherwise healthy people with moderately raised plasma cholesterol may be able to lower their levels by taking a herbal supplement.

During the trial, 75 volunteers were given 1280 milligram of an ALE, or matched placebo, each day for twelve weeks. ALE consumption resulted in a modest but favourable reduction in total plasma cholesterol after the intervention period.

For over ten years, the relationship between dietary intakes of antioxidant nutrients and a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases has been recognised and investigated. Antioxidant nutrients include ‘non-essential’ phytochemicals (for example flavonoids) as well as ‘essential’ nutrients (for example vitamins C, E). Several plant-rich sources of flavonoids, such as fruits and vegetables, tea, red wine, cocoa and olive oil, have been associated with lower risk of cardiovascular diseases, although the exact mechanisms for their protective effects is still not clear. Research has shown that ALEs are rich in various flavonoids.

Doctor Rafe Bundy from University of Reading said: “Reducing cholesterol levels can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Our research investigated whether ALE could be beneficial to otherwise healthy people who had raised levels of cholesterol but were not yet at a stage where they needed standard medical intervention. ALE may provide another option which people could try over and above a healthy diet in order to help lower plasma cholesterol.”; Source: University of Reading