Thursday, June 04, 2009


This week saw the announcement of two new nutriceuticals, that will reduce oxidised LDL or at least LDL-Cholesterol. Nutriceuticals are natural food products which have pharmaceutical value.
The Cambridge workers at Addenbroke's Hospital announced this week that they have produced a pill called Ateronon, from the skin of tomatoes, which they claim will lower oxidised LDL. Tomoato skin contains lycopenes, which are supposed to have reduced the level of oxidised LDL in the atheromatous plauques. The Cambridge scientist studied 150 patients with CAD who were given this new pill for 8 weeks and were found to have lower levels of oxidised LDL. We are given few other details in this BBC report. Obviously we need more data and perhaps some clinical trial with larger numbers. Surfice to say that there is no harm eating more tomatoes, especially if they are big and juicy. But please wash them well.
The medical news this week also carried a report by in Clinical Lipidology, which carried an article on the role of Functional Foods in the primary prevention of CAD : Cranberry extracts and cholesterol lowering. The authors review previous data on cranberry extracts and their ability to lower LDL-C by 12%, almost the levels of some of the weaker statins. There was however no effects on oxidised LDL and also hs-CRP. Cranberry contains some phytosterols and presumably it is this phytosterols that is the reason for this beneficial LDL-Cholesterol effects. Again, we need more data.
It appears that the data on most nutriceuticals is rather confusing and without the benefit of large randomised control trials, we will never be sure. Then again, the OTC sales of these "proven " nutriceuticals are a multi-million dollar industry and yet, we have so little data to recommend their use medically, with few exceptions like fish oils and red wine. Maybe the Italian or Spanish diet with red wine, cranberry sauce and lots of tomatoes, help to protect the Europeans.
As for the Chinese, we look forward to data from garlic and gingko extracts.

No comments: