|Volume 6 Issue 133 Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 12-May-2004 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 13-May-2004||Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
© Vidyya., Inc.
All rights reserved.
Orange, tangerine peels could be better than drugs for lowering cholesterol
A compound found in the peels of citrus fruit has the potential to lower cholesterol more effectively than some prescription drugs, and without side effects, according to a study by U.S. and Canadian researchers.
A joint study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and KGK Synergize, a Canadian nutraceutical company, identified a class of compounds isolated from orange and tangerine peels that shows promise in animal studies as a potent, natural alternative for lowering LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), without the possible side effects, such as liver disease and muscle weakness, of conventional cholesterol-lowering drugs.
The findings will be described in the May 12 print issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed publication of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.
The compounds, called polymethoxylated flavones (PMFs), are similar to other plant pigments found in citrus fruits that have been increasingly linked to health benefits, including protection against cancer, heart disease and inflammation. The study is believed to be the first to show that PMFs can lower cholesterol, the researchers say.
PMFs are found in a variety of citrus fruits. The most common citrus PMFs, tangeretin and nobiletin, are found in the peels of tangerines and oranges. They are also found in smaller amounts in the juices of these fruits.
Using hamster models with diet-induced high cholesterol, the researchers showed that feeding them food containing 1 percent PMFs lowered levels of LDL cholesterol by 32 to 40 percent.
Previous animal studies by others have shown that similar flavonoids, particularly hesperidin from oranges and naringin from grapefruit, also may have the ability to lower cholesterol, although not as effectively as PMFs, according to Kurowska.
Treatment with PMFs did not appear to have any effect on levels of HDL cholesterol, or good cholesterol, the researcher says. No negative side effects were seen in the animals that were fed the compounds, she adds.
A long-term human study of the effect of PMFs on high LDL cholesterol is now in progress. While drinking citrus fruits is full of health benefits, taking PMF supplements could be an easier way to lower cholesterol, since a person would have to drink 20 or more cups a day of orange or tangerine juice to have a therapeutic effect, Kurowska estimates.
KGK Synergize already has developed a nutrition supplement containing PMFs combined with a form of vitamin E that seems to enhance the compound's effect, according to Kurowska. Marketed as a cholesterol-lowering agent under the trade name SytrinolTM, the supplement recently became available in the U.S.
USDA's Citrus and Subtropical Products Laboratory in Winter Haven, Fla., and KGK Synergize Inc. provided funding for this study.Influence of Assortment Structure on Perceived Variety and Consumption Quantities."