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News 568 views last update:Jun 24, 2008

Blueberries lower pig cholesterol levels

Canadian researchers have discovered that supplementing a pig's diet with blueberries may reduce cholesterol levels by over ten per cent.

Feeding the animals a two per cent blueberry diet led to reductions in total, LDL and HDL-cholesterol of 12, 15, and eight per cent, respectively, as reported in the British Journal of Nutrition.

LDL Levels
The significance for humans lies in the fact that pigs have levels of LDL similar to humans and are susceptible to diet-induced vascular disease, according to lead researcher, Wilhelmina Kalt, from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Pigs can also develop atherosclerotic plaques in the aorta and carotid artery, and have a similar blood pressure and heart rate as humans.

The two per cent blueberry diet is equivalent to approximately two cups of blueberries in the human diet, suggested the researchers, giving a dose that could be "...reasonably achieved in the adult human diet and suggests that the observed effect from blueberry supplementation could occur in healthy humans,"  wrote Kalt and co-workers.

Feeding trials
"In feeding trials, we found that blueberry supplementation reduced plasma cholesterol levels more effectively when the animals received a mostly plant-based diet than when they received a less heart-healthy diet," said Kalt. "The soy, oats and barley contained in these diets may have functioned synergistically with the blueberries to beneficially affect plasma lipids."

The findings have been published on the website nutraingredients.

Related Website
• Nutra Ingredients
• Agriculture and Agri-Food 
 
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