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Berries and grapes lower cholesterol

An antioxidant found in blueberries and grapes appears to lower cholesterol as effectively as a commercial drug.

Berries and grapes lower cholesterol

An antioxidant found in blueberries and grapes appears to lower cholesterol as effectively as a commercial drug, according to recent research.The investigators found that the blueberry compound, called pterostilbene, activates a cellular structure that helps lower cholesterol - the same mode of action as the cholesterol-lowering drug ciprofibrate. Researchers from the Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service in Mississippi, USA, are currently investigating how much pterostilbene people would have to eat - either in the form of blueberries or a supplement - in order to get its anti-cholesterol benefits. During the study, the researchers exposed rat cells to four blueberry compounds, and noted which compounds appeared to activate the PPAR-alpha receptor. The researchers found that the winner was pterostilbene, which activated the receptor as much as ciprofibrate. Pterostilbene also appeared more effective than resveratrol, another antioxidant found in grapes and red wine, which studies have suggested may also lower cholesterol.
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The blueberry compound may also do more than just lower cholesterol, for it appears to mimic the action of ciprofibrate, which also lowers triglycerides, according to the researchers. Moreover, previous research has suggested that pterostilbene may protect against diabetes and help fight cancer.
Meeting of the American Chemical Society ,
August 2004


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