Nutraceutical combo shows promise in lowering lipid level

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A new study showed that a nutraceutical containing berberine, red yeast rice and policosanol was able to lower total and LDL cholesterol and improved endothelial-dependent flow-mediated coronary dilation.

Berberine (黃連素) has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine to lower lipids and treat diabetes, but has not been studied in hypercholesterolemia.

In the new study, Italian researchers randomized 50 hypercholesterolemic patients to either the nutriceutical pills or placebo for a six-week period.

After 6 weeks of treatment, patients in the nutraceutical group, but not in the placebo group experienced a significant reduction in total and LDL reduction.  The lipid-lowering effects of the nutraceutical combination were similar to those achieved by standard statin therapy.

Furthermore, 3% of the patients in the nutraceutical group experienced an improvement in flow-mediated dilation.

In a secondary analysis, researchers found that patients, who have insulin resistance at baseline, have significantly improvement in insulin sensitivity.  No adverse effects were seen in both groups over the course of the study.

Change from baseline at 6 weeks

Measurement Nutraceutical Placebo P
Total cholesterol (mmol/L) -1.14 -0.03 <0.001
LDL-C (mmol/L) -1.06 -0.04 <0.001
Flow-mediated dilation (%) 3 0 <0.05

Source: oral poster at EuroPREVENT 2010

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