Metabolic syndrome is a disease characterized by the presence of several risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and heart attack, such as high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, low HDL levels (“good cholesterol”), insulin resistance or high blood sugar levels. It is also associated with a type of special obesity (central obesity) that is concentrated around the belly and upper body.
It is very important to adopt measures that can help treat metabolic syndrome, due to its increasing presence in Western societies (up to 25% of adults in USA).
A recent study suggests that stanols, plant compounds naturally present in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes and some vegetable oils, could improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels , both used alone and taken together with statins, drugs commonly used to lower cholesterol .
The study evaluated the effects of a liquid yogurt with 2 grams of stanols, taken both alone and with statins, on risk factors for heart disease. The participants were divided into 4 groups: the placebo group, a group that received 10mg daily of statins, a group that received liquid yogurt with stanols and another group that ingested liquid yogurt with stanols and 10mg of statins.
After 9 weeks it was observed that the consumption of liquid yogurt with stanols in isolation decreased “bad cholesterol” by 12.8% and triglyceride levels by 27, 5%. On the other hand, the group that only took statins presented a decrease is these same factors of 30.7% and 21.7% respectively. Joint consumption of statins and sterols was the most effective treatment, with a 35.4% decrease in “bad cholesterol” and 32.7% in triglycerides.
No side effects were observed in the study, so it is suggested that stannel supplements are safe for most of the population.
Reference: J Nutr 2009; 139: 1143-49