CHOLESTEROL WATCH

Published Online: Tuesday, August 1, 2006
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Marinating May Lower Cholesterol in Meats

A study published in the June 28, 2006, issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry shows that marinating meats may help reduce unhealthy cholesterol compounds that form during cooking. Researchers in Taiwan found that marinades made with soy sauce or sugar inhibited the formation of cholesterol oxidation products (COPs) in pork and eggs as they cooked.

For the study, the researchers soaked ground pork and hard-boiled eggs in marinades containing soy sauce, sugar, or both. The only other ingredient in each marinade was water. In general, the researchers found, all of the marinades cut COP formation during cooking, with sugar being particularly effective.

Marinating may create the benefit by generating so-called browning reaction products. These substances are thought to act as antioxidants, which means they help neutralize COPs and similar molecules that can damage body cells. It is also possible, the researchers added, that healthful nutrients in soy sauce, such as isoflavones, help quash COP formation.


Statins May Decrease Risk of Cataracts

A preliminary study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (June 21, 2006) showed that statins may reduce the risk of cataracts in adults taking the cholesterol-lowering medicine. The study showed that statin patients were 45% less likely to develop the eye ailment than those not taking the medicine.

The study involved 1299 patients who were enrolled in the Beaver Dam Eye Study and were followed for 5 years. The researchers found that 12.2% of those taking statins were diagnosed with cataracts, compared with 17.2% of those not taking statins. The researchers factored in the patients' ages and smoking habits, key risk factors for cataracts.


Lower Is Better for Diabetics' Cholesterol

Lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels substantially below currently recommended levels significantly reduces the risks of stroke or heart attack in individuals with diabetes and heart disease.

A previous study showed that intensive cholesterol lowering using 80 mg of a statin drug daily, rather than 10 mg, increased clinical benefits for patients with stable coronary disease. Researchers looked at a group of 1500 patients who had diabetes to see if they would also benefit from a higher dose of statins. The subjects already had LDL cholesterol levels below 130 mg/dL before starting the trial. The recent target LDL for such patients has been set at <100 mg/dL, the researchers said.

They found that, after almost 5 years, the average LDL cholesterol level was 99 mg/dL in the low-dose group and 77 mg/dL in the highdose group. The findings were published in the June 2006 issue of Diabetes Care.


Statin Patients Get Added LDL-lowering Benefit with Sterols

Patients with high cholesterol who cannot seem to reach their target levels on statins alone may find additional help in the form of stanol/lecithin tablets. The study was done to show that plant sterol tablets could provide additional low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-lowering benefits for patients already taking statins. The results of the study were published in the February 2006 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

The researchers tested dispersible phytosterol tablets in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel clinical trial involving 26 patients who were following the American Heart Association Heart Healthy Diet and also on long-term statin therapy. The patients were studied for 9 weeks: 3 weeks on placebo and 6 weeks on either 1.8 g of soy stanols or additional placebo.

The researchers noted that the patients taking the stanols experienced reduced LDL levels of an average of 9.1%, or 12.2 mg/dL. They concluded that this finding "provided a potential adjunctive therapy for patients who have not reached their target LDL cholesterol goal during statin therapy."


Link Found Between Cholesterol and Prostate Cancer

Researchers from Italy have found what they believe to be the first direct link between high cholesterol levels and prostate cancer. A possible association has been suggested before, but evidence has been limited. This new study shows a statistically significant direct relationship between the 2 conditions.

The researchers worked on data from a case-control study carried out in 4 Italian areas between 1991 and 2002. The study involved 1294 men under age 75 with prostate cancer and 1451 matched controls admitted to the same hospitals with acute noncancerous conditions. All cases and controls were interviewed in the hospital using wide-ranging structured questionnaires. These included a problem-oriented section on patients' medical history covering about 10 noncancerous conditions, including high cholesterol.

The researchers found that, after allowing for any potential confounding factors, men with prostate cancer were ~50% more likely to have had high cholesterol levels, compared with non-prostate cancer controls. The association was somewhat stronger for men whose high cholesterol levels had been diagnosed before they were 50 and for men over 65, where there was an 80% greater likelihood of high cholesterol levels.




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