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Phytosterol-enriched milk lowers LDL-cholesterol levels in Brazilian children and adolescents




Despite evidence of the lipid-lowering effect of plant sterols among adults with hypercholesterolemia, data regarding phytosterol use in children are limited. In this paper, we examined the effects of daily consumption of a phytosterol-enriched milk compound on the lipid profiles of Brazilian children and adolescents with dyslipidemia.


This was a randomized, double blind, crossover clinical trial. Twenty eight dyslipidemics outpatients (aged 6-9 years) from an University Hospital were randomly allocated to control or intervention group. The intervention group received milk enriched with 1.2 g/day of plant sterol and the control group received the equivalent amount of skim milk during the period of 8 weeks. Changes from baseline in the mean lipid profile, including total cholesterol (TC), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and triglyceride (TG) concentrations. Serum lipid profiles, glucose levels, dietary and anthropometric data were determined at weeks 0, 4, 8, 16, and 20.

Details regarding the safety and tolerance of phytosterol were obtained, using an open-ended questionnaire. Intention-to-treat analysis were performed, using the proc mixed procedure in SAS. After 8 weeks, the mean concentrations of TC and LDL-C were significantly reduced in the intervention group as compared to the control group with reductions of 5.9% (p = 0.09) and 10.2% (p = 0.002), respectively. In addition, TG concentrations were reduced by 19.7% (p = 0.09). No serious side effects were reported during the study.


Our results confirm that plant sterols are an effective and safe treatment of infantile dyslipidemia.

Here is a link to the original study.

Statins Help Lower Cholesterol

Updated cholesterol guidelines released yesterday by the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology aim to prevent more heart attacks and strokes than ever. How? By increasing  the number of Americans who take a cholesterol-lowering statin.

The previous guidelines, published in 2002, focused mainly on “the numbers”—starting cholesterol levels and post-treatment levels. The new guidelines focus instead on an individual’s risk of having a heart attack or stroke. The higher the risk, the greater the potential benefit from a statin.

Statins are a family of medications that lower cholesterol. Even more important, they lower the chances of having a heart attack or stroke. Statins include atorvastatin (generic, Lipitor), fluvastatin (generic, Lescol), lovastatin (generic, Mevacor), pitavastatin (Livalo), pravastatin (generic, Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor), and simvastatin (generic, Zocor). The new guidelines recommend a statin for:

  • anyone who has cardiovascular disease, including angina (chest pain with exercise or stress), a previous heart attack or stroke, or other related conditions
  • anyone with a very high level of harmful LDL cholesterol (generally an LDL above greater than 190 milligrams per deciliter of blood [mg/dL])
  • anyone with diabetes between the ages of 40 and 75 years
  • anyone with a greater than 7.5% chance of having a heart attack or stroke or developing other form of cardiovascular disease in the next 10 years.

How is this different from the previous guidelines? They recommended specific cholesterol targets for treatment. For example, people with heart disease were urged to get their LDL cholesterol down to 70 mg/dL. The new guidelines essentially remove the targets and recommend basing treatment decisions on a person’s heart risk profile.

In other words, anyone at high enough risk who stands to benefit from a statin should be taking one. It doesn’t matter so much what his or her actual cholesterol level is to begin with. And there’s no proof that an LDL cholesterol of 70 mg/dL is better than 80 or 90 mg/dL. What’s important is taking the right dose based on heart attack and stroke risk.

There are a few reasons for these new “risk-focused” guidelines:

  • Statins are the best drugs to lower LDL cholesterol.
  • Statins also have benefits above and beyond cholesterol lowering. We have long known that statins lower the risk of premature death, heart attack, and stroke, even among individuals with relatively normal cholesterol levels—who are not exempt from having heart attacks or stroke.
  •  A statin dose tailored to the individual appears to be more important than reaching a particular target number.

<<Click here for the original article.>>

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Roughing It: The Importance of Fiber Everyday

You hear it… You read it… Your doctor tells you eat more fiber, take more fiber, supplement with fiber. But do you really know why fiber is so important? Fiber reduces the risk of developing various conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, diverticular disease and constipation.

High intake of dietary fiber has been linked to lowering the risk of heart disease. In a Harvard study of over 40,000 male health professionals, researchers found that a high total dietary fiber intake was linked to a 40% lower risk of coronary heart disease, compared to a low fiber intake. Studies also indicate that a diet high in cereal fiber was linked to a lower rise of type 2 diabetes.

In North America, diverticulitis, an inflammation of the intestines (very painful), occurs in one-third of all those over the age of 45 and in two-thirds of those over age 85. Among male health professionals in a long-term follow up study, eating dietary fiber, particularly insoluble fiber, was associated with about 40% lower risk of diverticular disease.

Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal complaint in the U.S. The gastrointestinal tract is highly sensitive to dietary fiber, and consumption of fiber seems to relieve and reduce constipation.

The benefits of fiber are numerous, but getting enough is difficult. Be sure you’re getting yours through your diet and supplementation every day.

ActiveBlendz Fiber+


A great source of fiber can be found in Javita’s ActiveBlendz Fiber+.
ActiveBlendz Fiber+ is infused with AB Phyto Blend.
ActiveBlendz Fiber+ aids in weight loss, provide superior cardiovascular support and more.






Soluble Fiber Insoluble Fiber
Oatmeal/ Oatbran Whole grain
Nuts & seeds Whole grain cereal
Legumes Wheat bran
Apples Seeds
Pears Carrots / celery
Strawberries Cucumbers / Zucchini
Blueberries Tomatoes

The Power Behind Fiber+’s Plant Sterols

You may have heard of them. You have no doubt eaten them. And if you want to lower your high cholesterol and protect your heart, you definitely need more of them. We’re talking about plant sterols. And it’s not just your vegetarians and health professionals that are singing the praises of plant sterols. Even the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes the overwhelming evidence of health benefits, allowing products that include .65 g per serving of plant sterols to feature the following health claim: “Foods containing at least 0.65 g per serving of plant sterol esters, eaten twice a day with meals for a daily total intake of at least 1.3 g, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

Check out some of the recent studies on plant sterols and their numerous health benefits:


LDL cholesterol: Numerous clinical trials have found that daily consumption of foods enriched with free or esterified forms of plant sterols or stanols lowers concentrations of serum total and LDL cholesterol (1032-35). A meta-analysis that combined the results of 18 controlled clinical trials found that the consumption of spreads providing an average of 2 g/day of plant sterols or stanols lowered serum LDL cholesterol concentrations by 9-14% (36). More recently, a meta-analysis that combined the results of 23 controlled clinical tri
als found that the consumption of plant foods providing an average of 3.4 g/day of plant sterols or stanols decreased LDL cholesterol concentrations by about 11% (37). Another meta-analysis examined the results of 23 clinical trials of plant sterol-enriched foods and 27 clinical trials of plant stanol-enriched foods, separately (11). At doses of at least 2 g/day, both plant sterols and stanols decreased LDL cholesterol concentrations by about 10%. Doses higher than 2 g/day did not substantially improve the cholesterol-lowering effects of plant sterols or stanols. Most recently, a meta-analysis that analyzed the results of 59 randomized controlled trials found that reductions in LDL cholesterol are greater in those with higher baseline levels of LDL cholesterol (38). The results of studies providing lower doses of plant sterols or stanols suggest that 0.8-1.0 g/day is the lowest dose that results in clinically significant LDL cholesterol reductions of at least 5% (39-43). In general, trials that have compared the cholesterol-lowering efficacy of plant sterols with that of stanols have found them to be equivalent (44-46). Few of these studies lasted longer than four weeks, but at least two studies have found that the cholesterol-lowering effects of plant sterols and stanols last for up to one year (2647). In addition to data from controlled clinical trials, a 5-year study that examined the customary use of phytosterol/-stanol enriched margarines under free-living conditions found beneficial effects on cholesterol levels (48). Recently, concerns have been raised that plant sterols are not as effective as stanols in maintaining long-term LDL-cholesterol reductions (49-51). Long-term trials that directly compare the efficacy of plant sterols and plant stanols are needed to address these concerns (11).


Coronary heart disease risk: The effect of long-term use of foods enriched with plant sterols or stanols on coronary heart disease (CHD) risk is not known. The results of numerous intervention trials suggest that a 10% reduction in LDL cholesterol induced by medication or diet modification could decrease the risk of CHD by as much as 20% (52). The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Adult Treatment Panel III has included the use of plant sterol or stanol esters (2 g/day) as a component of maximal dietary therapy for elevated LDL cholesterol (53). The addition of plant sterol- or stanol-enriched foods to a heart healthy diet that is low in saturated fat and rich in fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and fiber offers the potential for additive effects in CHD risk reduction. For example, following a diet that substituted monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats for saturated fat resulted in a 9% reduction in serum LDL cholesterol after 30 days, but the addition of 1.7 g/day of plant sterols to the same diet resulted in a 24% reduction (54). More recently, one-month adherence to a diet providing a portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods, including plant sterols (1 g/1,000 kcal), soy protein, almonds, and viscous fibers lowered serum LDL cholesterol concentrations by an average of 30%—a decrease that was not significantly different from that induced by statin (drugs that inhibit the enzyme, HMG-CoA reductase) therapy (55). However, analysis of individuals on such a cholesterol-lowering diet for one year found that the average LDL cholesterol reduction was only 13%, but almost a third of the participants experienced LDL cholesterol reductions >20% (56). Plant sterols are the major component in this diet responsible for the observed reductions in cholesterol concentrations (57). The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the use of health claims on food labels indicating that regular consumption of foods enriched with plant sterol or stanol esters may reduce the risk of heart disease (58).


Cancer: Limited data from animal studies suggest that very high intakes of phytosterols, particularly sitosterol, may inhibit the growth of breast and prostate cancer (65-67). Only a few epidemiological studies have examined associations between dietary phytosterol intakes and cancer risk in humans because databases providing information on the phytosterol content of commonly consumed foods have only recently been developed. A series of case-control studies in Uruguay found that dietary phytosterol intakes were lower in people diagnosed with stomach, lung, or breast cancer than in cancer-free control groups(68-70). Case-control studies in the US found that women diagnosed with breast or endometrial (uterine) cancer had lower dietary phytosterol intakes than women who did not have cancer (71, 72). In contrast, another case-control study in the US found that men diagnosed with prostate cancer had higher dietary campesterol intakes than men who did not have cancer, but total phytosterol consumption was not associated with prostate cancer risk (73). Although some epidemiological studies have found that higher intakes of plant foods containing phytosterols are associated with decreased cancer risk, it is not clear whether the protective factors are phytosterols or other compounds in plant foods.

Click here to read the document in its entirety by Oregon State University.

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