Artichoke, bergamot, and lipids
In an earlier study, participants with mildly elevated cholesterol levels had not responded to bergamot alone. Here, doctors added artichoke leaf extract, hoping to unlock the benefits of bergamot.
In this study, 60 men and women, aged 18 to 65, with mildly elevated cholesterol, from 220 to 280 mg per deciliter of blood (mg/dL), took a placebo or 600 mg of bergamot plus 100 mg of artichoke leaf extract, twice per day.
After two months, those taking the combination saw total cholesterol decline to 224 from 237 mg/dL; LDL cholesterol fall to 139 from 156; and HDL—the “good” cholesterol—increase to 63.9 from 59.5 mg/dL, while the placebo group had not changed. The artichoke group also saw smaller waist size and less abdominal fat tissue, even though participants had not followed a low-calorie diet.
Reference: Nutrients; 2021, Vol. 14, No. 1, 108
Vitamin D’s genetic role
In the first study of its kind, doctors identified genetic evidence of a role for vitamin D deficiency in developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). In this study, doctors evaluated data from 267,980 people, revealing robust statistical evidence of the link between heart disease and vitamin D deficiency.
Overall, those deficient in D are more likely to have heart and circulatory conditions, and higher blood pressure, than those with normal levels of vitamin D. Doctors said it is not ethical to recruit people deficient in vitamin D in a controlled trial and leave them without treatment. Having such a large study population enabled the genetic finding, and suggests raising vitamin D levels can reduce CVD.
Reference: European Heart Journal; 2021, ehab809, Published Online