A mixture of B vitamins, fish oils and plant sterols shows promise in boosting heart health by improving the lipid profile of young people with high levels of cholesterol, according to new research.
The pilot study, published in Nutrition Journal, investigated the effects of a combination of plant sterols, fish oil and B vitamins on the levels of four independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD): LDL-cholesterol, triacylglycerols, C-reactive protein and homocysteine.
Led by Professor Zdenka Duracková from Comenius University in Slovakia—in partnership with researchers from Obsidian Research LTD, UK—the team behind the study found that the emulsified combination of B vitamins, plant sterols, and fish oil improved the lipid profile of children and adolescents with high levels of cholesterol.
“The present study shows that the combination of plant sterol esters, fish oil and B vitamins impacts on LDL-cholesterol and homocysteine levels,” said the research team.
“To our knowledge, this is the first report of the use of the combination of these natural compounds for early dietary management of potential CVD risk.”
Duracková and her colleagues said the results if the study are ‘encouraging’ but added that they now need to be confirmed with a large randomized placebo controlled study.
The team recruited 25 participants, who were given the mixture once per day daily for a period of 16 weeks.
The emulsified preparation comprised of plant sterols esters (1,300 mg), fish oil (providing 1,000 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) plus docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)) and vitamins B12 (50 µg), B6 (2.5 mg), folic acid (800 µg) and coenzyme Q10 (3 mg).
The research team found serum total cholesterol, LDL- cholesterol, VLDL-cholesterol, subfractions LDL-2, IDL-1, IDL-2 and plasma homocysteine levels were all significantly reduced at the end of the intervention period.
Triacylglycerol levels were reported to decrease by 17.6 percent; however, this finding was not statistically significant, they said.
Duracková and her colleagues found no significant alterations in high sensitive C-reactive protein, HDL-cholesterol and apolipoprotein A-1.
“Daily intake of a combination of plant sterols, fish oil and B vitamins may modulate the lipid profile of hypercholesterolemic children and adolescents,” the authors concluded.