Lowering Cholesterol to “Levels of a New-Born” May Cut Heart Attack Risk

ef28fa7d-6999-45c5-bc58-71d4e1727bc5articleimage.jpg

19 Dec 2016 --- Reducing our cholesterol levels to those of a new-born baby significantly lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to new research. The findings come after recent studies have questioned whether very low levels of cholesterol are beneficial.

The study, led by scientists at Imperial College London, saw researchers analyze data from over 5,000 people taking part in cholesterol-lowering trials. These studies utilized a new therapy to reduce cholesterol to much lower levels than previously possible.

The team wanted to assess whether reducing cholesterol as low as possible is safe, and whether it was more beneficial than the current levels achieved with existing drugs.

The scientists found that dropping cholesterol to the lowest level possible – to levels similar to those we were born with – reduced the risk of heart attack, stroke or fatal heart disease by around one third.

Professor Kausik Ray, lead author of the research from the School of Public Health at Imperial, said: “Experts have been uncertain whether very low cholesterol levels are harmful, or beneficial.”

“This study suggests not only are they safe, but they also reduced risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.”

The scientists examined levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This is considered to be ‘bad’ cholesterol, as it is responsible for clogging arteries. LDL carries cholesterol to cells, but when there is too much cholesterol for cells to use, LDL deposits the cholesterol in the artery walls.

Official advice suggests most people should aim to keep their LDL cholesterol at 100 mg/dL or below, though this number can vary depending on a person's risk of cardiovascular disease.

In the study, the team analyzed data from 10 trials, involving around 5,000 patients. Most had cardiovascular disease, and already had some furring of the arteries, or were at very high risk of furred arteries.

All of the patients had previously been diagnosed with high cholesterol, and many were slightly overweight. The average age was 60, and the researchers tracked the patients for between three months and two years. The average cholesterol reading was around 125 mg/dL, and they were all deemed at risk of heart problems or stroke.

Mostly patients were taking a cholesterol-lowering statin therapy, but just over half were also taking an additional novel drug, called alirocumab, every two weeks via a small injection, to further lower cholesterol levels. This drug may be needed when patients’ cholesterol levels are not sufficiently lowered by statins.

Some patients find their cholesterol levels aren't adequately reduced by statins, possibly because they carry a faulty gene.

The combined effect of the new drug and the statin in the trials meant that patients reached very low cholesterol – lower than 50mg/dL. This is comparable to the levels we are born with, but is only achievable in adulthood through medication – lifestyle and exercise alone would not drop levels so low.

The researchers found lowering levels of cholesterol reduced the risk of heart attack, stroke, angina or death from heart disease, and that for every 39mg/dL reduction in LDL, the risk reduced by 24 per cent.

Professor Ray added: “This study not only confirms that LDL can trigger heart problems, but also suggests reducing it in adults to very low levels - to those of a new-born baby - is both safe and beneficial.”

He explained the team now need to gather longer-term data, to see if the beneficial effects continue. He added we need to wait until these trials have been fully analyzed before we can fully assess the benefits of alirocumab.

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

Related Articles

Health & Nutrition News

Plant-based and dairy-free: Delivering on consumer taste and texture expectations

14 Aug 2018 --- The demand for dairy-free and plant-based products is growing. However, taste continues to reign supreme as consumers want dairy-free products but without budging on flavor or texture. Such demands have led to a range of R&D moves to overcome textural, stability and flavor challenges while aiming to keep ingredient lists as short as possible. NutritionInsight speaks to suppliers on how they are responding to the ever-expanding dairy-free trend, with a focus on plant-based protein and milk options. 

Health & Nutrition News

Baobab resurgence? Things are looking up for the “upside down” tree

14 Aug 2018 --- The baobab superfruit has been enjoying an NPD resurgence, boosted by renewed interest in the digestive health and low GI space, as well its strong potential for use in the sports nutrition market. The superfood – which is touted as offering low GI appeal, a high dietary fiber content and for being rich in vitamin C – has seen annual growth of 53 percent, according to Innova Market Insights data. Speaking to NutritionInsight, Henry Johnson, baobab specialist at EcoProducts, details the growing array of applications for the superfood, as well as the economic ripening of the environment for market growth for baobab.

Health & Nutrition News

UK women of childbearing age falling short on key micronutrient requirements, survey finds

13 Aug 2018 --- The micronutrient intake of women in their childbearing years, as well as young people in general, fall short in key micronutrients such as magnesium and selenium. UK researchers note that improvements in dietary quality are needed in young adulthood and mid-life. Alongside this, fortification and supplementation strategies may be considered to help adults achieve dietary targets at this life-stage when they should be at their “nutritional prime.”

Health & Nutrition News

GOS holds dietary fiber potential: FrieslandCampina eyes new applications

13 Aug 2018 --- FrieslandCampina is targeting the dietary fiber opportunity for its Galacto-Oligosaccharides (GOS). The move comes in response to the recent FDA green light on specific dietary fibers which presents new market opportunities and application areas. “There is a lot of interest in clean, green and label-friendly ingredients and fiber is one that they are looking for, but in good tasting applications. This really means a lot more flexibility for formulators to offer something that has both prebiotic and fiber benefits,” Sarah Staley of FrieslandCampina tells NutritionInsight on the topic of GOS as a trending prebiotic fiber.

Business News

Evolva net loss narrows, on track to deliver on set targets

10 Aug 2018 --- Swiss-headquartered biotechnology and fermentation ingredient supplier Evolva has reported that product sales doubled, reaching CHF1.8 million (US$1.8 million) in the first half of 2018. Total revenues reached CHF3.8 million in the first half of 2018, up 6% on last year, while their net loss narrowed to CHF14.7 million (first half 2017 loss CHF20.3 million).

More Articles
URL : http://www.nutritioninsight.com:80/news/lowering-cholesterol-to-levels-of-a-new-born-may-cut-heart-attack-risk.html