Diet rich in lipoic acid cuts heart disease risk

March 31st, 2009 - 6:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 31 (IANS) Supplementing diets with lipoic acid, an antioxidant found in foods like red meat and green leafy vegetables, significantly lowers triglycerides, which along with cholesterol levels and blood pressure, are a key risk factor in cardiovascular disease, according to studies conducted on lab mice.
Supplements of lipoic acid lowered triglyceride levels up to 60 percent. If the effect were the same in humans, which is not yet clear, it would be a greater impact than found with other dietary supplements, and similar to the effects of some prescription drugs.

Lipoic has evoked considerable interest because of its seeming ability to reduce decay in cells and perhaps slow ageing. It has been used in Europe for decades as a treatment for diabetic complications.

“The extent of triglyceride reduction was really dramatic, we didn’t expect it to be this profound,” said Regis Moreau, assistant professor with the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University (OSU).

“The potential is good that this could become another way to lower blood triglycerides and help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries). It’s pretty exciting.

“Lipoic acid is known to influence glucose uptake, and bring down blood glucose by increasing its transport into skeletal muscle,” Moreau said.

“Less has been done to study its potential value in reducing triglycerides,” he added.

Until about 10 years ago, Moreau said, high blood levels of triglycerides - basically a form of fat - were not thought to be as significant as cholesterol at predicting atherosclerosis and heart disease.

That perspective has changed, he added, and most experts now see triglycerides as a third important risk factor for atherosclerosis, along with levels of “good” HDL and “bad” LDL cholesterol, said an Oregon university release.

The results were published in the Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics.

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