28 décembre 2006

Popular supplement fails to lower cholesterol

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A dietary supplement said to lower cholesterol levels may not work as advertised, a new study shows.

The findings, which appear in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, add to evidence doubting the benefits of policosanol, a sugar-cane extract that has become one of the best-selling supplements in the U.S.

A number of studies have suggested that policosanol may be as effective as cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. However, those reports have come mainly from a single research group in Cuba, where policosanol has been popular for 15 years.

More recent studies in other countries have found the sugar cane extract to be no better at lowering cholesterol than an inactive 'placebo' pill.

In the new study, of 40 adults with mildly elevated cholesterol, North Carolina researchers found that policosanol again failed to outperform a placebo.

Over eight weeks, policosanol users showed no improvements in their levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol or "good" HDL cholesterol compared with placebo users, the study found.

The findings build on evidence from independent laboratories that conflicts with the earlier research from Cuba, according to the study authors, led by Dr. Michael F. Dulin of the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.

"We hope to bring this discrepancy to the attention of healthcare providers and consumers of health supplements as a caution to use healthy skepticism when choosing supplemental products for lipid-lowering purposes," the researchers write.

SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 2006.

Encore un remède de grand-maman qui ne tient pas ses promesses. Bien que l'efficacité de certaines plantes en phytothérapie soit avérée, il reste encore beaucoup de ménage à faire dans le domaine.

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