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Blueberry compound shows promise of lowering cholesterol as effectively as drug

cy for activating the cells' PPAR-alpha receptor, which in turn plays a role in reducing cholesterol and other lipids.

Pterostilbene was similar in activity to ciprofibrate, a commercial drug that lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides. But ciprofibrate, whose mechanism of action on cells is less specific, can have side effects such as muscle pain and nausea. Pterostilbene, which targets a specific receptor, is likely to have fewer side effects, Rimando says, adding that the compound did not show any signs of cell toxicity in preliminary studies.

Until studies are conducted in humans, no one knows how many blueberries a person needs to eat to have a positive effect at lowering cholesterol, Rimando cautions. Her study adds to a growing list of health benefits attributed to the little antioxidant-rich fruit, including protection against aging, heart disease and cancer, as well as acting as a memory booster.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization, chartered by the U.S. Congress, with a multidisciplinary membership of more than 159,000 chemists and chemical engineers. It publishes numerous scientific journals and databases, convenes major research conferences and provides educational, science policy and career programs in chemistry. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

Mark T. Sampson


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23-Aug-2004


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