Grapes May Cut Cholesterol and Blood Fats
Grape compound shows action similar to prescription drug, says USDA
Aug. 27, 2004 -- Looking to lower your cholesterol and blood fats? Help may
be as close as a bunch of grapes.
Grapes contain a compound called pterostilbene that may reduce cholesterol
and triglycerides -- a type of blood fat -- just as well as a prescription
That finding was reported this week at the 228th National Meeting of the
American Chemical Society by Agnes Rimando, PhD, of the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's National Products Utilization Research Center in Oxford,
Rimando measured how strongly pterostilbene affected an enzyme involved in
regulating blood fat levels. In tests on rat liver cells, the researchers found
that the grape compound's effect on the enzyme was equal to that of
ciprofibrate, a drug used outside the U.S. to lower triglycerides and
cholesterol. This drug is in the same class as drugs that are available in the
U.S., including Lopid and Tricor.
In addition, pterostilbene outperformed resveratrol, a similar grape
compound that's also shown promise in cutting cholesterol and blood fats.
Both grape compounds have also shown cancer-fighting properties in
Grapes don't have the market cornered on pterostilbene. Blueberries also
have it, giving them fat- and cholesterol-fighting properties, Rimando reported
earlier this week.
How many grapes do you have to eat to reap the benefits? No one knows
But you can bet that researchers will head back to the grapevine for further