In May 2018, the journal Nutrition and Diabetes reported on a study showing plant sterols, molecules that lower cholesterol, lowered LDL or "bad" cholesterol and blood fats in individuals with or at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Scientists at Unilever R and D in the Netherlands and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Adelaide, Australia, carried out the work.
A total of 138 individuals, 44 with Type 2 diabetes and 94 at risk of developing the disease, were given low-fat spreads either with or without plant sterols, at a dose of 2 mg a day for six weeks. The participants consuming the plant sterols showed significantly lowered total cholesterol levels, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides by the end of the study. HDL levels or "good" cholesterol was not affected; the level did not increase.
Cholesterol and triglyceride levels are matters of concern to those diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes because heart and blood vessel disease is a complication of the condition. Preventing high levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides is helpful in preventing the arteries from becoming clogged...
- Total cholesterol. A measurement below 200 mg/dl is the desirable level that puts you at a lower risk for coronary artery disease.
- HDL cholesterol is known as "good" cholesterol. This type of cholesterol works to remove unhealthy deposits in the artery walls. Levels higher than 40 mg/dl are considered good.
- LDL cholesterol is reported as being "bad" cholesterol. When oxidized this type of fat adheres to the blood vessel wall setting up an inflammatory cascade leading to deposits of atherosclerotic plaque. It is suggested it is ideal to maintain a level of 100 mg/dl or lower.
- Triglycerides are another type of fat in the blood. A good level is 150 mg/dl or lower. Testing is usually carried out after fasting for between 8 and 12 hours.
The following foods are good sources of sterols...
- wheat germ,
- wheat bran,
- legumes such as peanuts,
- corn oil,
- canola oil,
- olive oil,
- sesame seed oil,
- Brussels sprouts, and
various other fruits and vegetables are also sources. Commercial supplements are also available.
Medications in the statins family are also used for lowering cholesterol and triglycerides. They can cause stomach upset and liver problems not seen in individuals eating plant sterols.
The following are statins...
- Lipitor (atorvastatin),
- Zocor (simvastatin),
- Lescol (fluvastatin),
- Crestor (rosuvastatin),
- Pravachol (pravastatin), and
- Mevacor (lovastatin.)
The statins are given to prevent...
- heart attacks,
- high blood pressure, and
Anyone with health issues should consult their doctor with any questions they have concerning their medications and before starting supplements.