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Food Funct. 2013 Sep;4(9):1304-13. doi: 10.1039/c3fo60207a.

Dietary approaches to improving atheroprotective HDL functions.

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  • 1Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, 3624 Horsebarn Road Ext., Unit 4017, Storrs, CT 06269-4017, USA.


High-density lipoproteins (HDL) are known to protect against cardiovascular disease (CVD). In addition to facilitating reverse cholesterol transport to remove excess lipids from the body - including atherosclerotic plaques - HDL exhibits antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, vasodilatory, and antithrombotic activities. Together, these properties contribute to the overall atheroprotective nature of HDL. However, similar to many other physiological pathways, these HDL parameters are known to become dysregulated in conditions of metabolic disease. Further, research suggests these alternative HDL properties may be regulated independently of blood HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) levels, and must therefore be considered when designing HDL-targeted therapies. To date, a number of dietary strategies have been investigated to assess the effect of dietary components on functional properties of HDL beyond HDL-C. This review will highlight the bioactive nutrients, functional foods, and dietary programs known to modulate HDL function as a means of reducing CVD.

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