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J Nutr. 1999 Jun;129(6):1214-22.

Fecal steroid excretion is increased in rats by oral administration of gymnemic acids contained in Gymnema sylvestre leaves.

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Division of Food Chemistry, National Institute of Health Sciences, Osaka Branch, 1-1-43, Hoenzaka, Chuo-ku, Osaka, 540-0006, Japan.


Gymnemic acids are the saponins with a triterpenoid structure contained in Gymnema sylvestre leaves and have the hypoglycemic effects. In spite of the cholesterol-binding properties of saponins, the effect of gymnemic acids on cholesterol metabolism has not been elucidated to date. We investigated the effects of gymnemic acids on fecal steroid excretion in rats. Three kinds of extracts from Gymnema sylvestre leaves, extract (GSE), acid precipitate (GSA) and column fractionate (GSF), of which the gymnemagenin (an aglycone of gymnemic acids) concentrations are 58.87, 161.6, and 363.3 mg/g respectively, were used for the experiments. These were administered to rats orally at the dose of 0.05-1.0 g/kg for 22 d. Rats were given free access to water and nonpurified diet without cholesterol, and the differences in fecal excretion of steroids and gymnemic acids were investigated. Although there were no significant effects of GSE, GSA and GSF decreased body weight gain and food intakes in a dose-dependent manner (P < 0.01). GSF (1.0 g/kg) significantly increased fecal excretion of neutral steroids and bile acids in a dose-dependent manner (P < 0.05), especially those of cholesterol and cholic acid (CA)-derived bile acids. The increases in fecal steroid excretion of cholesterol, total neutral steroids, total bile acids and CA-related bile acids were acute and significantly correlated with fecal gymnemagenin levels (r2 = 0.2316-0.9861, P < 0. 05). These results demonstrated for the first time that a high dose of gymnemic acids increases fecal cholesterol and CA-derived bile acid excretion. Further studies are needed to clarify the effect of gymnemic acids on cholesterol metabolism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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