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Br J Nutr. 2009 Sep;102(5):722-32. doi: 10.1017/S0007114509297170. Epub 2009 Mar 19.

Independent and interactive effects of plant sterols and fish oil n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids on the plasma lipid profile of mildly hyperlipidaemic Indian adults.

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  • 1Centre for Chronic Disease Control (CCDC), New Delhi, India.


The present study was designed to evaluate the independent and interactive effects of a once-a-day yoghurt drink providing 2 g plant sterols/d and capsules providing 2 g fish oil n-3 long-chain (LC) PUFA/d on plasma lipids, apolipoproteins and LDL particle size. Following a 2-week run-in period, 200 mildly hypercholesterolaemic Indian adults aged 35-55 years were randomised into one of four groups of a 2 x 2 factorial, double-blind controlled trial. The 4-week treatments consisted of (1) control yoghurt drink and control capsules, (2) control yoghurt drink and fish oil capsules, (3) plant sterol-enriched yoghurt drink and control capsules, or (4) plant sterol-enriched yoghurt drink and fish oil capsules. Blood was drawn before and after the 4-week intervention. Changes in health status, lifestyle and dietary habits, and daily compliance were recorded. The main effects of plant sterols were a 4.5 % reduction in LDL-cholesterol and a 15 % reduction in TAG without a significant change in HDL-cholesterol. Overall, fish oil n-3 LC-PUFA did not significantly affect cholesterol concentrations but reduced TAG by 15 % and increased HDL-cholesterol by 5.4 %. The combination significantly lowered TAG by 15 % v. control. No significant interaction between plant sterols and n-3 LC-PUFA was observed on plasma cholesterol concentrations. In conclusion, once-a-day intake of 2 g plant sterols/d in a yoghurt drink, 2 g fish oil n-3 LC-PUFA/d in capsules, and their combination had beneficial effects on the lipid profile of mildly hypercholesterolaemic Indian adults. The potent hypotriacylglycerolaemic effect of plant sterols observed in the present study and this population warrants additional investigation.

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