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Am J Cardiovasc Drugs. 2014 Aug;14(4):253-74. doi: 10.1007/s40256-014-0068-1.

The effect of nutritional supplements on serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein A-I.

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Department of Medicine, University of Florida College of Medicine, 653-1 West 8th Street, 4th Floor, LRC, Jacksonville, FL, 32209, USA,


One of the factors contributing to the increased risk of developing premature atherosclerosis is low plasma concentrations of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Multiple potential mechanisms account for the cardioprotective effects of HDL and its main protein apolipoprotein A-I (apo A-I). Diet has an important role in modulating HDL cholesterol level. The widespread use of nutritional supplements may also alter the biology of HDL. In this review, we discuss the effect of select nutritional supplements on serum HDL cholesterol and apo A-I levels. Some nutritional supplements, such as phytosterols, soy proteins, and black seed extracts, may increase HDL cholesterol levels, while others such as cholic acid and high doses of commonly used antioxidant vitamins may downregulate HDL cholesterol levels and reduce its cardioprotection. Multiple mechanisms are involved in the regulation of HDL levels, so changes in production and clearance of HDL may have different clinical implications. The clinical relevance of the changes in HDL and apo A-I caused by nutrient supplementation needs to be tested in controlled clinical trials.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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