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Clin Nutr. 2015 Jun;34(3):383-7. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2014.05.013. Epub 2014 Jun 9.

Supplementation with Aspergillus oryzae-fermented kochujang lowers serum cholesterol in subjects with hyperlipidemia.

Author information

1
Clinical Trial Center for Functional Foods, Chonbuk National University Hospital, 20 Geonji-ro, Deokjin-gu, Jeonju, Jeonbuk 561-712, Republic of Korea.
2
Sunchang Research Center for Fermentation Microbes, 850-17, Sunchang-eup, Sunchang-gun, Jeonbuk 595-804, Republic of Korea.
3
Daesang R&D Center, 125-8, Pyokyo-ri, Majang-myun, Incheon, Gyeonggi-do 467-813, Republic of Korea.
4
Department of Biochemistry, Chonbuk National University Medical School, 567 Baekje-daero, Deokjin-gu, Jeonju, Jeonbuk 561-756, Republic of Korea.
5
Clinical Trial Center for Functional Foods, Chonbuk National University Hospital, 20 Geonji-ro, Deokjin-gu, Jeonju, Jeonbuk 561-712, Republic of Korea; Clinical Trial Center, Chonbuk National University Hospital, 20 Geonji-ro, Deokjin-gu, Jeonju, Jeonbuk 561-712, Republic of Korea; Department of Pharmacology, Chonbuk National University Medical School, 567 Baekje-daero, Deokjin-gu, Jeonju, Jeonbuk 561-756, Republic of Korea. Electronic address: soowan@jbnu.ac.kr.

Abstract

BACKGROUND & AIMS:

Kochujang, a traditional fermented red pepper paste, is known for its hypocholesterolemic effect; however, these studies used non-commercial preparations of kochujang. In this study, we examined whether commercially-made kochujang in which Aspergillus oryzae (also known as koji) was used as a microorganism for fermentation has the same cholesterol-lowering effects.

METHODS:

Hyperlipidemic subjects (based upon criteria of 110 ∼ 190 mg/dL LDL cholesterol or 200 ∼ 260 mg/dL total cholesterol) who had not been diagnosed with any disease and met the inclusion criteria were recruited for this study. The 30 subjects were randomly divided into either the kochujang (n = 15) or placebo (n = 15) group. All subjects ingested either the kochujang pill (34.5 g/d) or a placebo three times daily during meals for 12 weeks. Outcomes included measurements of efficacy (total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, and triglyceride) and safety (adverse events, laboratory tests, electrocardiogram, and vital signs).

RESULTS:

In the kochujang-supplemented group, subjects' total cholesterol level significantly decreased (from 215.5 ± 16.1 mg/dL to 194.5 ± 25.4 mg/dL, p = 0.001). LDL-C cholesterol levels were also decreased by kochujang supplementation (from 133.6 ± 14.8 mg/dL to 113.5 ± 23.1 mg/dL); however no significant difference was seen between groups (p = 0.074). There were no statistically significant differences in HDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels between the supplemented and non-supplemented groups. None of the subjects complained of any adverse effects.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results indicate that A. oryzae-fermented kochujang elicits a significant hypocholesterolemic effect and might be useful for improving blood cholesterol levels in subjects at high risk for cardiovascular disease.

CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION:

NCT01865370.

KEYWORDS:

Clinical trial; Fermentation; Hyperlipidemia; Kochujang

PMID:
24961447
DOI:
10.1016/j.clnu.2014.05.013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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