Both plant sterols and lecithin are used as dietary supplements for lowering blood cholesterol in Western countries. This study evaluated the possibility of an additive effect of these ingredients on the regulation of lipid concentrations and cholesterol metabolism. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into three groups, and fed one of the following diets for 5 weeks; high cholesterol diet (HCD), phytosterol mixture-supplemented diet (PD, HCD+0.25% phytosterols), or phytosterol mixture and lecithin-supplemented diet (PLD, PD+0.15% lecithin). Feeding the PD for 5 weeks resulted in a 34% and 41% decrease in plasma total- and VLDL+LDL-cholesterol levels, respectively, and a 23% decrease in hepatic cholesterol content compared to those for the HCD rats (p < 0.05). These cholesterol-lowering properties of the phytosterol mixture were also associated with the down-regulation of hepatic acyl CoA:cholesterol acytransferase (ACAT) activity (p < 0.05). Addition of lecithin plus phytosterol mixture to the hypercholesterolemic diet did not significantly affect blood and hepatic lipid concentrations (with the exception of 36% decrease in hepatic triglyceride level, p < 0.05) as well as hepatic ACAT activity compared to feeding the hypercholesterolemic diet supplemented with phytosterol alone. These results indicate that combining lecithin, at a 0.15% level, with a phytosterol mixture-supplemented diet does not exhibit an additive effect in regulating hepatic ACAT activity or lowering blood cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic rats.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Clinical Biochemistry