Grapefruit Pectin “Discovered”
When we talk about cholesterol and removing arterial plaque, we always enjoy talking about the story of grapefruit pectin. It is relatively new on the scene but the results have been very dramatic so far. A few years ago a researcher at the University of Florida received a lot of publicity when he found that pectin, derived from grapefruit rinds, had a powerful cholesterol lowering effect.
When Dr. James J. Cerda was working at the University of Florida, with his partner Charles Burgin under a grant from the Florida Citrus Commission, he initially intended to study Vitamin C. However, when they stumbled upon pectin from grapefruit and how it affected cholesterol level in guinea pigs, they knew they stumbled on something big! Needless to say, it was a timely and significant discovery.
There have been many very good studies over the years on the cholesterol lowering effects of citrus soluble fiber. Then, Cerda started studying the unique effects of the pectin on restoring artery health. Pectins are the main structural substances binding adjacent cell walls in plants. Especially prevalent in the rinds and parts of citrus and other fruits, they are often used as binders in jams and jellies. Putting the soluble fiber and grapefruit pectin (easily available in Florida) together, he began preliminary studies on miniature swine to reduce cholesterol. Dr. Cerda found some truly amazing results with the swine he used as experimental animals. (Most typically, findings in swine have turned out to be similar in human studies.)
After consuming the pectin for 270 days, a 62% regression was noted independent of cholesterol. The swine maintained a 450 mg/dl cholesterol. What was so amazing was the swine continued to consume a 40% fat calorie diet throughout the study! The experiments were very successful and averaged reducing cholesterol by 20-25%, sometimes up to 50%! There was not any regression seen in the cellulose (placebo) pigs. This study was so astounding that Dr. Cerda received the Paul Dudley White Award in 1992. (Circulation 1994;89; 1247-1253).
Then, Dr. Ceda wanted to make sure the results transferred to humans. For 16 weeks, volunteers with high serum-cholesterol levels consumed unidentified capsules with each of their three major meals daily. Roughly half the 27 subjects got capsules containing a placebo; the others got capsules containing pure grapefruit pectin. Eight weeks into the experiment, each group was switched to the opposite capsule.
The blood-cholesterol reduction for those on the pectin was as great as 19 percent. Moreover, 13 participants experienced a drop of more than 10 percent in low-density lipoprotein while taking the pectin-capsule supplements. No one is sure what a reduction in LDLs--sometimes called the "bad' lipoproteins--heralds, Cerda says, "but this kind of drop can't hurt you, and most scientists would interpret such a drop as very favorable."
The Plaque Discovery
These results are wonderful – and why we include these nutrients in both Artery Clear and Cholesterol Balance. However, Dr. Ceda’s next discovery is why the Artery Clear has much more in it. Dr. Cerda and his co-researcher Charles Burgin conducted what could eventually be a milestone research project. The research team fed the artery clogged swine a diet supplemented with either grapefruit pectin or cellulose as the placebo. The results were nothing short of amazing!
These preliminary studies using miniature swine indicate that grapefruit pectin can reduce arterial blockage as well as cholesterol levels. Dr. Cerda and his team had wanted to see if grapefruit pectin had an effect on animals with established high cholesterol (it did). Blood samples were taken every 30 days for nine months to determine plasma cholesterol and total triglyceride levels.
However, there was an unusual side effect to adding citrus fiber and pectin to their diet. Not surprisingly, both groups demonstrated stabilized cholesterol levels. This was to be expected as fiber has been known for years to keep cholesterol levels from increasing. But, amazingly, when the pigs were examined, their arteries were much less clogged! Autopsies of the 14 animals, however, revealed a mean coronary artery narrowing of 45% in the group receiving cellulose and 24% in the group receiving grapefruit pectin. Grapefruit pectin (with guar gum, we cover in a minute) appears to be very effective at both reducing cholesteral- And -clearing out existing arterial plaque!
Additional studies, sponsored or co-sponsored by the U. of Florida, revealed surprising results. They found the mean coronary artery narrowing was 24% without pectin and 45% with pectin.” (A 21% arterial flow increase is definitely worth considering!) Their conclusion: “Pectin may have a direct beneficial effect on atherosclerosis by a mechanism independent of cholesterol levels" (ie: removing plaque).
As exciting as that is, the reduction of arterial flow would have been even better if the lecithin and the other nutrients we use in Artery Clear are included. This allows us to use a significant amount but not overload our formula – since they work together with our other plaque reducing nutrients.
“Dietary intake of cholesterol has been linked to coronary heart disease. The effect of grapefruit pectin (Citrus paradisi) on plasma cholesterol, triglycerides, very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and the low-density lipoprotein:high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio was studied. The study design was a 16-week double-blind, crossover (placebo or pectin) using 27 human volunteers screened to be at medium to high risk for coronary heart disease due to hypercholesterolemia. The study did not interfere with the subjects' current diet or lifestyle. Grapefruit pectin supplementation decreased plasma cholesterol 7.6%, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol 10.8%, and the low-density lipoprotein:high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio 9.8%. The other plasma lipid fractions studied showed no significant differences. We conclude that a grapefruit pectin-supplemented diet, without change in lifestyle, can significantly reduce plasma cholesterol.”
The effects of grapefruit pectin on patients at risk for coronary heart disease without altering diet or lifestyle, J. J. Cerda M.D., F. L. Robbins B.S., C. W. Burgin, T. G. Baumgartner Pharm.D., R. W. Rice B.A. 4 FEB 2009.
Guar gum is a unique soluble fiber, a type of carbohydrate that holds water as it forms a gel in your digestive tract. This extremely unique fiber dissolves completely in water and has no taste, making it very easy to consume.
Guar gum comes from the guar bean, a legume. American diets are woefully lacking in legumes, even though they are the only food type across different cultures that is associated with longevity. This fact alone makes guar gum a good fiber choice. It also has some rather profound effects on your metabolism. This can include the reduction of total cholesterol, lowering triglycerides, increasing HDL cholesterol, stabilizing blood sugar response to a meal, reducing digestive inflammation, curbing appetite, and assisting efforts at weight loss.
There are a number of different ways that guar gum soluble fiber can help you manage your weight. By forming a water-holding gel the contents of your meal moves forward more slowly. This provides a sensation of digestive fullness, meaning you are less likely to eat as much (especially if you take some ½ hour before a meal) or get hungry as soon following the meal. Guar gum raises the level of CCK (cholecystokinin) which sends a digestive message to your brain that you are full.
However we are interested in guar gum because it has been shown to reduce the amount of cholesterol particles and triglycerides in the period following a meal. In one study, triglycerides were lowered 14%, total cholesterol by 14%, LDL cholesterol by 28%, and HDL was boosted by 28%. Many studies have reported that guar gum lowers cholesterol by 10% to 15%. These types of studies have led researchers to claim that guar gum is “a miracle therapy for hypercholesterolemia, hyperglycemia and obesity.”
The HDL improvement in helping to remove loosened plaque and LDL(a) cholesterol is why we include it for both Artery Clear and Cholesterol Balance.
There are many natural products that will stimulate bile production and secretion bile sequestering fibers such as psyllium or guar gum with potent natural choloretics. Increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) and hyperlipidemia can promote arterial thrombus. We evaluated the potential of a partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG) as dietary fiber on lipid profiles and accelerated FeCl3-induced arterial thrombosis formation (from 463 ± 51 to 303 ± 45 sec). Low dose PHGG supplement significantly decreased adhesion of platelet and leukocytes into the vascular endothelial cell by the increased expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) is a crucial step in thrombosis/atherogenesis. Vascular wall protection can be achieved by preventive attachment to the vascular wall of antioxidants and elimination/neutralization of toxic products after their disproportioning. For example, guar gum changed bile acid pools and intestinal reabsorption to lower cholesterols and decreased trichloroethylene accumulation in the body by reducing trichloroethylene absorption and fat tissue mass. Enhanced ICAM-1 expression in the endothelial site can increase leukocyte adhesion and platelet aggregation and promoted thrombus formation of the injured vessel.
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Cerda, James J., MD et al. Grapefruit Pectin Inhibits Hypercholesterolemia and Atherosclersis in Miniature Swine.
Cerda, James J., MD et al. Inhibition of Atherosclerosis by Dietary Pectin in Microswine with Sustained Hypercholesterolemia.
Cerda, James J., MD The Pectin-Cholesterol Connection - A Review.
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