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The Pectin Cholesterol Connection

James Cerda, MDJames J. Cerda, MD

Division of Gastroenterology/Hepatology/Nutrition,

University of Florida College of Medicine

Gainesville, FL USA

In vitro techniques have been developed to systematically study dietary grapefruit pectin. The effectiveness of grapefruit in lowering plasma cholesterol both in miniature swine and in human studies has been assessed. Recently the effects of grapefruit pectin on cholesterol levels and atherogenesis in animals with established hypercholesterolemia have been assessed. These studies strongly suggest that pectin may have a direct, beneficial effect on atherosclerosis by a mechanism independent of cholesterol levels. A protein-pectin-guar gum product has also been developed which is highly soluble in order to incorporate water soluble fibers into a variety of food products. Initial studies using the guinea pig model have been highly successful with over a 40% reduction in cholesterol over a six-week period.

Therefore, it was concluded that citrus pectin and other food sources rich in soluble fibers are useful adjuvants in the treatment of patients with hypercholesterolemia. Enough evidence has accumulated to substantiate that one in four Americans has a cholesterol level that imparts an increased risk of premature coronary heart disease. Therefore, a broader application and a form of recommendations to include pectin-rich foods, pectin protein food supplements, and a prudent diet aimed at the primary prevention of atherosclerosis in the general public now seem justified".

Technology: Journal of The Franklin Institute, Vol. 331A, pp. 199-202, 1994

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