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Are phytonutrient supplements cardioprotective?

Background

Phytonutrients are biologically active, nonnutritive substances found in plants. Although many phytonutrients are thought to be cardioprotective, a comprehensive review of the literature is needed.

The study

This umbrella review (review of reviews) assessed the effects of phytonutrient supplements on cardiovascular disease risk factors (blood pressure, blood lipids, and glycemic markers) and included 49 meta-analyses and 1 systematic review (all assessing clinical trials) evaluating 35 phytonutrient supplements.

The results
  • Garlic, ginger, green coffee extract, green tea, Nigella sativa, phytosterol, pycnogenol, Hibiscus sabdariffa, and soy isoflavone decreased systolic blood pressure.

  • Curcumin, garlic, ginger, green coffee extract, green tea, phytosterol, pycnogenol, and Hibiscus sabdariffa decreased diastolic blood pressure. Aronia increased diastolic blood pressure.

  • Aloe vera, argan oil, aronia, cinnamon, cumin, fenugreek, Panax ginseng, green tea, Nigella sativa, red yeast rice, silymarin, Hibiscus sabdariffa, and spirulina decreased total cholesterol. Resveratrol increased total cholesterol.

  • Aloe vera, argan oil, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, green tea, Nigella sativa, purslane, red yeast rice, and silymarin decreased triglycerides.

  • Aloe vera, argan oil, cumin, fenugreek, ginger, Panax ginseng, green tea, Nigella Sativa, phytosterol, red yeast rice, silymarin, Hibiscus sabdariffa, and spirulina decreased LDL-C. Resveratrol increased LDL-C.

  • Aloe vera, argan oil, aronia, cumin, fenugreek, Nigella sativa, pycnogenol, silymarin, and spirulina increased HDL-C. Hibiscus sabdariffa decreased HDL-C.

  • Nigella sativa and spirulina decreased VLDL cholesterol.

  • Aloe vera, blueberry/cranberry, fenugreek, green coffee bean extract, Nettle, Nigella sativa, phytoestrogen, propolis, purslane, saffron, and spirulina decreased fasting blood glucose.

  • Blueberry/cranberry and fenugreek decreased postprandial glucose.

  • Isoflavones and spirulina decreased insulin levels.

  • Blueberry/cranberry, ginseng, Nigella sativa, and propolis decreased HbA1C. Ginseng increased HbA1C.

  • Phytoestrogen decreased HOMA-IR, a measure of insulin resistance.

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