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article imagePossible cholesterol busting treatment derived from sugar

By Tim Sandle     Apr 14, 2016 in Health
With the obesity crisis continuing at an unabated pace, the research for fat busting drugs continues. Such drugs are seen as an easier option, rightly or wrongly, to dietary changes and exercise. A type of sugar is a new candidate.
A sugar, which is currently used as an air freshener, has been experimentally shown to be able to help remove cholesterol deposists from hardened arteries. This risk with hardened arteries is that loose bits of plaque that can cause heart attacks.
The sugar in question is called cyclodextrin. Cyclodextrins are produced from starch by means of enzymatic conversion. Aqueous cyclodextrin solutions are used to generate aerosols across a range of particle sizes. It is used in the proprietary air freshener Febreze.
In a study, cyclodextrin was demonstrated to remove cholesterol deposits in mice that had been fed a high-fat diet. The mice were given regular subcutaneous injections (injection under the skin). Within a few weeks, favourable effects were seen in terms of a significant reduction in cholesterol.
According to Science News, it seems that this sugar helps with the natural cholesterol-removal process, and it also triggers immune cells to reduce the rate of inflammation. The test mice showed no side effects. In terms of what is precisely happening, cyclodextrin functions by altering a trigger for a gene called LXR. LXR operates to turn on genes involved in processing cholesterol and removing it from the body.
In the long-term it is hoped that cyclodextrin can be used to manufacture a therapeutic drug to treat atherosclerosis. While the results are promising the findings require further work before a human clinical trial is attempted. The reason for this is concerns about safety, and the possible risk of liver damage.
The findings are reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine. The research paper is headed “Cyclodextrin promotes atherosclerosis regression via macrophage reprogramming.”
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