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Medicine and health science fair project:
The Effectiveness of Cholesterol Lowering Home Remedies compared to Medication




Science Fair Project Information
Title: The Effectiveness of Cholesterol Lowering Home Remedies compared to Medication
Subject: Medicine & Health
Grade level: High School - Grades 10-12
Academic Level: Ordinary
Project Type: Experimental
Cost: Medium
Awards: 2nd Place, Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair ($100)
Affiliation: Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair
Year: 2012
Materials: Five 300 mL glassware, five 1000 mL beaker, five hot plates, warm-water bath, five thermometers, timer, dissection tray, digital scale, general lab equipment
Description: The home remedies for lowering cholesterol that are investigated are coriander juice, honey-garlic paste, and apple cider vinegar compared to a prescribed cholesterol reducing pill (Crestor). Those different remedies are applied on pig fat and its resulting mass reduction after each treatment will be recorded and compared.
Link: http://www.virtualsciencefair.org/2012/vaniya
Short Background

Treatment of High Cholesterol Levels (Hypercholesterolemia)

A number of lifestyle changes are recommended in those with high cholesterol including: smoking cessation, limiting alcohol consumption, physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and a diet low in saturated fats, trans fat-free and low cholesterol foods. In strictly controlled surroundings, a diet can reduce cholesterol levels by 15%. In practice, dietary advice can provide a modest decrease in cholesterol levels and may be sufficient in the treatment of mildly elevated cholesterol.

Statins (or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) are commonly used to treat hypercholesterolemia if diet is ineffective. Other agents that may be used include: fibrates, nicotinic acid and cholestyramine. These however are only recommended if statins are not tolerated. Statins can reduce total cholesterol by approximately 50% in the majority of people; effects appear similar regardless of the statin used. While statins are effective in decreasing mortality in those who have had previous cardiovascular disease, there is debate over whether or not they are effective in those with high cholesterol but no other health problems. One review did not find a mortality benefit in those at high-risk but without prior cardiovascular disease. Other reviews concluded that there is a mortality benefit but concerns regarding the quality of the evidence persist. With respect to quality of life there is limited evidence of improvement when statins are used in people without existing cardiovascular disease (i.e. for primary prevention). Statins decrease cholesterol in children with hypercholesterolemia but no studies as of 2010 show improved clinical outcomes and diet is the mainstay of therapy in childhood.

According to a survey in 2002, alternative medicine was used in an attempt to treat cholesterol by 1.1% of U.S. adults. Consistent with previous surveys, this one found that the majority of individuals (i.e., 55%) used it in conjunction with conventional medicine. A review trials of phytosterols and/or phytostanols reported an average of 9% lowering of LDL-cholesterol. In 2000 the Food and Drug Administration approved the labeling of foods containing specified amounts of phytosterol esters or phytostanol esters as cholesterol lowering; in 2003 an FDA Interim Health Claim Rule extended that label claim to foods or dietary supplements delivering more than 0.8 grams/day of phytosterols or phytostanols. Some researchers, however, are concerned about diet supplementation with plant sterol esters and draw attention to lack of long-term safety data.

Coriander seeds were found in a study on rats to have a significant hypolipidaemic effect, resulting in lowering of levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides, and increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein. This effect appeared to be caused by increasing synthesis of bile by the liver and increasing the breakdown of cholesterol into other compounds. (Chithra, V.; Leelamma, S. (1997). "Hypolipidemic effect of coriander seeds (Coriandrum sativum): Mechanism of action". Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 51 (2): 167172.)

A 2006 study concluded that a test group of rats fed with acetic acid (the main component of vinegar) had "significantly lower values for serum total cholesterol and triacylglycerol" and other health benefits. Rats fed vinegar or acetic acid have lower blood pressure than controls, although the effect has not been tested in humans. Reduced risk of fatal ischemic heart disease was observed among participants in a trial who ate vinegar and oil salad dressings frequently.

In in vitro studies, garlic has been found to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity. However, these actions are less clear in vivo. Garlic is also claimed to help prevent heart disease (including atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure) and cancer. Garlic is used to prevent certain types of cancer, including stomach and colon cancers. In fact, countries where garlic is consumed in higher amounts, because of traditional cuisine, have been found to have a lower prevalence of cancer. Animal studies, and some early research studies in humans, have suggested possible cardiovascular benefits of garlic. A Czech study found garlic supplementation reduced accumulation of cholesterol on the vascular walls of animals. Another study had similar results, with garlic supplementation significantly reducing aortic plaque deposits of cholesterol-fed rabbits. Another study showed supplementation with garlic extract inhibited vascular calcification in human patients with high blood cholesterol.

A randomized clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2007 found the consumption of garlic in any form did not reduce blood cholesterol levels in patients with moderately high baseline cholesterol levels. According to Heart.org, "despite decades of research suggesting that garlic can improve cholesterol profiles, a new NIH-funded trial found absolutely no effects of raw garlic or garlic supplements on LDL, HDL, or triglycerides.

The proverb "An apple a day keeps the doctor away.", addressing the health effects of the fruit, dates from 19th century Wales. Research suggests that apples may reduce the risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer. Compared to many other fruits and vegetables, apples contain relatively low amounts of vitamin C, but are a rich source of other antioxidant compounds. Apple's antioxidant property prevents the damage to cells and tissues. The fiber content, while less than in most other fruits, helps regulate bowel movements and may thus reduce the risk of colon cancer. They may also help with heart disease, weight loss, and controlling cholesterol. The fiber contained in apples reduces cholesterol by preventing reabsorption, and (like most fruits and vegetables) they are bulky for their caloric content.

See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypercholesterolemia

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License and Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

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