Saturday, 1 March 2014

cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases

Scientific Opinion on the modification of the authorisation of a
health claim related to plant sterol esters and lowering blood LDL
-cholesterol; high blood LDL-cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of (coronary) heart disease pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No
Suggested citation: EFSA Journal 2014; 12(2):3577, 14pp. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2014.3577
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Evaluation of Current Knowledge and Future Research Avenues

Despite the significant progress in understanding the mechanism of atherosclerosis and the factors implicated in CVDs pathology, well-designed intervention and clinical trials in human are still needed. CVDs are multifactor diseases and a reduction in LDL cholesterol and triacylglycerols alone, cannot provide either a satisfactory biochemical explanation or protection of humans. A healthy eating pattern can modify cardiovascular risk factors and its beneficial effect against atherosclerosis has been demonstrated.
From this point of view, omega-3 PUFAs that demonstrate their beneficial effect mainly through reducing plasma cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels [27] or by inhibiting some of the individual stages of atherogenesis [28-30] can neither explain satisfactorily the findings of the seven countries study [1] nor address the corresponding questions mentioned above. The supplementation of omega-3 PUFAs has not shown satisfactory results on lowering the risk for the development of CVDs [26].
It could be, thus, suggested that atherosclerosis is not primarily associated to high or low cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels, since in vivo studies, using experimental animals, the development of atherosclerotic lesions was not influenced by the levels of cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels but by the action of polar lipids that acted as PAF inhibitors [11-14]. This is one research avenue: the mechanism by which atherosclerosis is developed.
Another research avenue could be on studies relating the structure of compounds (with antiatherogenic properties) to their biological activity. Given that some dietary phospholipids and glycolipids exhibit beneficial effects against CVDs [31,32], future research could be focused on correlating the structure of these polar lipids to specific modes of actions and mechanisms in the development of atherosclerosis in experimental animals and also humans.

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Food Security and Cardioprotection: The Polar Lipid Link



  • cardiovascular diseases;
  • food security;
  • omega-3 PUFAs;
  • platelet activating factor;
  • polar lipids;
  • sustainability


The projected increase in world population and therefore demand for food in the foreseeable future pose some risks on how secure is the food production system today. Millions of people are threatened by malnutrition, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), diabetes, and obesity. This is a multidimensional challenge: the production of food needs to be increased but also the quality of food needs to be improved so less people suffer from undernourishment and CVDs. This hypothesis paper addresses this problem by critically evaluating recent developments on the role of food components against CVDs, presenting recent insights for assessing the nutritional value of food and suggesting novel approaches toward the sustainable production of food that would, in turn, lead to increased food security. The issue of the sustainability of lipid sources and genetically modified crops is also discussed from a food security point of view.



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