Apple extracts increase the excretion of cholesterol by an impressive 35% in healthy people

If you suffer from high cholesterol, there are a lot of ways you can bring your levels down. For example, you might already know that you can stop eating fried foods, quit smoking, lose some weight, and become more physically active. However, one thing you might not already be doing that can make a surprisingly big difference is consuming apples.

A study that was recently published in the journal Pharmanutrition showed that a new nutraceutical product formulated with polyphenolic extracts from apples could serve as a natural way to manage cholesterol and support cardiovascular health by decreasing cholesterol’s solubility and absorption in the intestine.

The researchers discovered that the apple extract was able to lower cholesterol solubility a remarkable 86 percent during in vitro tests. They then carried out a follow-up placebo-controlled, double-blind randomized crossover study of 50 healthy women and men who were assigned to consume a high-cholesterol diet for 10 days either with or without the apple extract.

They found that the excretion of cholesterol in the participants’ feces rose by 35 percent during their time on the apple extract supplement compared to the placebo. The apples used in the study were an Italian Annurca variety.

Past studies support apple’s positive cholesterol effects

This is hardly the first study to demonstrate this ability. It’s been known for some time that pectin, the white material found under the skin of apples, binds to the cholesterol in your gut and shuttles it out of your body. However, Florida State University researchers were surprised when they discovered just how powerful this effect can be.

In their study, 160 women aged 45 to 65 were divided into two groups, one of which ate 2 ½ ounces of dried apple each day while the other consumed the same amount of dried prunes. The women in the group who ate the apples noted a 23 percent reduction in LDL bad cholesterol while their HDL good cholesterol jumped by three to four percent. This outperformed both drugs and exercise.

On top of that, the women who consumed the apples lost around 3 pounds on average throughout the course of a year, likely because apples satisfied their hunger without adding too many calories. While the women who ate the prunes noted improved bone density, they did not experience any positive effects on their cholesterol.

When you consider the alternative – statin drugs that put your liver and overall health at risk – it’s clear just how potentially transformative such findings can be.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Bahram H. Arjmandi, told the Tampa Bay Times that he considered apples to be a “magic food” after seeing the results and that he tries to eat two a day.

He said: “Drugs have their place, but if you have to check your liver enzymes, that means the drug is doing something not so good for you, and I don’t understand why we would go for drug therapies when eating two apples a day reduces LDL cholesterol so effectively. Eat apples and you not only don’t harm your liver, but you substantially benefit your health.”

Of course, the answer likely boils down to money. Statins earn drug makers billions of dollars per year, and apples aren’t quite as profitable. As more people learn how effective apples can be in fighting cholesterol, however, perhaps we will see a reduction in people suffering liver damage and other devastating side effects of statins.

It looks like the old adage had it right all along: An apple a day really might keep the doctor away – especially the cardiologist!

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