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Nutrición Hospitalaria

On-line version ISSN 1699-5198Print version ISSN 0212-1611


FROTA, Karoline de Macêdo Gonçalves; SANTOS, Raul Dias dos; QUEIROZ RIBEIRO, Valdenir  and  GOMES AREAS, José Alfredo. Cowpea protein reduces LDL-cholesterol and apolipoprotein B concentrations, but does not improve biomarkers of inflammation or endothelial dysfunction in adults with moderate hypercholesterolemia. Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2015, vol.31, n.4, pp.1611-1619. ISSN 1699-5198.

Introduction: The risks of cardiovascular diseases, the leading cause of death in the world, can be reduced by diet. Cowpea protein has been shown to significantly reduce total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and liver steatosis in hamsters. Objective: The objective of this proof-of-concept study was to verify whether the consumption of cowpea protein improves lipid profile and biomarkers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction in adults with moderate hypercholesterolemia. Methods: In a randomized, double-blind, crossover design, 38 hypercholesterolemic subjects (LDL-cholesterol = 182.5 ± 2.7 mg/dL) consumed 25 g/day of cowpea protein isolate or 25 g/day of casein (control group) for 6 weeks each, separated by a 4-week washout interval. Fasting blood samples were collected at baseline and at the end of each diet period. Lipids (total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol) were determined by enzymatic methods, apolipoproteins (apoA-I and apoB) by standardized immunoassays, inflammatory biomarkers (C-reactive protein) by turbidimetry, and biomarkers of endothelial dysfunction (intercellular adhesion molecule 1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Results and discussion: Consumption of cowpea protein significantly reduced total cholesterol (12 %), LDLcholesterol (18.9 %), nonHDL-cholesterol (16 %) and apoB (14 %), and increased HDL-cholesterol (+2.7 %). No significant differences between treatment groups were observed for any of the serum inflammatory or endothelial dysfunction biomarkers. Conclusion: The present findings demonstrated the favorable effect of cowpea protein consumption on proatherogenic serum lipids and apoB in subjects with moderate hypercholesterolemia, similar to what was observed in a previous studies on animals.

Keywords : Cowpea; Plant proteins; Cholesterol; Apolipoproteins; Inflammation.

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