Using strawberries to lower cholesterol levels

strawberries2Researchers from Oklahoma State University, in Stillwater studied the effects of a freeze-dried strawberry powder in obese people.

First, the details.

  • 16 women with 3 features of the metabolic syndrome were enrolled in the study.
    • Features of the metabolic syndrome include waist circumference greater than 35 inches, triglycerides higher than 150mg/dL, fasting glucose higher than 100 mg/dL and less than 126mg/dL, HDL (good) cholesterol less than 50 mg/dL, or blood pressure above 130/85 mm Hg.
  • The women drank 2 cups of a strawberry drink daily for 4 weeks.
    • Each cup had 25 grams of freeze-dried strawberry powder blended in water.

And, the results.

  • Total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels were significantly lower at 4 weeks vs the start of the study (-5% and -6%, respectively).
  • Lipid peroxidation was lowered a significant 14%.
    • The process of lipid peroxidation results in cell damage.
  • There were no effects on markers of inflammation — C-reactive protein and adiponectin.
  • A significant number of women (13/16) showed an increase in plasma ellagic acid (an antioxidant) at 4 weeks.
  • There were no significant differences in dietary intakes at 4 weeks.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Short-term supplementation of freeze-dried strawberries appeared to exert hypocholesterolemic effects and decrease lipid peroxidation in women with metabolic syndrome.”

This is the first study the effects of freeze-dried strawberry powder supplementation on selected cardiovascular risk factors in women with metabolic syndrome. It seems to have potential here.

The results support an earlier study of strawberry supplementation (not freeze dried) published a year ago, which included a control group for comparison.

More research is warranted.

10/12/09 22:28 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.