Researchers from the University of Milano, Italy, list what we know.

First, the details.

  • Beyond adequate nutritional, functional foods should improve the state of health and wellbeing and/or reduce the risk of disease.
  • Functional foods marketed with claims of heart disease reduction focus primarily on the major risk factors — cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

And, the results.

  • Phytosterols and stanols
    • Lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Soya protein
    • Lowers cholesterol in people with very high initial cholesterol blood levels
    • Favorable effect on the metabolic syndrome — a combination of disorders that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
    • Significant lowering of triglyceride blood levels
  • Dark chocolate
    • Prevents abnormal cholesterol levels, as well as high blood pressure
  • Tea and coffee
    • Benefits not confirmed
  • Vitamin E, garlic, fenugreek and policosanols
    • Effects on abnormal cholesterol levels and prevention of arterial disease are controversial

The bottom line?

I think the “controversy” over policosanol was resolved 2 years ago.

Another recent reiew can be found here.

4/4/10 19:13 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.