Genetically engineered tomatoes could help improve cholesterol levels
Washington – Researchers have reported that small amounts of a specific type of lipid in the small intestine could play a greater role than earlier thought in generating the high cholesterol levels and inflammation that lead to clogged arteries.
The tomatoes, created at UCLA, produce a small peptide called 6F that mimics the action of apoA-1, the chief protein in HDL.
Researchers added 2.2 percent (by weight) of freeze-dried tomato powder from the peptide-enhanced tomatoes to low-fat, low-cholesterol mouse chow that was supplemented with LPAs.
They also added the same dose of the peptide-enhanced tomatoes to the high-fat high- cholesterol diet.
They found that this addition to both diets prevented an increase in the level of LPAs in the small intestine and also stopped increases in “bad” cholesterol, decreases in “good” cholesterol and systemic inflammation. Tomatoes that did not contain the peptide had no effect.
According to senior author Dr. Alan Fogelman, executive chair of the department of medicine and director of the atherosclerosis research unit at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, the peptide-enhanced tomatoes may work in large part by reducing the amount of the LPAs in the small intestine.
The study has been published in the Journal of Lipid Research.