Lippia citriodora is a plant traditionally used for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antispasmodic effects, as well as for additional biological activities proven in cell culture, animal studies and a small number of human clinical trials. The plant has also shown a marked improvement in blood lipid profile in some animal species. In the present preliminary study, we investigated the effect of a leaf extract on lipid and oxidative blood profile of hypercholesterolemic volunteers. Twelve adults received Lippia citriodora extract caps, containing 23% phenylpropanoids, (100 mg, once a day) for 16 weeks. Selected blood lipids and plasma oxidative markers were measured at baseline and after 4, 8 and 16 weeks of treatment. Compared with baseline, total cholesterol levels significantly decreased and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol increased, while low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides showed only a downward trend. Oxidative status was improved due to a decrease in the concentration of total oxidant status, reactive oxygen metabolites and malondialdehyde, and a significant increase in ferric reducing ability of plasma, vitamin A and vitamin E. These preliminary results suggest that dietary supplementation with Lippia citriodora extract can improve the lipid profile, enhance blood antioxidant power, and could be a valuable natural compound for the management of human hypercholesterolemia.
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