Preventing cardiovascular heart disease: Promising nutraceutical and non-nutraceutical treatments for cholesterol management

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Abstract

Hypercholesterolemia is one of the major risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease. Atherosclerosis resulting from hypercholesterolemia causes many serious cardiovascular diseases. Statins are generally accepted as a treatment of choice for lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which reduces coronary heart disease morbidity and mortality. Since statin use can be associated with muscle problems and other adverse symptoms, non-adherence and discontinuation of statin therapy often leads to inadequate control of plasma cholesterol levels and increased cardiovascular risk. Moreover, there is compelling evidence on the presence of still considerable residual cardiovascular risk in statin-treated patients. Ezetimibe improves cholesterol-lowering efficacy and provides mild additional cardiovascular protection when combined with statin treatment. Despite a favorable safety profile compared to statins, ezetimibe-induced cholesterol-lowering is modest when used alone. Hence, there is a critical need to identity additional effective hypolipidemic agents that can be used either in combination with statins, or alone, if statins are not tolerated. Thus, hypolipidemic agents such as proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors, apolipoprotein B-100 antisense oligonucleotides, cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) inhibitors, and microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTTP) inhibitors, as well as yeast polysaccharides (beta-glucans and mannans) and compounds derived from natural sources (nutraceuticals) such as glucomannans, plant sterols, berberine, and red yeast rice are being used. In this review, we will discuss hypercholesterolemia, its impact on the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and the use of yeast polysaccharides, various nutraceuticals, and several therapeutic agents not derived from ‘natural’ sources, to treat hypercholesterolemia.

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