Cardiovascular Protection by Phytosterols in Dyslipidemic Mothers and Progeny

This pre-clinical study will examine the safety and efficacy of phytosterols in treating maternal gestational hyperlipidemiarity.

Principal Investigator: Todd C. Rideout

Funding Agency: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Period: 09/2013 - 08/2018

Abstract: The impact of cardiovascular diseases on American life cannot be over-emphasized as it presents major challenges to society through direct effects on public health, well-being and economic prosperity. Adding to the urgency of CVD as a global health issue is the rise in dyslipidemic risk factors amongst women of childbearing age due to underlying genetic and/or dietary factors. Pronounced maternal hyperlipidemia during pregnancy is a high-priority health concern as it increases maternal CVD risk and produces offspring who are predisposed to dyslipidemia and early onset atherosclerosis.

As the use of lipid-lowering medication during pregnancy is contraindicated, natural lipid-lowering products should be examined as potential strategies to reduce gestational dyslipidemia. Furthermore, early exposure to dietary health promoting compounds during fetal and postnatal developmental stages may confer protection against future CVD incidence. Phytosterols are plant-based bioactive compounds with demonstrated cholesterol lowering efficacy and a recognized safety record in both animal and human clinical investigations.

This pre-clinical study will examine the safety and efficacy of phytosterols in treating maternal gestational hyperlipidemia and evaluate in utero and postnatal phytosterol exposure as a novel ‘up-stream’ preventative strategy to protect against CVD in adult life.