A new study from the Cooper Institute in Dallas, Texas reports a margarine that blocks the absorption of cholesterol in the body can enhance the cholesterol-lowering effects of certain drugs in 150 patients, average age of 56 years.
The study found that about three pats of Benecol a day lowered LDL ("bad") cholesterol in the blood by 17% and reduced total cholesterol by 12% after two months. Since every 1% decrease in cholesterol translates to a 2% - 3% decrease in heart disease risk, patients had a 30% lower risk of heart disease when they consumed Benecol in addition to taking drugs, the researchers report.
Benecol contains plant stanols, compounds derived from pine trees that help prevent the body from absorbing cholesterol from food. Statin drugs decrease the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver. According to study results, these cholesterol-lowering mechanisms work independently of each other. There were no adverse health effects in patients eating special margarine. Benecol is not yet available in Canada. The study was funded by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson & Johnson and the manufacturer of Benecol, and conducted by independent researchers.
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