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Gene-Tweaked Tomatoes, Probiotics Aim to Lower Your Cholesterol
Date:11/5/2012

by the fall."

One heart expert said that products such as Cardioviva might help reduce cholesterol, but they should be seen as just one added weapon in the battle against heart disease.

"As a well-tolerated substance, and easily taken at a lower dose than other supplements, Lactobacillus may be a beneficial supplement in reducing cholesterol," said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventive cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

However, she said that any effective attempt to lower cholesterol should always involve healthy diet and exercise.

A second study looked at a genetically engineered tomato that produces a peptide (a type of protein) that mimics the effect of HDL "good" cholesterol when eaten.

The study involved mice that were specially bred to have uncontrolled LDL "bad" cholesterol. The mice were fed a high-calorie, fatty "Western"-style diet plus a freeze-dried, ground version of the genetically tweaked tomato for two weeks. The tomato powder made up 2.2 percent of the rodents' total diet.

The researchers, led by Dr. Alan Fogelman, chair of the department of medicine at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine in Los Angeles, said that mice given the powder displayed lower blood levels of inflammation, higher levels of good cholesterol and less signs of atherosclerotic plaques ("hardening of the arteries"), among other signs of improving cardiovascular health.

"We have found a new and practical way to make a peptide that acts like the main protein in good cholesterol, but is many times more effective and can be delivered by eating the plant," Fogelman, who is also director of the Atherosclerosis Research Unit at UCLA, said in an AHA news release.

The study was funded by the U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Reviewing the data, cardiologist Steinbaum said, "Although interesting, a mice trial like this cannot necessarily be extrapolated to the choices that human beings make, i
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