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How Artichoke Lowers Cholesterol, Triglycerides, and Blood Sugar

How Artichoke Lowers Cholesterol, Triglycerides, and Blood Sugar

How Artichoke Lowers Cholesterol, Triglycerides, and Blood Sugar

Source: Journal of Food and Nutrition Research, Vol. 4, No.1, 2016. p.60-68

Lifestyle Medicine Update (February , 2016)

Abstract Artichoke (Cynara scolymus L., Asteraceae family), an edible vegetable from the Mediterranean area, is a good source of phenolic compounds. Two varieties of artichoke were used in this study Green Globe (G) and Violet (V). Five major active phenolic compounds were identified into the aqueous methanolic extracts of artichoke leaves and heads. These compounds were identified as Chlorogenic acid, Cynarin, 1, 5-di-o-Caffeoylquinic, luteolin and apigenin.

On the other hand, the artichoke aqueous leaves extract (ALE) and aqueous heads extracts (AHE) for the two varieties were used as hypoglycemic and hypocholesterolemic experiments by using albino rats. ALE was used in the concentration of (1.5 g/kg/day) for the two varieties. AHE was used in two different concentrations (1.5 and 3 g/kg/day). Rats were administrated orally by these different concentrations. Results show the effect of ALE and AHE extracts on the glucose level of diabetic rats. The superior effect was with G4 (Group No. 4) rats administrated 1.5 g LEG/kg/day (Leaves Extract of Green Globe). On the other hand results of the influence of artichoke leaves and heads as hypocholesterolemic action was in a positive way on the level of total cholesterol and reduced LDL and triglycerides levels and increased the level of glutathione peroxides, meanwhile it reduced the level of malondialdehyde (MDA) in rats serum. G3 (Group No. 3) [HFD (high fat diet) +1%cholesterol+1.5g LEG/kg/day] recorded the best results as hypocholesterolemic effect which could be attributed to their phenolic content. Our results indicated that, artichoke especially leaves extract of Green Globe (LEG) has good action as hypoglycemic and hypocholesterolemic.

On the other hand, artichoke leaves extract has been proposed to be antiathergenic, due to its lipid-reducing and antioxidant effects [24,48]. It is reported to inhibit cholesterol biosynthesis in hepatocytes [15] decrease the oxidation of LDL [6,23,51]. Artichoke leaves extract (ALE) is also considered as choleretic, enhancing biliary excretion of cholesterol and increasing its conversion to bile acids [24]. In addition, ALE is known to have antimicrobial properties in gut, disrupting the intestinal microflora, thus affecting the absorption of various compounds including cholesterol [53]. Thus, ALE may influence the intestinal absorption and excretion of cholesterol from organism, besides suppression of endogenous cholesterol synthesis. The inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis is due to luteolin, which modulates the HMG-CoA reductase activity (the key enzyme in the cholesterol biosynthesis pathway) [16,27]. Moreover, chlorogenic acid and luteolin may prevent atherosclerosis by inhibiting low-density lipoproteins (LDL) oxidation [6]. Therefore, artichoke leaf extracts show hypocholesterolemic activity, due to two parallel mechanisms: reduction of cholesterol biosynthesis and inhibition of LDL oxidation [8,15]. Artichoke extracts are well tolerated, and may be useful for the preventive treatments of mild hypercholesterolemia.

Study Abstract:

Other link – Artichoke is a super food


Welcome to Lifestyle Medicine Update – Dr Meschino

Recent 2016 study in J of Food & Nutrition Research

Provided more evidence that Artichokes and A. Extract:

  • Help Reduce High Cholesterol Levels
  • Help Reduce High Blood Sugar Levels

Artichokes don’t get mentioned much in Health Discussions

So – recent study makes it a good time to bring them forefront

Previous human studies: 

Artichoke Leaf Extract – help lower high cholesterol and triglycerides

This 2016 study examined the mechanisms by which artichoke does this:

Study performed on Diabetic Rats showed: Artichoke Head and Leaf ingestion administration:

  1. Reduced total cholesterol and the Bad Cholesterol LDL by:
  2. Convert cholesterol to bile in the liver and excrete it
  3. Inhibited cholesterol synthesis
  4. Inhibited Cholesterol absorption
  5. Antioxidant – which may prevent oxidation to LDL – making it less atherogenic
  6. Increases liver protection against damaging agents as well
  7. Diabetic rats also showed reduction in blood sugar and triglycerides

5 Major Protective Compounds in Artichoke:

  1. Chlorogenic acid – antioxidant
  2. Cynarin – antioxidant
  3. Caffeoylquinic acid – cholesterol and triglyceride lowering effect
  4. Luteolin – inhibits cholesterol synthesis
  5. Apigenin – antioxidant

These 5 compounds appear to work synergistically to lower cholesterol and glucose.

So, including artichoke heads, hearts and/or leaves in your diet a 2-3 times per week

Maybe wise, especially if wanting to:

  • Lower cholesterol
  • Get your blood sugar lower
  • Support liver health
  • Boost antioxidant defense – one the richest sources of antioxidants of all foods
  • Increase dietary fiber

Artichokes are low in calories, but filling and can be a healthy substitute for starchy carbs at a meal

Or use them as filling, cholesterol-lowering snack as I sometimes do.

6. Chlorogenic acid – antioxidant

7. Cynarin – antioxidant

8. Caffeoylquinic acid – cholesterol and triglyceride lowering effect

9. Luteolin – inhibits cholesterol synthesis

10. Apigenin – antioxidan

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great!

Dr. James Meschino

Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino


Dr. James Meschino is an associate professor in the division of physiology and biochemistry at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, where he has taught nutrition and biochemistry since 1984. He has also taught the second and third nutrition courses at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and has been a faculty member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and the American Council on Exercise (ACE).  Dr Meschino has authored four nutrition/wellness/anti-aging books, and is the principal educator for the Global Integrative Medicine Academy ( Dr. Meschino has lectured extensively throughout North America and is the formulator for Adeeva Nutritionals Canada Inc – a professional line of supplements dispensed by many healthcare practitioners and natural health product retailers (