This study was designed to evaluate the efficacy of the freeze-dried supplements of purslane in reducing blood lipids in hypercholesterolemic adults. Fresh purslane leaves were freeze-dried and the fatty acids content analyzed. Eleven hypercholesterolemic subjects (5 females and 6 males) volunteered to participate in the study. The subjects consumed step I diet during a 2-week acclimation period and switched to step I diet supplemented with freeze-dried purslane leaves (6 g/day) for 4 weeks. Subjects were instructed to incorporate the freeze-dried supplements into their meals at lunch (3 g) and dinner (3 g) during the 4 weeks experimental period. Fasting blood samples were collected at the end of the acclimation period and at 2-weeks interval during the experimental period for analysis of plasma cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations. Data were subject to analysis of variance and means separation was conducted using the Duncan multiple range test (DMRT). Consumption of purslane for 4 weeks reduced (P < 0.05) plasma total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol. HDL-cholesterol levels were increased (P < 0.05). Plasma triacylglycerol concentrations were not affected by the consumption of purslane supplements. Results suggest that purslane supplements have the potential to alter blood lipid metabolism in hypercholesterolemic subjects and can lower the risk of heart disease. In addition, nutrient analysis confirmed that purslane is a rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, crude protein, vitamins and minerals.
Key words: Purslane, hypercholesterolemic, subjects, risks factors, heart disease.
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