From Science Daily:
When it comes to effective solutions for lowering cholesterol levels in pregnant women, Mother Nature may know best.
Researchers at the University at Buffalo are studying whether plant sterols can be used as a natural alternative to drug therapy in expectant mothers who have high cholesterol.
While it’s normal for a woman’s cholesterol to spike during pregnancy, excessive lipid levels — whether from genetic or dietary reasons — can have negative health effects on the offspring, both early in life and later on as adults, said Todd Rideout, assistant professor of exercise and nutrition sciences in UB’s School of Public Health and Health Professions and the study’s lead investigator.
In pregnant women who have excessive cholesterol — measured above 280 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) — the condition is known as supraphysiogical hypercholesterolemia. “There’s a lot of data supporting that offspring from hypercholesteremic mothers will have fatty streaks in their arteries along with high cholesterol and high triglycerides early in life, and they may have cardiovascular disease-related complications as they grow older,” Rideout said.
Using typical lipid-lowering drugs known as statins is out of the question because of the negative developmental consequences the drugs can have on newborns, Rideout notes. “Right now the treatment options are limited. There’s a real need to find an alternative cholesterol therapy for women who wish to become pregnant or are already pregnant,” said Rideout, who received an additional one-year, $88,000 grant from the National Center for Complementary and Integrated Health and the Office of Dietary…