The guidelines for the treatment of dyslipidemias include the use of nutraceuticals (NUTs) in association with lifestyle modifications to achieve therapeutic goals. In NUT pill, different substances may be associated; in this study we investigated a combined NUT containing monacolin K (MonK)+KA (1:1), berberine (BBR), and silymarin. The aim of the study was to evaluate low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) reduction in 53 patients suffering from polygenic hypercholesterolemia, characterized by a low/intermediate cardiovascular risk calculated with SCORE algorithm. The effects on lipid profile of 2-month treatment with NUT containing MonK+KA (1:1), BBR, and sylimarin, were compared with Atorvastatin (ATO) 10 mg administrated in a matched control group. Serum proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) levels and the cholesterol loading capacity (CLC) were determined at baseline and at the end of the study in NUT-treated group; variations were assessed. NUT was effective as lipid-lowering agent with a wide interindividual response variability (mean LDL-C from 170.8 +/- 19.9 to 123.8 +/- 20.0 with a change of -47.0 +/- 21.5 mg/dL; P < .001) and the effect was similar to that induced by ATO. The use of NUT significantly modified PCSK9 levels (P < .01) and CLC (P < .001), ultimately suppressing the serum-mediated foam cell generation directly measured on human macrophages. NUT reduces LDL-C levels with an effect similar to what is induced by 10 mg of ATO and ex vivo improves the functional profile of lipoproteins with antiatherogenic action.
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