In this study, researchers discovered that a simple extract from the amla plant ((Emblica officinalis, Indian gooseberry), could be a supportive therapy for dyslipidemia, a frequently implicated risk factor for development of atherosclerosis. This study was published in BMC, Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
A previously published pilot study, by Antony et al., showed that emblica officinalis extract at a dose of 500 mg and 1000 mg per day, showed a significant reduction in triglycerides (TGs) and total cholesterol (TC) and a significant increase in HDL. The inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP) was also significantly reduced.
The particular study elaborated on that research by using a full-spectrum extract, including the extract from amla seeds and amla fruit pulp. And, apart from conventional lipid parameters, this study measured the apolipoprotein B (Apo B), apolipoprotein A1 (Apo A1), Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), high-sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP), fasting blood sugar (FBS), homocysteine and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which may provide a more conclusive prediction on heart health than lipid profile alone.
Ninety-eight participants with markers of dyslipidemia, were divided into amla and placebo groups. An amla extract of 500 mg or a matching placebo capsule of ground rice was administered twice daily for 12 weeks to the respective groups Each patient was followed up for 12 weeks and efficacy of study medication was assessed by analyzing lipid profile. Patients were advised to eat a healthy diet and exercise.
Results / Of the 49 participants of the amla group, 36 (73%) showed significant reduction in TC. A similar number showed reduction in LDL-C with several of them (26, 53%) achieving normal levels (< 100 mg/dl). Similary, 44 out of 49 participants achieved significant TG reduction.
- In 12 weeks, the major lipids such as total cholesterol (TC) (p = 0.0003), triglyceride (TG) (p = 0.0003), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) (p = 0.0064) and very low density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-C) (p = 0.0001) were significantly lower in amla group as compared to placebo group.
- Additionally, a 39% reduction in atherogenic index of the plasma (AIP) (p = 0.0177) was also noted in amla group.
- The ratio of Apo B to Apo A1 was reduced more (p = 0.0866) in the amla group as compared to the placebo.
- There was no significant change in CoQ10 level of amla (p = 0.2942) or placebo groups (p = 0.6744).
- Although there was a general trend of FBS reduction, the numbers of participants who may be classified as pre-diabetes and diabetes groups (FBS > 100 mg/dl) in the amla group were only 8. These results show that the amla extract used in the study is potentially a hypoglycaemic as well. However, this needs reconfirmation in a larger study.
- An additional benefit of the use of amla extract is the lack of change in serum CoQ10 levels, as seen in other standard of care therapies.
Conclusion / The Amla extract has shown significant potential in reducing TC and TG levels as well as lipid ratios, AIP and apoB/apo A-I in dyslipidemic persons and thus has the potential scope to support general as well as diabetic dyslipidemia. A single agent to reduce cholesterol as well as TG is rare. Cholesterol reduction is achieved without concomitant reduction of Co Q10, in contrast to what is observed with statins.