Aside from its nutritional contents, malungay scientifically known as Moringa olifera is also found potential in lowering cholesterol level in studied animals.
The Comparative Study on the Effects of Malungay Extracts and Simvastin on the Lipid Profile of Rabbits by the Davao Medical School Foundation Incorporated revealed that Malungay extracts can prevent the increase of cholesterol levels in rabbit.
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Results revealed that rabbits administered with both malungay extracts and simvastatin have significant increases in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol. Meanwhile, there were no significant increases in triglyceride and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterols observed in both treatments within the experimental periods (Day 0, Day 15 and Day 30). Although there were no evident decreases in LDL, it is important to note that malungay extracts can increase HDL in tested animals.
HDL plays a key role in protecting the body against heart diseases. HDL transports excess cholesterol (LDL) out of the body and prevents cholesterol build up in tissue walls thus, lowering the risks of heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases.
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According to the study, malungay contains beta-sitosterol, niacin, antioxidants and other substances including fibers that contribute to its cholesterol-lowering capacity.
Beta-sitosterol resembles the chemical structure of cholesterol and act as competitive inhibitor that blocks cholesterol absorption in the body. Niacin on the other hand, is also an important substance for energy metabolism, proper digestion, and healthy nervous system.
The study was funded by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST) through its Regional Research Fund in Region 11.