Background: Nutraceuticals (NUTs) are forms of compounds with biological activity and are used to improve health in dosage largely exceeding those obtainable in food.
Objectives: To investigate whether addition of NUTs to lifestyle management including diet counseling improves lipid profile and reduces cardiovascular risk and prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS).
Methods: One thousand, three hundred and eighty, 18–80-year-old nondiabetic participants with dyslipidemia, with or without MetS not requiring pharmacological therapy were assigned to diet; after 2 weeks, 690 patients were also given NUT combination over other 8 weeks. Fasting plasma glucose and lipid compounds were measured by standard methods. Waist circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP) were measured at each visit. MetS was defined according to ATPIII guidelines. Ten-year risk of coronary heart disease was calculated using the Framingham Risk Score (FRS).
Results: At baseline, NUT patients were older and more dyslipidemic than placebo, with no difference in other cardiovascular risk factors and prevalence of MetS. After 8 weeks, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol was increased and diastolic BP, waist girth, triglycerides, total and non-HDL cholesterol were significantly reduced in NUT than in the placebo group, whereas systolic BP and fasting glucose did not change. Prevalence of MetS was also significantly lower in the NUT (36.1%) than in placebo (48.1%, P < 0.05) and reduction in the FRS greater (73.3 vs. 52%, respectively; P < 0.0001).
Conclusion: In a large clinical sample of patients with moderate cardiovascular risk, combination of NUT with dietary counseling reduces central obesity, improves lipid profile, diastolic BP and FRS, and decreases prevalence of MetS.