The effect of neopuntia® on blood lipid parameters—Risk factors for the metabolic syndrome (Syndrome χ)


Metabolic syndrome (syndrome X) causes millions of cardiovascular complications and premature deaths every year. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of NeOpuntia®, patented, dehydrated,Opuntia ficus-indica leaves, on blood lipid parameters and metabolic syndrome.Opuntia ficus-indica leaves are traditionally consumed as a vegetable. Participants in this monocentric, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, 6-wk study were 68 women, ages 20 to 55 y, with metabolic syndrome and a body mass index between 25 and 40. Fifty-nine subjects completed the study according to the study plan. All volunteers followed well-balanced diets with controlled lipid input. NeOpuntia or placebo capsules were taken at a dosage of 1.6 g per meal. All 5 syndrome X criteria were measured on days 0, 14, and 42, including low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and triglyceride levels. For the 42 females above 45 y of age, we show a significant increase in HDL-C levels with NeOpuntia and a tendency toward decreased triglyceride levels. At the same time, there was a decrease in HDL-C levels with placebo. Overall, for the entire study population, similar but less pronounced tendencies were demonstrated. Forty-two females taking NeOpuntia with no additional hypolipemic treatment, had a pronounced reduction in LDL cholesterol, especially after day 14. At the study end, 39% of the NeOpuntia group, but only 8% of the placebo group, were no longer diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. Our results indicate an advantage of using NeOpuntia in dietary supplements and functional foods because of improvement of blood lipid parameters associated with cardiovascular risks.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    Stintzing FC, Carle R. Cactus stems (Opuntia spp.): a review on their chemistry, technology, and uses.Mol Nutr Food Res. 2005;49:175–194.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Lozoya X. Tziuhpatli: Herba officinalis. Mexico City: SSA-UNAM; 1999.

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Yarnell E, Abascal K, Hooper C.Clinical Botanical Medicine. New York: Mary Ann Liebert; 2003.

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Wiese J, McPherson S, Odden MC, Shlipak MG. Effect ofOpuntia ficus indica on symptoms of the alcohol hangover.Arch Intern Med. 2004;164:1334–1340.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Cárdenas Medellin ML, Serna Saldívar SO, Velazco de la Garza J. Effect of raw and cooked nopal (Opuntia ficus indica) ingestion on growth and profile of total cholesterol, lipoproteins, and blood glucose in rats [in Spanish].Arch Latinoam Nutr. 1998;48:316–323.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Galati EM, Tripodo MM, Trovato A, d’Aquino A, Monforte MT. Biological activity ofOpuntia ficus indica Cladodes II: Effect on experimental hypercholesterolemia in rats.Pharm Biol. 2003; 41:175–179.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Feugang JM, Konarski P, Zou D, Stintzing FC, Zou C. Nutritional and medicinal use of Cactus pear (Opuntia spp.) cladodes and fruits.Front Biosci. 2006;11:2574–2589.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    International Diabetes Federation. The IDF concensus worldwide definition of the metabolic syndrome. Brussel: IDF 2005. definition.pdf.

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Wolfram RM, Kritz H, Efthimiou Y, Stamotopoulos J, Sinzinger H. Effect of prickly pear (Opuntia robusta) on glucose- and lipid-metabolism in non-diabetics with hyperlipidemia-A pilot study.Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2002;114:840–846.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Gordon DJ, Knoke J, Probstfield JL, Superko R, Tyroler HA. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol and coronary heart disease in hypercholesterolemic men: the Lipid Research Clinics Coronary Primary Prevention Trial.Circulation. 1986;74:1217–1225.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Gordon DJ, Probstfield JL, Garrison RJ, et al. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, four prospective American studies.Circulation. 1989;79:8–15.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Lewis GF. Determinants of plasma HDL concentrations and reverse cholesterol transport.Curr Opin Cardiol. 2006;21:345–352.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Meyers CD, Kashyap ML. Pharmacologic elevation of high-density lipoproteins: recent insights on mechanism of action and atherosclerosis protection.Curr Opin Cardiol. 2004;19:366–373.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Feldeisen SE, Tucker KL. Nutritional strategies in the prevention and treatment of metabolic syndrome.Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2007;32:46–60.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Sacks FM, Katan M. Randomized clinical trials on the effects of dietary fat and carbohydrate on plasma lipoproteins and cardiovascular disease.Am J Med. 2002;30-113(suppl 9B):13S-24S.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Aston LM. Glycaemic index and metabolic disease risk.Proc Nutr Soc. 2006;65:125–134.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    LaRosa JC. Woman, lipoproteins and cardiovascular disease risk.Can J Cardiol. 1990;6B:23–29.

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Ziai SA, Larjani B, Akhoondzadeh S, et al. Psyllium decreased serum glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin significantly in diabetic outpatients.J Ethnopharmacol. 2005;102:202–207.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Cromwell WC, Otvos JD. Low-density lipoprotein particle number and risk for cardiovascular disease.Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2004;6:381–387.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Ford ES, Mokdad AH, Giles WH, Brown DW. The metabolic syndrome and antioxidant concentrations: findings from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.Diabetes. 2003;52:2346–2352.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Hansel B, Giral P, Nobecourt E, et al. Metabolic syndrome is associated with elevated oxidative stress and dysfunctional dense high-density lipoprotein particles displaying impaired antioxidative activity.J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004;89:4963–4971.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Jaramillo-Flores ME, González-Cruz L, Cornejo-Mazon M, Dorantes-Alvarez L, Gutiérrez-Lopez GF, Hernández-Sánchez H. Effect of thermal treatment on the antoxidant activity and content of carotenoids and phenolic compounds of cactus pear cladodes (Opuntia ficus-indica).Food Sci Technol Int. 2003;9:271–278.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Elodie Linarès.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Linarès, E., Thimonier, C. & Degre, M. The effect of neopuntia® on blood lipid parameters—Risk factors for the metabolic syndrome (Syndrome χ). Adv Therapy 24, 1115–1125 (2007).

Download citation


  • cholesterol
  • NeOpuntia®
  • HDL-C
  • metabolic syndrome
  • syndrome X
  • cladodes
  • nopal
  • Opuntia ficus-indica