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Similar cholesterol–lowering properties of rice bran oil, with varied γ–oryzanol, in mildly hypercholesterolemic men*

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The cholesterol lowering properties of rice bran oil (RBO) containing differing amounts of non–saponifiable components have not been studied in humans, to our knowledge.

Aim of the study

To evaluate cholesterol lowering effects of RBO, with low and high amounts of γ–oryzanol (ferulated plant sterols) in mildly hypercholesterolemic men.


Mildly hypercholesterolemic men, 38–64 y, starting cholesterol 4.9–8.4 mmol/l (n = 30), consumed 50 g/d peanut oil (PNO) in vehicles for 2 wks during a run–in period, then, without wash–out, were randomly equilibrated (based on initial level of cholesterol) into two groups to consume 50 g/d RBO low (0.05 g/d) or high (0.8 g/d) γ–oryzanol for 4 wks, in a randomized, controlled, parallel design study. Subjects were free–living and consumed habitual diets with some restrictions. Plasma concentrations of total, LDL–,HDL–cholesterol and triacylglycerol were measured at base line and after 2, 4, and 6 wks.


The two RBO types were not significantly different with respect to effects on various cholesterol parameters, at 2 and 4 wks, including total cholesterol, LDL–, HDL– and LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio. Low and high γ–oryzanolcontaining RBO feeding for 4 wks lowered total plasma cholesterol (6.3 %), LDL–C (10.5 %) and the LDL–C/HDL–C ratio (18.9 %).


RBO supplementation at ca. 50% total fat intake improved lipoprotein pattern in mildly hypercholesterolemic men. Methylated sterols in γ–oryzanol are thought to be largely ineffective at inhibiting dietary cholesterol absorption, but could enhance cholesterol–lowering ability of 4–desmethylsterols. Assuming all ferulated sterols become de–ferulated in the gut, low and high γ–oryzanolcontaining RBOs provided intestinal loads of 453 and 740 mg/d free 4–desmethylsterols, respectively. This intestinal load of 453–740 mg/d of efficacious free plant sterol equivalents had identical effects on lipoproteins.

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analysis of variance


body mass index






high density lipoprotein


high performance liquid chromatography


low density lipoprotein


Lipoprotein “little a”

n. d.:

not detectable

P1, P15 :

denotes the peanut oil period, experimental days 1 or 15


peanut oil

R30, R43, R44, R45 :

denotes the rice bran oil period, experimental days 30, 43, 44, or 45

R43–45 :

denotes the rice bran oil period, average values for days 43–45


rice bran oil




total cholesterol

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Correspondence to C. Bertoli.

Additional information

*This work appeared in part in FASEB J. 14: A250, 2000

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Berger, A., Rein, D., Schäfer, A. et al. Similar cholesterol–lowering properties of rice bran oil, with varied γ–oryzanol, in mildly hypercholesterolemic men*. Eur J Nutr 44, 163–173 (2005).

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