Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 6, Issue 2, Pages 219-226
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nem091
Original Article

Asparagus Root Regulates Cholesterol Metabolism and Improves Antioxidant Status in Hypercholesteremic Rats

Department of Biosciences, Sardar Patel University, Vallabh Vidyanagar 388 120, Gujarat, India

Received 6 September 2006; Accepted 28 June 2007

Copyright © 2009 Nishant P. Visavadiya and A. V. R. L. Narasimhacharya. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Hyperlipidemia/hypercholesteremia are major risk factors for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases. Root of Asparagus racemosus (AR) is widely used in Ayurvedic system of medicine in India and is known for its steroidal saponin content. This study was designed to investigate the hypocholesteremic and antioxidant potential of AR root in both normo- and hypercholesteremic animals. Normal and hypercholesteremic male albino rats were administered with root powder of AR (5 and 10 g% dose levels) along with normal and hypercholesteremic diets, respectively, for a duration of 4 weeks. Plasma and hepatic lipid profiles, fecal sterol, bile acid excretion and hepatic antioxidant activity were assessed. Inclusion of AR root powder in diet, resulted in a dose-dependant reduction in plasma and hepatic lipid profiles, increased fecal excretion of cholesterol, neutral sterol and bile acid along with increases in hepatic HMG-CoA reductase activity and bile acid content in hypercholesteremic rats. Further, AR root also improved the hepatic antioxidant status (catalase, SOD and ascorbic acid levels). No significant changes in lipid and antioxidant profiles occurred in the normocholesteremic rats administered with AR root powder. AR root appeared to be useful as a dietary supplement that offers a protection against hyperlipidemia/hypercholesteremia in hypercholesteremic animals. The results of the present study indicate that the potent therapeutic phyto-components present in AR root i.e. phytosterols, saponins, polyphenols, flavonoids and ascorbic acid, could be responsible for increased bile acid production, elimination of excess cholesterol and elevation of hepatic antioxidant status in hypercholesteremic conditions.