Supplementation with Watermelon Extract Reduces Total Cholesterol and LDL Cholesterol in Adults with Dyslipidemia under the Influence of the MTHFR C677T Polymorphism.
J Am Coll Nutr. 2016 Mar 2:1-7. Epub 2016 Mar 2. PMID: 26934084
Nayara M L Massa
: Dyslipidemia and genetic polymorphisms are associated with increased risk for developing cardiovascular diseases, and watermelon appears to have the potential to improve hyperlipidemia due to the presence of nutrients such as arginine and citrulline.
OBJECTIVE: To test the hypolipidemic effect of watermelon extract (Citrullus lanatus) and the influence of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase genotype (MTHFR C677T) on supplementation response.
METHODS: This is an experimental clinical phase II randomized and double-blind study. Forty-three subjects with dyslipidemia were randomly divided into 2 groups: experimental (n = 22) and control (n = 21) groups. The subjects were supplemented daily for 42 days with 6 g of watermelon extract or a mixture of carbohydrates (sucrose/glucose/fructose).
RESULTS: The use of watermelon extract reduced plasma total cholesterol (p<0.05) and low-density lipoprotein (p<0.01) without modifying triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein, and very low-density lipoprotein values. Only carriers of the T allele (MTHFR C677T) showed decreasing concentrations of low-density lipoprotein (p<0.01). No changes in anthropometric parameters analyzed were observed. This is the first study to demonstrate the beneficial effect of the consumption of watermelon extract in reducing plasma levels of lipids in humans. The MTHFR C677T polymorphism did not affect the plasma lipid concentration but made individuals more responsive to treatment with watermelon.
CONCLUSIONS: The consumption of this functional food represents an alternative therapy in the combined treatment of patients with dyslipidemia, promoting health and minimizing the development of risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.