Experiments carried out with cultured cells and in experimental animals have consistently shown that phospholipids (PLs) can inhibit intestinal cholesterol absorption. Limited evidence from clinical studies suggests that dietary PL supplementation has a similar effect in man. A number of biological mechanisms have been proposed in order to explain how PL in the gut lumen is able to affect cholesterol uptake by the gut mucosa. Further research is however required to establish whether the ability of PLs to inhibit cholesterol absorption is of therapeutic benefit.
Keywords: cardiovascular disease; cholesterol; intestine; micelle; phosphatidylcholine; phosphatidylethanolamine; phospholipid; sphingomyelin.