Nutritional Supplementation with Essential Amino Acids and Phytosterols May Reduce Risk for Metabolic Syndrome and Cardiovascular Disease in Overweight Individuals with Mild Hyperlipidemia

J Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2015;3(2):1069. Epub 2015 Apr 15.


Background: Hyperlipidemia and insulin resistance are risk factors for the development of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. We have previously observed that supplementation with essential amino acids (EAA) could lower plasma triglycerides, and may improve glucose metabolism.

Objective: We sought to determine whether EAA's combined with whey protein and phytosterols would facilitate improvements in plasma lipids and insulin sensitivity in adults with mild hypertriglyceridemia.

Design: We enrolled nine subjects who were 50 years or older, had a documented plasma TG >150 mg/dl, and had not recently taken statin medications (within 6 weeks). Each subject served as his or her own control. These individuals underwent an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) before and after four weeks consumption of the oral nutritional supplement without dietary counseling or recommendations for physical activity.

Results: Plasma total cholesterol and LDL levels decreased in all nine volunteers (P<0.005 for cholesterol and P<0.02 for LDL). In six of these individuals, plasma triglycerides (TG) fell by 95±13 mg/dl (P=0.007); while the other three showed no TG reduction. Genotyping revealed that in two of the three individuals that did not have TG reduction in response to the nutritional supplementation. Insulin sensitivity (ISI) and the total AUCins/glucose were significantly reduced by leucine/EAAs and phytosterol supplementation (P=0.008).

Conclusions: These findings suggest that a dietary supplementation of EAAs and phytosterols may promote favorable reductions of blood lipids as well as insulin resistance in individuals with hypertriglyceridemia. Future larger studies of SNPs and TG response to dietary supplements will be of interest.