Nutraceuticals in hypercholesterolaemia: an overview

Br J Pharmacol. 2017 Jun;174(11):1450-1463. doi: 10.1111/bph.13636. Epub 2016 Oct 29.


Growing attention is now being given to the possible preventive/alternative ways to avoid illness onset. Changes in lifestyle and food habits are taking over from the conventional pharmaceutical-based approach, especially for chronic pathologies. Nutraceuticals have been proposed as key tools for the prevention and cure of some pathological conditions. This is leading research to develop new formulations based on these pharma-foods addressed in a specific way to prevent and cure health issues, which, in turn, will have an effect on therapy-related costs sustained by any National Health Organization. According to existing regulations, nutraceuticals cannot be categorized as either food or drugs but, by definition, often inhabit a grey area in between the two, being assimilated into food supplements, notwithstanding the beneficial properties that they can provide for some pathological conditions. A nutraceuticals-based approach for health management, in particular for some pathological conditions, has resulted in a worldwide growing 'nutraceutical' revolution. An outstanding example is the approach to the 'metabolic syndrome', which includes overweight, obesity and cardiovascular-related diseases, causing a sort of cascade of chronic health conditions, which is becoming a norm in modern life. Hypercholesterolaemia is one of these. It represents an example of a pathology that can be linked to both a poor lifestyle and dietary habits. The nutraceutical approach to hypercholesterolaemia is described in the present review as a possible alternative to the conventional drug-based therapy.

Linked articles: This article is part of a themed section on Principles of Pharmacological Research of Nutraceuticals. To view the other articles in this section visit

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / diet therapy*
  • Hypercholesterolemia / etiology
  • Life Style
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diet therapy
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology