Context: Prunus domestica Linn (Rosaceae) has been considered a functional food, owing to its various pharmacological activities, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic and anticancer.
Objective: This placebo-controlled, randomized study was framed to check the beneficial activity of prune essence concentrates (PEC) in corroboration with intestinal function and lipid profile in mildly hypercholesterolemic subjects.
Materials and methods: Sixty healthy mild hypercholesterolemic subjects were randomly chosen and segregated into three groups as placebo (consume 50 mL of simulated prune drink), PEC I (consume 50 mL of PEC/day) and PEC II (consume 100 mL of PEC/day) for 4 weeks with 2 weeks of follow-up without PEC consumption.
Results: Intake of PEC (I and II) for 4 weeks substantially ameliorated (p < 0.05) the colony number of Bifidobacterium spp. (1.18- and 1.19-fold) and Lactobacillus spp. (1.07- and 1.16-fold), but markedly lowered (p < 0.05) the colony number of Clostridium perfringens (5.97 and 8.35%) and Escherichia coli (6.25 and 9.38%). Meanwhile, the total cholesterol (TC; 5.90 and 6.99%) levels and LDL-c (6.68 and 6.53%) were significantly reduced (p < 0.05), but no change in other lipid parameters. Whereas, the antioxidant capacity was also concomitantly elevated (p < 0.05) upon administration with PEC.
Discussion and conclusion: Overall, the results suggest that the use of PEC may positively regulate the intestinal microflora and thereby effectively lower the TC levels and thus act as a hypocholesterolemic agent.
Keywords: Hypercholesterolemic; antioxidant capacity; intestinal microflora; lipid profile.