The Efficacy of Squalene in Cardiovascular Disease Risk-A Systematic Review

Nutrients. 2020 Feb 5;12(2):414. doi: 10.3390/nu12020414.


Introduction: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. Squalene (SQ), an intermediate for the cholesterol biosynthesis, has been proposed to act similarly to statins via inhibition of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase in the liver.

Purpose: This paper explores the effects of SQ in CVD.

Methods: A systematic review of the literature was performed to identify relevant studies about SQ and CVD. A comprehensive search in Medline and Scopus for relevant studies published between the years 1946 and 2019 was performed. The main inclusion criteria were that the study was published in English; that the study reported association or effect of SQ and CVD; and that CVD should be related to lifestyle variables, aging, or experimentally induced conditions.

Results: The literature searches identified 5562 potentially relevant articles, whereby 21 studies met the inclusion criteria. There were three human studies and 18 animal experimental studies included in this paper. Only one human study reported positive outcome of SQ in CVD. The remaining two studies reported inconsistent and/or no effect. For animal studies, 15 studies reported positive effect while the remaining reported negative and/or no effect of SQ on various related parameters.

Conclusions: This evidence-based review emphasizes the potential of SQ being used for cardiovascular-related diseases. The effect of SQ, especially of plant-based warrants further exploration. Controlled human observational studies should be performed to provide comprehensive evidence.

Keywords: atherosclerosis; cardiovascular disease; cholesterol; hyperlipidemic; squalene.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl CoA Reductases / drug effects*
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Primary Prevention / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Squalene / therapeutic use*


  • Squalene
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl CoA Reductases