On Tuesday, I briefly mentioned rice bran oil as a means to protect your arteries against calcification. But rice bran oil does a lot more for your heart and brain than just prevent calcification. In fact, one of the benefits of rice bran oil that has the most research behind it is its ability to lower LDL cholesterol and prevent it from becoming oxidized.
I've mentioned in the past that the biggest problem cholesterol presents is when LDL cholesterol becomes oxidized. This process causes the LDL to become rancid and toxic to your body. I've also told you that cholesterol isn't the real cause of clogged arteries. Inflammation is the underlying cause. And the only reason cholesterol builds up as plaque is because inflammation prevents it from flowing freely in your body.
Still, everyone in the medical community is focused on lowering your LDL cholesterol. So rice bran oil might be just the ticket to make everyone happy. Not only will it lower your total cholesterol and your LDL cholesterol, it also will help control inflammation, and prevent the LDL you do have from becoming oxidized. Your conventional doctor will be happy, your integrative doctor will be happy, and you'll feel great knowing you didn't damage your body with statins just to lower your cholesterol.
So how do we know rice bran oil can do all this? Well, there have been a number of great studies conducted on the oil since the late 1980s. But one two-part study conducted in 2005 really put rice bran oil on the map.
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In this study, the researchers started by assigning 26 healthy volunteers to eat a diet with 13-22 grams of dietary fiber every day for three weeks. After the three weeks, they switched 13 of these volunteers to a diet that included defatted rice bran. This effectively doubled their fiber intake for five weeks. At the end of this first study, they found that the defatted rice bran didn't lower lipid concentrations at all.
In the second study, they did the same thing, except for the second phase. After the initial three weeks, they gave the 13 participants rice bran oil instead of defatted rice bran. This time, the researchers found that the rice bran oil significantly lowered total cholesterol. It also lowered LDL cholesterol by 7%. And it didn't change HDL cholesterol at all (so the overall decrease in cholesterol came from the lower LDL levels).
This study proved that it was the rice bran oil, not fiber, that lowered cholesterol in healthy adults with moderately high cholesterol.
Other studies have shown similar effectiveness in preventing oxidation of LDL. In fact, one study found that rice bran oil can reduce oxidation of lipids in the retina. This could help prevent eye disease and vision loss. In other words, everyone needs to be taking rice bran oil on a daily basis. And it's easy to do now that Advanced Bionutritionals has included it in its Complete Daily Oils.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.
Most, M. M., Tulley, R., Morales, S., and Lefevre, M. Rice bran oil, not fiber, lowers cholesterol in humans. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;81(1):64-68.
Hiramitsu, T. and Armstrong, D. Preventive effect of antioxidants on lipid peroxidation in the retina. Ophthalmic Res 1991;23(4):196-203.