Lipidaemia – The Skinny on Fats | Elite Natural Healthcare Singapore

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Lipidaemia – The Skinny on Fats
Oct 14, 2021

Raised cholesterol levels, estimated to cause 2.6 million deaths globally, increases risk of heart disease and stroke1. In Singapore, prevalence of hyperlipidaemia among adults, aged 18 to 69 years old, seems to be increasing – 25.2% in 2010 and 33.6% in 20172.

What is lipidaemia, when is it considered “hyper”, and how does Ganoderma Lucidum impact lipid levels? Read on and discover the skinny on fats (in our body)!

The Lipid Profile - Decoded

What is Lipidaemia?

Lipidaemia refers to the presence of lipids or fats in our blood. Blood lipid levels are important indicators to determine risk of cardiovascular or coronary artery disease. Hyperlipidaemia, or high blood lipids, is a primary risk factor for developing atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, peripheral artery disease and other major metabolic diseases3.

A blood test that measures the different types and amounts of fat in the blood is known as a Lipid Profile. A Lipid Profile normally tests for total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol; when any of the lipid tests are borderline high and above, the results are deemed “abnormal” – with exception of HDL cholesterol which is defined as “abnormal” if it is <1.0mmol/L4.

Classification of serum lipid levels in Singapore

Singapore classification of serum lipid levels.
Source: Ministry of Health, Singapore

Abnormal blood lipids, or dyslipidaemia, can be classified as hypercholesterolaemia, mixed (combined) dyslipidaemia, and hypertriglyceridemia. HDL cholesterol levels, inversely linked to triglyceride levels, are usually low in mixed (combined) dyslipidaemia, and hypertriglyceridemia4.

Classification of dyslipidaemia in Singapore

Singapore classification of dyslipidaemia.
Source: Ministry of Health, Singapore

Why are there different types of fat in the blood?

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance produced by the liver. Unable to dissolve in blood or water, cholesterol is packaged into protein-covered molecules, called lipoproteins, that allow it to mix and flow with blood. Most of the cholesterol in our blood is transported on low-density lipoprotein (LDL). LDL carries cholesterol from the liver to other parts of the body – and is also known as ‘bad’ cholesterol. Cholesterol is not ‘bad’ per se – we do need cholesterol for certain essential bodily functions. However, problems arise when there is too much LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. Excessive amounts of LDL cholesterol is deposited on artery walls which accumulates to form a cholesterol plaque. Over time, plaques increase in size and obstructs blood flow within the arteries. This condition is called atherosclerosis.

Excess LDL cholesterol gets deposited on artery walls.
Source: Designmate

Triglycerides comprise of fatty acids that are made in the liver or obtained from the diet. The liver removes triglycerides from the blood by packaging them into very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL). VLDL molecules are harder to move through blood vessels and can contribute to atherosclerosis.

Lipid plaques form and lead to atherosclerosis.
Source: Designmate

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) removes cholesterol from artery walls and blood – bringing it back to the liver. The liver then flushes it from the body. This is why HDL cholesterol is also known as ‘good’ cholesterol – because it helps remove LDL cholesterol from the body.

What causes dyslipidaemia?

Heredity or genetics and/or lifestyle factors can influence a person’s lipid levels. Certain inherited conditions involve genetic alterations in lipoprotein metabolism that affects manufacturing or balance of cholesterol. Pre-existing conditions – e.g., liver or kidney disease, obesity, diabetes, excessive alcohol intake and hypothyroidism – can also cause high lipid levels.

Ideal lipid levels can differ for different people depending on the risk factors involved. People with a family history of high cholesterol or cardiovascular issues may be advised to start checking their lipid levels more regularly. Do discuss with your doctor what your ideal lipid levels should be.

How is dyslipidaemia managed?

Clinicians often recommend lifestyle modifications to manage dyslipidaemia. This can include:

  • Dietary changes
  • Weight management
  • Exercise
  • Smoking cessation
  • Moderate alcohol consumption
  • Drug therapy (e.g. statins, fibrates, niacin, omega 3 fish oils)

Does Ganoderma Lucidum influence Lipidaemia?

What effect does Ganoderma Lucidum have on lipid levels?

Both animal and human studies have found that oral consumption of Ganoderma Lucidum lowers blood lipids (hypolipidaemic effect) and has multiple inhibitory effects that protect against atherosclerosis5–7. An animal study involving oral consumption of both Ganoderma Lucidum triterpenoids and polysaccharides reported lower triglyceride, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels as well as reduced area of aortic plaques; research findings suggest Ganoderma Lucidum extracts may alleviate progression of atherosclerosis and promote healing of early atherosclerotic plaques8.

What effect does Ganoderma Lucidum have on lipid levels?

Some studies also researched how different fractions of Ganoderma Lucidum extracts affect lipid levels:

Effects of polysaccharide peptides of Ganoderma Lucidum9:

The structure of an artery wall
Source: staff

Water (polysaccharide-based) extracted Ganoderma Lucidum10:

  • Reduced total cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL cholesterol levels
  • Increased HDL cholesterol levels
  • Increased enzymatic antioxidative defence to attenuate oxidative stress

Ethanol (triterpenoid-based) extract of Ganoderma Lucidum spores3,7,11:

  • Improved lipid levels in blood and tissues (aorta and liver)
  • Reduced triglyceride, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol levels
  • Increased HDL cholesterol levels
  • Reduced liver lipid accumulation and steatosis
  • Altered composition of gut microbiota
  • Improved antioxidative activity which reduces oxidative stress and protects against endothelial injury
  • Reduced areas of arterial plaques
  • Reduced abnormal increase in intima/medium ratio

How does Ganoderma Lucidum lower lipid levels?

How does Ganoderma Lucidum lower lipid levels?

Research studies suggest several mechanisms by which Ganoderma Lucidum reduces lipid levels in the body:

  • Ganoderma Lucidum triterpenoids reduces cholesterol synthesis in the liver and improves lipid metabolism by modulating specific gut microbiota and regulating genes involved in lipid and cholesterol metabolism3,5,6.
  • Ganoderma Lucidum polysaccharides affect cholesterol absorption and bile acid recycling which contributes to lower cholesterol levels5,6. Increased faecal bile acid content observed with consumption of Ganoderma Lucidum triterpenoids also indicate an enhanced ability of the liver to metabolise cholesterol which results in bile acid excretion11.

Putting it all together…

Existing research findings indicate the therapeutic potentiality of Ganoderma Lucidum as a safe and nontoxic hyperlipidaemia-modulating agent with antioxidative and hypocholesterolaemic effects which are also useful for atherosclerosis prevention3,5,9–11.

  1. World Health Organization. Raised cholesterol.
  2. Ministry of Health Singapore. Disease Burden Statistics for Singapore. Published 2020.
  3. Guo W-L, Pan Y-Y, Li L, Li T-T, Liu B, Lv X-C. Ethanol extract of Ganoderma lucidum ameliorates lipid metabolic disorders and modulates the gut microbiota composition in high-fat diet fed rats. Food Funct. 2018;9(6):3419-3431. doi:10.1039/C8FO00836A
  4. Ministry of Health Singapore. Lipids - MOH Clinical Practice Guidelines 2/2016. Singapore: Kwok Printers Pte Ltd; 2016.
  5. Meng J, Yang B. Protective Effect of Ganoderma (Lingzhi) on Cardiovascular System. In: Lin Z, Yang B, eds. Ganoderma and Health. Singapore: Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd; 2019:181-199. doi:10.1007/978-981-32-9421-9_7
  6. Berger A, Rein D, Kratky E, et al. Cholesterol-lowering properties of Ganoderma lucidum in vitro, ex vivo, and in hamsters and minipigs. Lipids Health Dis. 2004;3:2. doi:10.1186/1476-511X-3-2
  7. He J, Sun Y, Jia Y, et al. Ganoderma triterpenes Protect Against Hyperhomocysteinemia Induced Endothelial-Mesenchymal Transition via TGF-β Signaling Inhibition. Front Physiol. 2019;10. doi:10.3389/fphys.2019.00192
  8. Li Y, Tang J, Gao H, et al. Ganoderma lucidum triterpenoids and polysaccharides attenuate atherosclerotic plaque in high-fat diet rabbits. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2021;31(6):1929-1938. doi:10.1016/j.numecd.2021.03.023
  9. Wihastuti TA, Heriansyah T. The Inhibitory Effects of Polysaccharide Peptides (PsP) of Ganoderma lucidum against Atherosclerosis in Rats with Dyslipidemia. Heart Int. 2017;12(1):heartint.500023. doi:10.5301/heartint.5000234
  10. Rahman MA, Abdullah N, Aminudin N. Evaluation of the Antioxidative and Hypo-cholesterolemic Effects of Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum (Agaricomycetes), in Ameliorating Cardiovascular Disease. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2018;20(10):961-969. doi:10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.2018028370
  11. Lai P, Cao X, Xu Q, et al. Ganoderma lucidum spore ethanol extract attenuates atherosclerosis by regulating lipid metabolism via upregulation of liver X receptor alpha. Pharm Biol. 2020;58(1):760-770. doi:10.1080/13880209.2020.1798471
  12. Murphy K. Cholesterol. Nurs Made Incred Easy!. 2011;9(3):26-34. doi:10.1097/01.NME.0000395996.55396.90

Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational enlightenment and is not designed to diagnose, treat, or cure. Every individual is unique – if you have any health concerns, do discuss them with a medical or health professional.

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