Cholesterol levels reduced by barley grass

Studies on the constituents of green juice from young barley leaves. Effect on dietarily induced hypercholesterolemia in rats.

Ohtake, H., Nonaka, S., Sawada, Y., Hagiwara, Y., Hagiwara, H., Kubota, K. 1985. J. Pharm. Soc. Japan. 105:1052-71.

Background:  Many researchers use animal models to try and “mimic” human diseases.  One of the most common models in studying high blood cholesterol levels is in the rat.   High cholesterol levels are induced by feeding rats a diet high in cholesterol.  Then, various drugs or plant extracts are added to the diet to determine if any of these substances are effective in decreasing serum cholesterol.  Often, the whole plant extracts are divided into “fractions” based on some of their chemical and physical characteristics.

Laboratory Studies:  Rats were fed a diet high in cholesterol and then were given various fractions of an extract of young barley leaves.  One fraction contained high levels of β-sitosterol and another similar type of substance (an n-hexacosyl alcohol).

Conclusions:  Both the β-sitosterol and the similar substance were able to lower serum cholesterol levels in these rats by the 9th day of the experiment. The β-sitosterol lowered the serum cholesterol faster—by the 3rd day.  In other words, the β-sitosterol from the barley leaf extract was more effective at lowering serum cholesterol—and it achieved this sooner than did the n-hexacosyl alcohol.