Vinegars but not acetic acid are effective in reducing plasma cholesterol in hamsters fed a high-cholesterol diet
The present study compares the effect of two types of vinegars, Balsamic vinegar of Modena (BV) and Chinese Shanxi vinegar (SV), with acetic acid on plasma cholesterol using hamsters as a model. Hamsters (n = 40) were divided into five groups (n = 8 each) with two control groups being fed a low-cholesterol diet (LCD) or a high-cholesterol diet containing 0.2% cholesterol (HCD). The three experimental groups were given a HCD diet and gavaged with 8 ml of BV, SV, and acetic acid solution (AC) per kg body weight, respectively. Acetic acid in BV, SV, and AC solutions was adjusted with water to be 20 mg ml−1. The whole experiment lasted for 9 weeks. Plasma total cholesterol (TC) in BV and SV groups but not in the AC group was reduced by 17% and 20%, respectively, compared with that in HCD hamsters. BV and SV significantly reduced cholesterol in the liver and increased the fecal excretion of neutral sterols and bile acids. Real-time PCR analysis demonstrated that BV and SV significantly up-regulated the mRNA of cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase (CYP7A1) in the liver. In conclusion, BV and SV but not AC were effective in reducing plasma TC and non-HDL-C concentrations at least in hypercholesterolemic hamsters.