Studies Find That Palo Azul Helps Maintain Healthy Cholesterol Levels

eggs cholesterol

"Palo azul reduced body weight and cholesterol"

Many articles about palo azul tea mention that it can lower cholesterol, so we did some research and found several studies that support this claim. In summary, the studies found that palo azul's antioxidant property acts as the inhibitory mechanism of LDL cholesterol oxidation and it helped to improve endothelial function, which are key metrics for cardiovascular health.

A 2021 study on palo azul tea showed that "mice treated with the palo azul extract showed significant decrease in fasting blood glucose level and lipid profile (cholesterol)."

Moreover, a 2014 study which corroborated these results concluded that "palo azul reduced blood glucose, body weight and cholesterol.”

 

1. Rich in flavonoids

palo azul and fruits with flavonoids

Numerous studies have also found that palo azul tea is rich in flavonoids and polyphenols, which are natural antioxidant compounds found in plants, vegetables, fruits, and teas. You can learn all about flavonoids here, but in summary...the studies have shown that flavonoids are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-aging and anti-hypertensive.

Because of these properties, a study concluded that “flavonoids in tea may lower blood cholesterol concentrations and blood pressure, thereby providing some protection against cardiovascular disease.” Moreover, the researchers found that the antioxidant property of flavonoids "inhibits LDL (cholesterol) oxidation.” 

gold bar

There's even been randomized studies on the beneficial effects of flavonoids and cholesterol...and these are considered to be the Gold Standard of clinical studies! A 2013 study concluded the following:

"Meta-analyses of randomized trials indicate that the strongest evidence exists for a beneficial effect of green tea on LDL-cholesterol and a beneficial effect of flavan-3-ol-rich cocoa on endothelial function and insulin sensitivity."

This is due to their ability to “inhibit LDL oxidation via a mechanism involving scavenging of free radicals.” The authors of this review established the importance of the oxidation of LDL cholesterol by writing that the “oxidative modification of LDL cholesterol is thought to play a key role during atherosclerosis."

A 2009 study explains the biological mechanisms of flavonoids in lowering cholesterol:

“Flavonoids have been reported to beneficially impact parameters associated with atherosclerosis, including lipoprotein oxidation, blood platelet aggregation, and vascular reactivity. Flavonoids inhibit LDL oxidation via a mechanism involving scavenging of free radicals.”

What is lipoprotein oxidation, blood platelet aggregation and vascular reactivity?

blood platelets

Lipoprotein oxidation triggers inflammation leading to the formation of plaque in the arteries, also known as atherosclerosis. Oxidized LDL may also play a role in increasing the amount of triglycerides the body produces, as well as increasing the amount of fat deposited by the body

Blood platelet aggregation measures how well platelets, a part of blood, clump together and cause blood to clot.

Vascular reactivity is broadly defined as the responsiveness of a blood vessel to a specific stimulus.

In other words...flavonoids can help to promote healthy levels of cholesterol, fat storage, decrease blood clots, and improve blood flow because of their ability to scavenge free radicals.

oxidative stress

A medical review which analyzed 161 studies similarly concluded the following: “Flavonoids can prevent injury caused by free radicals in various ways and one way is the direct scavenging of free radicals. This action protects the LDL particles and, theoretically, flavonoids may have preventive action against atherosclerosis.”

What are free radicals?

Free radicals are atoms with a single valence electron that cause damage to the body associated with diabetes, cancer, aging, atherosclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and many other diseases.

free radicals and oxidative stress formation

This happens because electrons like to be in pairs... and for this reason, free radicals look for "free" electrons in the body. This causes damage to cells, proteins, DNA and these damaged molecules can mutate, grow tumors, and damage the DNA code. Eventually, this cellular damage causes new cells to grow with defects and it will lead to aging and degenerative diseases.

 

2. Improve endothelial function

palo azul vs cardiovascular disease

A medical review which analyzed 166 studies found that the “consumption of flavonoids is associated with improvement in endothelial function via vascular endothelial nitric oxide synthase and protein kinase B (Akt) activation.”

A 2009 review on flavonoids explains that "studies have indicated the protective effects of flavonoids in cardiovascular diseases and these chemicals possess the bioactivity to positively affect against cardiovascular risk factors such as lipoprotein oxidation, dyslipidemia and endothelial dysfunction."

Dyslipidemia is elevation of plasma cholesterol and triglycerides that contribute to the development of atherosclerosis. This essentially means that flavonoids can promote healthy cholesterol levels.

What is endothelial dysfunction?

palo azul vs endothelial dysfunction or clogged arteries

The endothelium is a thin membrane that lines the inside of the heart and blood vessels. Endothelial cells release substances that control vascular relaxation and contraction, as well as enzymes that control blood clotting, immune function, and platelet adhesion.

Endothelial dysfunction has been shown to be important in predicting stroke and heart attacks due to the inability of the arteries to dilate completely. Dysfunction can result from high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and smoking.

A 2020 study explains that "endothelial function is a metric that reflects the production of endothelium-derived messengers that control vascular tone, blood flow, immune cell activity and adhesion, all of which play a role in regulating blood pressure." In other words...Healthy endothelial function = Cardiovascular health.

blood pressure monitor

In fact, the researchers mention that "most markers of inflammation, obesity and cardiovascular risk are connected to endothelial function." Interestingly, they also said that "endothelial dysfunction is the first diagnosable clinical correlate of atherosclerosis."

Finally, they state that "endothelial dysfunction is an early predictor of cardiovascular events or mortality since most cardiovascular diseases are connected to atherosclerosis, which in turn is directly associated with endothelial dysfunction."

Conclusion

In conclusion...palo azul tea and flavonoid rich foods can help to improve endothelial function, which is associated with healthy levels of cholesterol, blood pressure, reduced fat storage and blood clots in the arteries. This is due to flavonoids' ability to inhibit oxidative stress and scavenge free radicals which negatively impact cardiovascular health.

Flavonoid-rich foods: apples, pears, onions, strawberries, blueberries, celery, and teas

applepearsonionsstrawberries and blueberriescelerypalo azul tea cup

 magiktea palo azul logo

Seems like palo azul and flavonoids really are...
Key for health 😉

 

Clinical Studies

* Palo azul is commonly referred to by its scientific name: Eysenhardtia polystachya / E. polystachya / E.P - Cyclolepis genistoides / C. genistoides - kidney wood - palo dulce

 

(October 2021) Minocycline-Derived Silver Nanoparticles for Assessment of Their Antidiabetic Potential against Alloxan-Induced Diabetic Mice

(2013, Dec 29) (Medical review: 166 studies) Chemistry and Biological Activities of Flavonoids: An Overview

(2013, Feb) Dietary flavonoids and the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases: review of recent findings.

(2013, Feb) Dietary flavonoids and the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases: review of recent findings.

(Apr-Jun, 2014) Evaluation of antidiabetic, antioxidant and antiglycating activities of the Eysenhardtia polystachya

(2009) Chapter 18 - Flavonoids and Cardiovascular Health

Cedars Sinai: Endothelial Function Testing