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Lupin protein positively affects plasma LDL cholesterol and LDL:HDL cholesterol ratio in hypercholesterolemic adults after four weeks of supplementation: a randomized, controlled crossover study

Melanie Bähr1, Anita Fechner1, Julia Krämer1, Michael Kiehntopf2 and Gerhard Jahreis1*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Nutrition, Department of Nutritional Physiology, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Dornburger Str. 24, D-07743, Jena, Germany

2 Institute of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Jena University Hospital, Erlanger Allee 101, D-07747, Jena, Germany

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Nutrition Journal 2013, 12:107  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-107

Published: 1 August 2013



A couple of studies indicate a favorable impact of lupin protein on cardiovascular risk factors in humans. These studies, however, used relatively high doses of > 33 g/d, which can hardly be consumed under physiological conditions. Therefore, we investigated the effect of 25 g/d lupin protein isolate (LPI) on selected cardiovascular markers and on serum amino acids.


A total of 33 hypercholesterolemic subjects participated in a randomized, controlled, double-blind crossover study. LPI and the active comparator milk protein isolate (MPI) were incorporated in protein drinks and consumed over 8 wk separated by a 4 wk washout period. Anthropometric data, blood pressure, and nutrient intake were assessed at baseline and after 8 wk of both protein interventions. Blood was sampled at baseline, wk 4 and wk 8. All 33 subjects were included in final statistical analyses using repeated measures ANOVA with the general linear model or using linear mixed model.


Except for higher HDL cholesterol at wk 4 of LPI (P ≤ 0.036), anthropometric parameters, blood pressure, and plasma lipids did not differ among LPI and MPI intervention. Compared to baseline, the primary outcome LDL cholesterol was significantly reduced after 4 wk of both interventions (P ≤ 0.008), while LDL:HDL cholesterol ratio was decreased only by LPI (P = 0.003). These time effects were restricted to subjects with higher hypercholesterolemia and disappeared after 8 wk. Blood pressure was reduced after 8 wk of LPI (P ≤ 0.044). Almost all serum amino acids were higher at wk 4 but not at wk 8 of MPI compared to LPI. Following 4 wk and 8 wk of LPI intervention, most amino acids remained unchanged. Both interventions caused a slight, but significant rise in body weight and body fat after 8 wk (P ≤ 0.045).


In conclusion, 25 g LPI can beneficially modulate plasma LDL cholesterol at least over short-term. Using appropriate dietetic conditions that improve consumer compliance and avoid changes in energy intake as well as in body composition, lupin protein could positively impact cardiovascular risk factors particularly in individuals with higher hypercholesterolemia.

Trial registration NCT01304992

Human study; Lupin protein; Plasma lipids; Hypercholesterolemic subjects; Serum amino acids