Researchers have discovered that a common nutrient found in many foods can potentially blast blood vessel plaques. The nutrient in question is manganese, a metallic element that is essential for our health. It acts as a coenzyme and helps with carbohydrate and fat metabolism, contributes to the proper function of our nerves and brains, and aids in the formation of connective tissue, sex hormones, and bones. While most people obtain enough manganese through their diets, deficiency can lead to various health issues.
A group of researchers from Chinese universities conducted a study using mouse models to examine the effects of manganese on blood vessels. The results showed that manganese not only reduced the lipids that contribute to plaque build-up in the bloodstream but also helped remove existing plaques from the walls of blood vessels. This finding is significant because current medications, such as statin drugs, can only stabilize plaques and prevent their growth but cannot eliminate them once they are established.
The study revealed that manganese disrupts a complex necessary for lipoproteins, which are chemical carriers that transport lipids like cholesterol and triglycerides into the bloodstream. This complex, known as the coat protein complex II (COPII), requires a precise chemical balance that manganese can disturb. Consequently, the researchers observed a significant reduction in lipid concentration and the removal of established plaques in the blood vessels of mice after oral manganese administration.
If these results translate to human subjects, it could open up a new pathway for effectively clearing blood vessel plaques, which are a major contributor to cardiovascular disease. Current treatments aim to stabilize plaques and prevent further growth, but the ability to remove plaques entirely would be a significant advancement in managing cardiovascular health.
Xiao-Wei Chen, the senior author of the study, expressed enthusiasm about manganese’s potential in preventing and treating cardiovascular disease. The researchers are eager to explore the efficacy and safety of manganese and develop more efficient ways to utilize its novel signaling function. The study has been accepted for publication by the journal Life Metabolism.
Overall, this research highlights the potential impact of a common dietary nutrient in improving cardiovascular health by targeting blood vessel plaques. As the least understood essential element, manganese’s role in reducing plaque build-up and removing established plaques could revolutionize current treatment approaches. Further studies on humans are necessary to validate these findings and explore potential therapeutic options.
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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