Could This Natural Sugar Prevent Clogged Arteries?
A new animal study suggests a type of natural sugar called trehalose can reduce the risk for atherosclerosis—arterial plaque buildup that can lead to heart attack and stroke. Trehalose, which is made up of two glucose molecules, is widely used throughout the world and is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Results of the study, which were published in Nature Communications, show that trehalose can boost the ability of white blood cells called macrophages to breakdown harmful substances—excess fat, damaged cell structures, arterial plaques, and waste products, for example—and remove them from the body.
For the study, researchers genetically modified animal subjects to develop atherosclerosis. They injected one group with trehalose and fed trehalose and other sugars to other groups. In animals injected with trehalose, plaques were reduced by about 30 percent. According to researchers, trehalose could one day become an effective treatment for atherosclerosis.