Food Science and Technology Department


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Functional Foods 7 (2014), pp 709–718. doi 10.1016/j.jff.2013.12.014


Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Used by permission.


The lipid fraction of the grain sorghum whole kernel (GS-WK) (i.e., phytosterol rich oil or policosanol rich wax) responsible for lowering cholesterol in hamsters fed the crude lipid (wax + oil) was determined. As expected, hamsters fed an atherogenic diet for a four week period presented with higher plasma non-HDL plasma and liver esterified cholesterol than those on the low fat diet. However, the atherogenic diet containing 5% (w/w) oil significantly lowered non-HDL plasma and liver cholesterol. Although the 5% wax supplement did not affect either plasma or liver cholesterol, excreted neutral sterol and bile acid were slightly higher than produced by the atherogenic diet. Still, cholesterol excretion negatively correlated with liver cholesterol concentration (r = –0.681, p < 0.001) across diets with the oil fraction producing the greatest impact. These combined results indicate that oil plays the most significant role in modulating cholesterol, most likely by inhibiting absorption, but subtle interactions by the wax may be involved. However, the sorghum oil would be the most potent component to serve as a possible heart health ingredient in functional foods.