The study, published in Nutrients, was conducted by researchers from Chonbuk National University Hospital.
Korean dang-gui is widely used for improving diabetic hypertension, improving blood circulation, as well as exhibiting anti-diabetic properties. This particularly study used the Korean dang-gui made by Wellness Up Research, a supplement firm from South Korea.
The study recruited 100 subjects who had fasting blood triglyceride level in the normal (130 mg/dL) to high range (200 mg/dL).
For 12 weeks, the intervention group took 200mg of the Korean dang-gui extract each day, while the control group took placebo.
Their triglyceride and lipid profiles were then measured.
Overall, there were no differences in the total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels between the intervention and control group.
However, compared to the control group, the intervention group had a reduced level of triglyceride (TG) and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-C) concentration – which contains mainly triglyceride.
For example, their triglyceride had dropped from a mean baseline of 158.2mg/dL to 143.4mg/dL, while that of the control group increased from 159.4mg/dL to 179.4mg/dL.
Their VLDL-C concentration also dropped from 31.6mg/dL to 28.7mg/dL, while that of the control group increased from 31.9mg/dL to 35.9mg/dL instead.
Another indicator of the triglyceride-reducing characteristic of the Korean dang-gui is its ability to reduce triglyceride to high density lipoprotein (TG/HDL-C) ratio.
For instance, the TG/HDL-C ratio decreased from 3.23 to 2.87 in the intervention group, while that of the control group increased from 3.34 to 3.87.
This is crucial as a high TG/HDL-C ratio indicates a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
“These results suggest that the ingestion of gigas nakai extract may improve triglyceride levels and be useful to manage or prevent hypertriglyceridemia,” the researchers concluded.
The researchers hypothesised that two compounds in Korean dang-gui, decursin and decursinol angelate, have played a role in suppressing fat formation.
The two compounds were able to do so by activating the Sirt1-AMPK signalling. They
also reduced triglyceride level by accelerating the beta-oxidation of fatty acids.
Strength and limitations
As the subjects were required to follow a standard diet before screening, the compounding effects of dietary factors on triglyceride levels were thus minimised.
However, the researchers also acknowledged a number of limitations with the study, including a small number of participants, which in turn affect the generalisability of the results.
Also, because there were no significant changes in the other blood lipid profiles (TC, LDL-C, and HDL-C) in the intervention group, there is thus a need for future study to validate the efficacy of Korean dang-gui in the long term.
A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial Assessing the Effects of Angelica Gigas Nakai Extract on Blood Triglycerides
Authors: Su-Jin Jung, Woo-Rim Kim, and et al