A special Issue ‘New Methodologies in Natural Product Analytics and Structure Elucidation’, J. Molecules, August 2017, publishes the results of a German study by 4 researchers (prof.dr. Peter Müller et al) on the potential of a-Spinasterol, related to cholesterol. Spinasterol is specific for Argan oil and not widely studied in molecular detail. The abstract of their study “The potential of a-Spinasterol to mimic the membrane properties of natural Cholesterol’: “Sterols play a unique role for the structural and dynamical organization of membranes. The current study reports data on the membrane properties of the phytosterol (3β,5α,22E)-stigmasta-7,22-dien-3-β-ol (α-spinasterol), which represents an important component of argan oil and have not been investigated so far in molecular detail. In particular, the impact of α-spinasterol on the structure and organization of lipid membranes was investigated and compared with those of cholesterol. Various membrane parameters such as the molecular packing of the phospholipid fatty acyl chains, the membrane permeability toward polar molecules, and the formation of lateral membrane domains were studied. The experiments were performed on lipid vesicles using methods of NMR spectroscopy and fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy. The results show that α-spinasterol resembles the membrane behavior of cholesterol to some degree.” Cholesterol & Argan oil was also addressed in presentations during the 1st international symposium of the beneficial effects of argan oil on human health, Errachidia, Morocco, May 2017, see our previous post, June 20, 2017. Argan oil supplementation reduces total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides and increases high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, concludes a literature review. This study: ‘The impact of Argan oil on plasma lipids in humans: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials’, j. Phytotherapy Research, November 2017, is conducted by researchers from Romania, Iran, and Poland ( dr. Sorin Ursoniu et al): “The study aims to investigate the effect of argan oil on plasma lipid concentrations through a systematic review of the literature and a meta-analysis of available randomized controlled trials. Randomized controlled trials that investigated the impact of at least 2 weeks of supplementation with argan oil on plasma/serum concentrations of at least 1 of the main lipid parameters were eligible for inclusion. The effect size was expressed as the weighted mean difference (WMD) and 95% confidence interval (95% CI). Meta-analysis of data from 5 eligible trials with 292 participants showed a significant reduction in plasma concentrations of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides after supplementation with argan oil compared with control treatment, and plasma concentrations of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol were found to be increased. Argan oil supplementation reduces total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides and increases high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Additionally, larger clinical trials are needed to assess the impact of argan oil supplementation on other indices of cardiometabolic risk and on the risk of cardiovascular outcomes.” Prof. Dr. Mohamed Eddouks and H. Mourad published “Aqueous extract of argania spinosa fruits ameliorates diabetes in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats”, j. Cardiovascular & Hematological Agents in Medicinal Chemistry, January 2018. “The antihyperglycemic effect of the pericarp ( ‘the wall’) of Argania spinosa fruit has never been evaluated and the purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of a single dose and daily oral administration for seven days of aqueous extract of pericarp of Argania spinosa fruit (A.E.P.F.A.S) in normal and streptozotocin (STZ) diabetic rats. “Single oral administration of A.E.P.F.A.S reduced blood glucose levels p 6 h after administration in STZ diabetic rats. Furthermore, blood glucose levels were decreased in STZ diabetic rats after seven days of treatment. According to the oral glucose tolerance test, the A.E.P.F.A.S. was shown to prevent significantly the increase in blood glucose levels in diabetic treated rats after glucose administration when compared to the control group. Moreover, antioxidant activity was showed and revealed an inhibitory concentration of 50% of free radicals.This study demonstrates antihyperglycemic, lowering plasma cholesterol levels and antioxidant effects of A.E.P.F.A.S. in severe diabetic state. Further investigations are needed to elucidate the mechanism(s) of action of A.E.P.F.A.S. and the active constituent(s) of the extract.” Prof. Dr. Adil El Midaoui and 3 other researchers published ‘Argan oil as an effective nutri-therapeutic agent in Metabolic syndrome: a preclinical study. International j. Of Molecular Sciences, November 2017. “The present study aims at examining the effects of argan oil on the three main cardiovascular risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome (hypertension, insulin resistance, and obesity) and on one of its main complications, neuropathic pain. Male Sprague-Dawley rats had free access to a drinking solution containing 10% d-glucose or tap water for 12 weeks. The effect of argan oil was compared to that of corn oil given daily by gavage during 12 weeks in glucose-fed rats. Glucose-fed rats showed increases in systolic blood pressure, epididymal fat, plasma levels of triglycerides, leptin, glucose and insulin, insulin resistance, tactile and cold allodynia in association with a rise in superoxide anion production and NADPH oxidase activity in the thoracic aorta, epididymal fat, and gastrocnemius muscle. Glucose-fed rats also showed rises in B₁ receptor protein expression in aorta and gastrocnemius muscle. Argan oil prevented or significantly reduced all those anomalies with an induction in plasma adiponectin levels. In contrast, the same treatment with corn oil had a positive impact only on triglycerides, leptin, adiponectin and insulin resistance. These data are the first to suggest that argan oil is an effective nutri-therapeutic agent to prevent the cardiovascular risk factors and complications associated with metabolic syndrome.” Clinical Trials and GRETHA: website www.gretha.ma is under construction. This website is dedicated to the work of GRETHA, (Groupe de Recherches sur les Effets Therapeutiques de l’Huile d’ARGANE), a group of researchers working on the therapeutic effects of argan oil, coordinated by Prof. Dr. Mourad Errasfa. It will list research results, information on clinical trials with Argan oil for patients and healthcare professionals.