Do Alfalfa Sprouts Lower Cholesterol?

Since having high cholesterol can be readily improved through changing your diet, and eating high cholesterol foods may raise your cholesterol level, a study published in August wanted to find out if: 1. Lowering the cholesterol content in poultry products (eggs, chicken meat) was easy to do by modifying their feed 2. Whether the nutritious component called “saponins” in alfalfa sprouts can lower cholesterol. 

The study states that extensive research has already found that alfalfa saponins can improve performance, immunity, antioxidant/anti-tumour functions, and can reduce cholesterol. These scientists evaluated the effect of putting different amounts of alfalfa saponins in 320 chickens’ feed to see if it changed their cholesterol metabolism.
After eating the basic diet (given most hens in factory farms) with alfalfa saponins added (in amounts of .04%, .08%, .12% of the diet), results showed:
Chickens that got .08% and .12% alfalfa saponins added to their diets significantly decreased overall cholesterol in their blood and liver. This amount of alfalfa saponins also increased HDL (“good” cholesterol) content, significantly decreased LDL (“bad” cholesterol) content, and could help suppress the ability of the chickens’ livers to make cholesterol.
It was not stated whether this would mean that humans consuming the alfalfa-enriched chickens/their eggs would help reduce their cholesterol or whether humans eating alfalfa would reduce their cholesterol, but the study does suggest this.
(Liu T, Li Z, Wang T, Zhu X (2016) “Effects of Alfalfa Saponins on Cholesterol Metabolism ….” J Nutr Food Sci 6:546. August 29, 2016, College of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, China)

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