U research identifies enzyme that could reduce risk of cardiovascular disease

Rebecca Harrington

Researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School and School of Public Health have identified an enzyme that can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with low levels of good cholesterol, Science Daily reported.

The enzyme glutathione peroxidase, or GPx3, is a natural antioxidant and low levels of it combined with low levels of good cholesterol affects an estimated 50 million people in the U.S. and can lead to cardiovascular disease, according to the news release.

“In our study, we found that people with high levels of the GPx3 enzyme and low levels of good cholesterol were six times less likely to develop cardiovascular disease than people with low levels of both,” Dr. Jordan Holtzman, lead author and professor of pharmacology and medicine at the Medical School, said in the release. “This GPx3 enzyme gives us a good reason to believe that natural antioxidants like GPx3 are good for heart health.”

The research, published in PLoS One on Friday, could be another blood test to help doctors evaluate patients' risks for cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes.

"It’s important to point out that people should not rush out to their doctors and demand testing for the GPx3 enzyme,” Holtzman said. “But in time, we hope that measuring this enzyme will be a common blood test when determining whether a patient is at risk for cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes.”