Experiment 3 (Cholesterol)

Differences in cholesterol resulting from softshell turtle egg powder and ordinary food

 Research and Experimentation: Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Musashino University

Experiment

Three-month old rats (three individuals) were given ordinary food, ordinary food supplemented with chicken egg, and food containing 1% softshell turtle egg powder for a period of three months each, after which their cholesterol levels were measured.

Results of the experiment

You often hear of eggs having high levels of cholesterol or of causing high cholesterol levels in the body. However, in truth, as shown in the figure, eggs are not particularly high-cholesterol foods. The reason is that eggs themselves contain components that actually lower cholesterol, and softshell turtle eggs in particular are thought to be rich in those components. The results of the experiment were as follows. Softshell turtle egg powder yielded far lower levels of total cholesterol than the other foods. It also exhibited the largest amount of "good" cholesterol and lowest amount of "bad" cholesterol. Especially when compared with chicken eggs, which yielded high levels of total cholesterol and bad cholesterol, this experiment demonstrates just how close to an ideal food softshell turtle eggs are.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is often misunderstood. Cholesterol is not a bad thing in itself. In fact, together with phospholipids, it is an important component of cell membranes. Furthermore, cholesterol that is consumed directly rarely affects the levels of cholesterol in the blood. For many years the perception has been that "Cholesterol is bad for you." Recent advances in nutritional science, however, have revealed that it is not nearly that simple. Cholesterol is a type of beneficial fatty acid that is a precursor of cell membrane bile acids, various hormones, and vitamin D. It is actually essential for maintaining a healthy body. Cholesterol can be ingested through ordinary meals, but far more is synthesized by the liver and small intestines. Many people know that HDL is "good" cholesterol and LDL is "bad" cholesterol, but it should be understood that neither is inherently good or bad. They both serve vital roles. The amount you get and the balance of the two is what is important.