Effects of an 8-week aerobic exercise program on plasma markers for cholesterol absorption and synthesis in older overweight and obese men

S. Mashnafi, J. Plat, R.P. Mensink, P.J. Joris, J.P.D. Kleinloog, S. Baumgartner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Increased physical activity is inversely related to the risk to develop cardiovascular disease (CVD). In a recent systematic review, it was reported that CVD patients had an increased cholesterol absorption and a decreased synthesis as compared with control participants. As increased physical activity levels reduce CVD risk, we hypothesized that exercise training will reduce cholesterol absorption and increase endogenous cholesterol synthesis in older overweight and obese men.Methods: A randomized, controlled, crossover trial was performed. Seventeen apparently healthy older overweight and obese men were randomized to start with an aerobic exercise or no-exercise control period for 8 weeks, separated by 12 weeks washout. Fasting serum total cholesterol (TC) and non-cholesterol sterol concentrations were measured at baseline, and after 4 and 8 weeks.Results: The aerobic exercise program did not affect serum TC concentrations. In addition, exercise did not affect TC-standardized serum concentrations of sitosterol and cholestanol that are markers for cholesterol absorption. However, a trend for reduced TC-standardized campesterol concentrations, which is another validated marker for cholesterol absorption, was observed as compared with control. Lathosterol concentrations, reflecting cholesterol synthesis, did not differ between both periods.Conclusions: Aerobic exercise training for 8 weeks did not lower serum TC concentrations in older overweight and obese men, but a trend towards a decrease in the cholesterol absorption marker campesterol was found. The cholesterol synthesis marker lathosterol did not change.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112
Number of pages8
JournalLipids in Health and Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2021


  • Aerobic exercise
  • Cholesterol metabolism
  • Cholesterol absorption
  • Cholesterol synthesis
  • Non-cholesterol sterols
  • Plant sterols
  • Cholesterol precursors
  • RISK


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