Although there are quite a few studies that have examined the effect of amaranth consumption on cholesterol levels, few studies have looked at the cholesterol-lowering benefits of amaranth in humans. Most studies have involved animals—including rabbits, rats, and hamsters—that were given amaranth in their daily diet. Additionally, these small studies have only looked at a few species of amaranth, mainly A cruentus and A hypochondriacus, which are a couple of the more common species of amaranth included in foods and found in your local grocery store.
There were also a variety of forms of amaranth used in these studies, most commonly, amaranth seeds and the oils extracted from them.
Small-scale animal studies revealed that introducing amaranth seeds into their daily diets resulted in LDL cholesterol being lowered by between 10% and 50% and total cholesterol levels were lowered by up to 50% in studies.
Triglycerides were only slightly lowered in these studies, with the highest drop occurring by 17%. HDL, on the other hand, did not appear to be significantly increased in the animal studies.
In the few human studies conducted, only amaranth oil has been investigated. It was found that including up to 18 mL of amaranth oil for three weeks reduced LDL cholesterol by as much as 25% and total cholesterol by about 20%. Triglycerides were also lowered by up to 36%. In these studies, individuals also followed a heart-healthy diet, and one study found that no additional cholesterol-lowering benefit was noted when amaranth was added onto this healthy diet. As with the animal studies, amaranth did not appear to significantly affect HDL levels.