Unravelling the Impact of Diet on Cardiovascular Health in Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia. (FH-Diet)

  • End date
    Dec 31, 2026
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Laval University
Updated on 23 March 2022
cardiovascular disease
cholesterol level
cholesterol measurement
Accepts healthy volunteers


The investigators will first conduct a fully controlled dietary randomized crossover trial (RCT) including 72 adults with HeFH to investigate the impact of a diet low in red and processed meats and high in plant foods, reflecting Canada's Food Guide, in place of a standard North-American diet on LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) levels and the plasma metabolome. Such a robust design will also lead to the identification an objective proxy to healthy diet adherence: the metabolomic signature. Secondly, by leveraging the unique resources of the ECOGENE-21 cohort, which includes 963 adults with HeFH, the investigators will evaluate the relationship between the metabolomic signature of the healthy diet and cardiovascular disease risk to determine how objective adherence to a healthy diet is associated with cardiovascular disease outcomes in HeFH.


The research combines a dietary RCT (objectives 1, 2) and a cohort investigation (objective 3), both including adults with genetically-defined HeFH and free of lipid-lowering medication (i.e. untreated or withdrawn from medication).

The dietary intervention will be undertaken as a crossover RCT at the Institute on nutrition and functional foods (INAF, Laval University) in Quebec City. Participants (men and women with genetically-defined HeFH) will consume in a random order a fully-controlled diet low in red and processed meats and high in plant foods, reflecting Canada's Food Guide principles (CFG diet in further sections), and a standard North American diet (NAD diet; i.e. control diet), reflecting current dietary intakes of French-Canadians, for 4 weeks each, and separated by a 4-week washout period.

Once enrolled, participants will enter a 4-week run-in period at the beginning of which they will stop taking their lipid-lowering medication for the study duration (16 weeks). Other medications (e.g. anti-hypertensive drugs, oral contraceptives) will be allowed, but doses will have to remain constant during the study. At the end of the run-in, participants will provide a blood sample and complete a self-administered, validated web-based food-frequency questionnaire. Participants will be randomly assigned to either the CFG-NAD or NAD-CFG diet sequence, using a computer-assisted program. The randomization (1:1) will be stratified by sex and LDL-receptor (LDLR) genotype in 5 blocks of 16 subjects. The two diets will be consumed for 4 weeks and separated by a 4-week washout period. During diet phases, all meals and foods will be provided to ensure optimal diet control using a 7-day cyclic menu. The CFG diet emphasizes low intakes of red and processed meats and high intakes of minimally processed plant foods with water as the drink of choice, as per Canada's Food Guide. The NAD diet reflects current dietary intakes of the French-Canadian adult population in terms of foods, nutrients, and diet quality, as characterized in recent surveys conducted in an ageand a sex-representative sample of adults from the Province of Quebec. An experienced food technician will prepare the diets. Each food and ingredient will be weighed with a precision of ±0.1 g.

On weekdays, subjects will visit INAF Clinical Research Unit to consume their lunch meal under the research coordinator's supervision. At that time, they will also be given their evening meals and the next day's packaged breakfast to take home. Weekend meals will be provided at the Friday visits. A checklist will be provided to all participants to identify the consumed foods.Alcohol, vitamin supplements, and natural health products will not be allowed. Tea and coffee (black) will be allowed (≤2 servings/day without daily fluctuations). Participants will be instructed to maintain their usual physical activity level. At the end of each diet, fasting plasma samples will be collected in ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) tubes. Parts of the samples will be stored at -80℃ for future ancillary analyses. Participants' anthropometry, body composition (DEXA scan), and blood pressure will be measured. To incorporate gender aspects associated with the intervention in knowledge transfer activities, subjects' appreciation of the diets will be assessed using visual analog scales filled after each meal on day 7 and 28 of each diet.

Objective 1: To investigate the impact of a diet low in red and processed meats and high in plant foods in place of a standard North American diet on LDL-C concentrations - the primary treatment target in HeFH management. This objective will output a convincing demonstration of the cholesterol-lowering effects of diet in adults with HeFH, supporting the effectiveness of dietary interventions in HeFH management. Investigators will compare post-diet LDL-C levels (primary outcome) using mixed models for repeated measures.

Objective 2: To assess the impact of a diet low in red and processed meats and high in plant foods in place of a standard North American diet on the plasma metabolome. This objective serves a dual purpose as it will: 1. inform on the dietary impact on systemic metabolism, beyond its impact on LDL-C levels, further supporting the importance of healthy dietary habits in HeFH; and 2. allow the identification of an unbiased HeFH-specific plasma metabolomic signature of a diet low in red and processed meats and high in plant foods to be used as an objective proxy of diet adherence. To document post-diet differences in plasma metabolome and identify the metabolomic signature of the CFG diet, investigators will derive a reproducible multi-metabolite model discriminating the post-CFG/post-NAD metabolomic profiles.

Objective 3: To evaluate the association between the plasma metabolomic signature of a diet low in red and processed meats and high in plant foods and cardiovascular disease risk. The metabolomic signature will allow to infer how objective adherence to a healthy diet is associated with cardiovascular disease risk in a distinct, large cohort of free-living adults with HeFH. This will provide an innovative demonstration of the role of diet in long-term cardiovascular disease prevention in adults with HeFH, further supporting the importance of a healthy diet in this high-risk population. To evaluate the association between the plasma metabolomic signature of the healthy CFG diet and cardiovascular disease risk in adults with HeFH, investigators will leverage unique resources of the ECOGENE-21 FH cohort. Participants were recruited at the Chicoutimi Hospital Lipid Clinic. To be included, participants had to be a carrier of a mutation in the LDLR gene and aged 18 to 60 years. Upon recruitment, participants underwent a complete clinical assessment and fasting blood samples were collected in EDTA tubes. Investigators will include the 963 untreated (i.e., never used lipid-lowering medication) adults with HeFH at the moment of plasma sampling. Of those, 295 had a personal history of cardiovascular disease. Investigators will fit and standardize the CFG multi-metabolite model (signature) to the ECOGENE-21 metabolomic data. The relationship between the CFG multi-metabolite model (independent variable) and cardiovascular disease risk will be assessed using logistic regressions.

Results will fill key gaps on the short- and long-term influence of diet on cardiovascular health in HeFH.

Condition Familial Hypercholesterolemia, Nutrition, Healthy, Cholesterol, Elevated, Cholesterol; Metabolic Disorder, Cardiovascular Diseases
Treatment Canada's Food Guide principles (CFG diet), Standard North American diet (NAD diet)
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT05181553
SponsorLaval University
Last Modified on23 March 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Genetically-defined HeFH
Premenopausal women with a regular menstrual cycle for >3 months
Postmenopausal women (without hormone replacement)

Exclusion Criteria

Any cardiovascular disease-risk exacerbating conditions (age >60 years, homozygous FH, personal history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes/anti-diabetic drug use, severe obesity, unstable body weight for >3 months, uncontrolled hypertension, genetic hypertriglyceridemia)
Allergies/aversions to components of the experimental diets
Any condition that would interfere with optimal participation in the intervention
Clear my responses

How to participate?

Step 1 Connect with a study center
What happens next?
  • You can expect the study team to contact you via email or phone in the next few days.
  • Sign up as volunteer to help accelerate the development of new treatments and to get notified about similar trials.

You are contacting

Investigator Avatar

Primary Contact



Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

Learn more

If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

Learn more

Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

Learn more

Similar trials to consider


Browse trials for

Not finding what you're looking for?

Every year hundreds of thousands of volunteers step forward to participate in research. Sign up as a volunteer and receive email notifications when clinical trials are posted in the medical category of interest to you.

Sign up as volunteer

user name

Added by • 



Reply by • Private

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur, adipisicing elit. Ipsa vel nobis alias. Quae eveniet velit voluptate quo doloribus maxime et dicta in sequi, corporis quod. Ea, dolor eius? Dolore, vel!

  The passcode will expire in None.

No annotations made yet

Add a private note
  • abc Select a piece of text from the left.
  • Add notes visible only to you.
  • Send it to people through a passcode protected link.
Add a private note