Fiber May Cut Heart Risk for Diabetes Patients
Study by Maker of Fiber Supplement Shows Improvement in Cholesterol Levels
May 2, 2005 -- Consuming more
A study by the maker of a fiber supplement shows that when people with type
2 diabetes used the supplement for 90 days they improved
their Specifically, the
study showed their total cholesterol, LDL "bad" cholesterol, and triglyceride
levels fell while HDL "good" cholesterol increased.
The findings were reported in Washington, D.C., at the American Heart
Association's Sixth Annual Conference on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and
However, fiber doesn't just come in supplements. It's naturally found in plant foods such
as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and legumes.
The recommended fiber intake is 20-35 grams per day for healthy adults, says
the American Dietetic Association (ADA). Many people don't meet that goal;
average daily fiber intake is 14-15 grams, says the ADA.
Fiber Supplement Study
"The product was designed to fill that gap between the real intake and the
advised intake," says researcher Peter Verdegem, PhD, in a news release.
Verdegem is the chief scientific officer of Utah-based Unicity International,
the maker of the fiber supplement used in the diabetes study.
Verdegem's study included 78 people with type 2 diabetes. They were 59 years
old, on average.
At the start and end of the study, blood samples were taken to measure total
cholesterol, triglycerides (a fat linked to heart disease and diabetes), HDL
"good" cholesterol, and LDL "bad" cholesterol.
For 90 days, the diabetes patients added 10-15 grams of the fiber supplement
to their normal diet. They drank the supplement, called BiosLife 2, in
five-gram doses two to three times daily five to 10 minutes before eating.
The supplement contains both soluble and insoluble fiber from guar gum, gum
arabic, locust bean gum, pectin, and oat fiber dispersed in calcium carbonate;
B-vitamins and chromium are also included.
Other companies also make fiber supplements. Verdegem's study did not
compare different versions, so the results do not indicate which, if any, might
The findings show "clear beneficial effects" in all categories measured, say
the researchers. The heart disease risk factors of the participants improved.
Heart disease is the leading cause of
diabetes-related death, according to the AHA.
Here are the before-and-after results:
- Average total cholesterol: 215 mg/dL before; 184 mg/dL after (14%
- Average triglycerides: 299 mg/dL before; 257 mg/dL after (14%
- Average LDL cholesterol: 129 mg/dL before; 92 mg/dL after (29%
- Average HDL cholesterol: 43 mg/dL before; 55 mg/dL after (22%
The added supplement resulted in improved and near of the participants' blood cholesterol profile.
"With a normal pharmaceutical intervention, you see a decrease in LDL but
not an increase in HDL to these levels," says Verdegem in a news release. "It
is usually only a one-sided effect."
In the news release, Verdegem says the study demonstrates that dietary fiber
supplements may be an alternative to cholesterol-lowering statin drugs for
people with moderately high
cholesterol who are unable or unwilling to take statins.