Long-term blood cholesterol-lowering effects of a dietary fiber supplement

Am J Prev Med. 1999 Jul;17(1):18-23. doi: 10.1016/s0749-3797(99)00039-2.


Background: The study evaluated the blood cholesterol-lowering effects of a dietary supplement of water-soluble fibers (guar gum, pectin) and mostly non-water-soluble fibers (soy fiber, pea fiber, corn bran) in subjects with mild to moderate hypercholesterolemia (LDL cholesterol, 3.37-4.92 mmol/L).

Methods: After stabilization for 9 weeks on a National Cholesterol Education Program Step 1 Diet, subjects were randomly assigned to receive 20 g/d of the fiber supplement (n = 87) or matching placebo (n = 82) for 15 weeks and then receive the fiber supplement for 36 weeks. The efficacy analyses included the 125 subjects (58 fiber; 67 placebo) who were treatment and diet compliant. One hundred two (52 fiber; 50 placebo) completed the 15-week comparative phase. Of these subjects 85 (45 fiber; 40 placebo) elected to continue in the 36-week noncomparative extension phase.

Results: The mean decreases during the 15-week period for LDL cholesterol (LDL-C), total cholesterol (TC), and LDL-C/HDL-C ratio were greater (P < 0.001) in the fiber group. The mean changes from pre-treatment values in LDL-C, TC, and LDL-C/HDL-C ratio for subjects in the fiber group were -0.51 mmol/L (-12.1%), -0.53 mmol/L (-8.5%), and -0.30 (-9.4%), respectively. The corresponding changes in the placebo group were -0.05 mmol/L (-1.3%), -0.05 mmol/L (-0.8%), and 0.05 (1.5%), respectively. The fiber supplement had no significant effects (P > 0.05) on HDL cholesterol (HDL-C), triglyceride, iron, ferritin, or vitamin A or E levels. Similar effects were seen over the subsequent 36-week noncomparative part of the study.

Conclusions: The fiber supplement provided significant and sustained reductions in LDL-C without reducing HDL-C or increasing triglycerides over the 51-week treatment period.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Dietary Fiber / therapeutic use*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / diet therapy*
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / blood
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Cholesterol