Background: Hypercholesterolemia is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease and nutrition management is the initial therapeutic approach.
Objective: This multicenter study evaluated the long-term effectiveness of psyllium husk fiber as an adjunct to diet in the treatment of persons with primary hypercholesterolemia.
Design: Men and women with hypercholesterolemia were recruited. After following an American Heart Association Step I diet for 8 wk (dietary adaptation phase), eligible subjects with serum LDL-cholesterol concentrations between 3.36 and 4.91 mmol/L were randomly assigned to receive either 5.1 g psyllium or a cellulose placebo twice daily for 26 wk while continuing diet therapy.
Results: Serum total and LDL-cholesterol concentrations were 4.7% and 6.7% lower in the psyllium group than in the placebo group after 24-26 wk (P < 0.001). Other outcome measures did not differ significantly between groups.
Conclusions: Treatment with 5.1 g psyllium twice daily produces significant net reductions in serum total and LDL-cholesterol concentrations in men and women with primary hypercholesterolemia. Psyllium therapy is an effective adjunct to diet therapy and may provide an alternative to drug therapy for some patients.