Soluble fibre (Plantago ovata husk) reduces plasma low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin, oxidised LDL and systolic blood pressure in hypercholesterolaemic patients: A randomised trial

Atherosclerosis. 2010 Aug;211(2):630-7. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2010.03.010. Epub 2010 Mar 17.


The objective was to evaluate whether the soluble fibre Plantago ovata (Po)-husk improves cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk biomarkers including low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C).

Methods: In a multi-centred, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel, randomised trial conducted in primary care-clinics in Spain, France and Holland, mild-moderate hypercholesterolaemic patients (age range: 43-67 years) received 14 g/d of Po-husk (n=126) or placebo (microcrystalline-cellulose 14 g/d; n=128) in a low saturated fat diet for 8 weeks. Subsequently, if LDL-C remained > or = 3.35 mmol/L [130 mg/dL], participants proceeded with the fibre plus simvastatin (20mg/d) for further 8 weeks. Lipid profile, blood pressure (BP), insulin, oxidised LDL and some gene polymorphisms involved in CVD risk were measured.

Results: Relative to placebo, Po-husk reduced plasma LDL-C by -6% (P<0.0002), total cholesterol (TC) by -6%, triglycerides (TG) by -21.6%, apolipoprotein (Apo) B-100 by -6.7%, oxidised LDL by a mean of -6.82 U/L (95%CI: 3.15-10.48), insulin by -4.68 pmol/L (95%CI: 0.68-8.67) and systolic BP by -4.0mm Hg (95%CI; 1.2-6.7) (P<0.05). The TG-lowering effect in the Po-husk group was magnified by variants in plasminogen-activator-inhibitor (PAI-1; rs1799768) and fatty acid-binding protein (FABP-2; rs1799883) genes. At 16 weeks, the intra-group action of simvastatin (20mg/d) added to Po-husk or placebo was a similar LDL-C reduction.

Conclusions: Po-husk, apart from lowering LDL-C, also reduced TG, TG related to certain gene variants, TC, Apo B-100, oxLDL, insulin-resistance and systolic BP in mild-moderate hypercholesterolaemic individuals. Thus, the target patients to receive Po-husk would be those who present a cluster of various CVD risk factors, such as metabolic syndrome.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cholesterol, LDL / metabolism*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / blood*
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Placebos
  • Plantago / metabolism*
  • Simvastatin / administration & dosage
  • Systole
  • Triglycerides / metabolism*


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Insulin
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Placebos
  • Triglycerides
  • oxidized low density lipoprotein
  • Simvastatin