Aims: We aimed to assess the effects of psyllium supplementation on insulin sensitivity and other parameters of the metabolic syndrome in an at risk adolescent population.
Methods: This study encompassed a participant-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial. Subjects were 47 healthy adolescent males aged 15-16 years, recruited from secondary schools in lower socio-economic areas with high rates of obesity. Participants received 6 g/day of psyllium or placebo for 6 weeks, with a two-week washout before crossing over. Fasting lipid profiles, ambulatory blood pressure, auxological data, body composition, activity levels, and three-day food records were collected at baseline and after each 6-week intervention. Insulin sensitivity was measured by the Matsuda method using glucose and insulin values from an oral glucose tolerance test.
Results: 45 subjects completed the study, and compliance was very high: 87% of participants took >80% of prescribed capsules. At baseline, 44% of subjects were overweight or obese. 28% had decreased insulin sensitivity, but none had impaired glucose tolerance. Fibre supplementation led to a 4% reduction in android fat to gynoid fat ratio (p = 0.019), as well as a 0.12 mmol/l (6%) reduction in LDL cholesterol (p = 0.042). No associated adverse events were recorded.
Conclusions: Dietary supplementation with 6 g/day of psyllium over 6 weeks improves fat distribution and lipid profile (parameters of the metabolic syndrome) in an at risk population of adolescent males.
Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12609000888268.