Dietary Fiber Is Beneficial for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses

J Chiropr Med. 2017 Dec;16(4):289-299. doi: 10.1016/j.jcm.2017.05.005. Epub 2017 Oct 25.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to review previously published meta-analyses on the effectiveness of dietary fiber on cardiovascular disease.

Methods: An umbrella review of all published meta-analyses was performed. A PubMed search from January 1, 1980, to January 31, 2017, was conducted using the following search strategy: (fiber OR glucan OR psyllium OR fructans) AND (meta-analysis OR systematic review). Only English-language publications that provided quantitative statistical analysis on cardiovascular disease, lipid concentrations, or blood pressure were retrieved.

Results: Thirty-one meta-analyses were retrieved for inclusion in this umbrella review, and all meta-analyses comparing highest versus lowest dietary fiber intake reported statistically significant reductions in the relative risk (RR) of cardiovascular disease mortality (RR = 0.77-0.83), as well as the incidences of cardiovascular disease (RR = 0.72-0.91), coronary heart disease (RR = 0.76-0.93), and stroke (RR = 0.83-0.93). Meta-analyses on supplementation studies using β-glucan or psyllium fibers also reported statistically significant reductions in both total serum and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations.

Conclusion: This review suggests that individuals consuming the highest amounts of dietary fiber intake can significantly reduce their incidence and mortality from cardiovascular disease. Mechanistically, these beneficial effects may be due to dietary fibers' actions on reducing total serum and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations between 9.3 to 14.7 mg/dL and 10.8 to 13.5 mg/dL, respectively.

Keywords: Blood Pressure; Cardiovascular Diseases; Cholesterol; Coronary Heart Disease; Dietary Fiber; Meta-analysis; Stroke.