Fiber supplements may lower cardiovascular risk in type 2 diabetics

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 30 Fiber supplements lower "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and increase "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association's Sixth Annual Conference on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

High blood cholesterol is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of diabetes-related death, according to the American Heart Association. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body can't produce or properly use insulin to turn food into energy.

Supplements that increase dietary fiber reduce blood cholesterol levels in the general population, which prompted researchers at Unicity International in Orem, Utah, to study its effect in people with type 2 diabetes.

"The remarkable observation is that this works on two sides: It decreased LDL and increased HDL by significant amounts at 90 days," said the study's lead author, Peter J. Verdegem, Ph.D., chief science officer at Unicity International. "This approach is virtually free of side effects. It opens up an alternative treatment option."

The study is one of the first to examine the effect of fiber in cardiovascular risk reduction for people with type 2 diabetes, Verdegem said.

The 78 participants in the open label trial had type 2 diabetes and averaged 59 years old. Researchers measured the participants' total blood cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL and HDL at baseline and again at 90 days.

Cholesterol is a soft, waxy fat that the body uses to form cell membranes and perform other important functions. Lipoproteins transport cholesterol through the body. LDL escorts cholesterol through the circulatory system; HDL carries it to the liver where it it can be eliminated.

Elevated cholesterol levels can raise the risk of hard deposits called plaques forming in the arteries, which increases the risk of heart

Contact: Carole Bullock
American Heart Association

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