7 May 2015
A new meta-analysis of 17 randomized controlled trials incorporating 916 subjects assessed the effect of beta-glucan supplementation on subject suffering chronically elevated levels of cholesterol in their blood (hypercholesterolemia) was conducted by Zhu et al. The pooled data showed beta glucan supplementation significantly lowered the total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels in these subjects, though no differences in HDL-cholesterol, blood triglycerides and glucose levels were observed. The results demonstrate that oat beta-glucans supplemented in the diet under the guidance of a doctor can provide an alternative treatment strategy to statins or stanols/sterols to enable normalization of blood cholesterol levels in subject with hypercholesteroleamia. Oat beta glucan is derived directly from milled oats, and hence can be considered a natural alternative without significant side effects.