Adding fiber to your diet may help lower cholesterol levels

Pamela Egan Practical Practitioner


By: Pamela Egan, FNP-C CDE



Adding fiber to your diet may help lower cholesterol levels


Dear Pam,

I am unable to take statins such as Lipitor or Zorcor for my high cholesterol. I’m already on long-acting Niacin, Vitamin E and Omega-3 fatty acids and walk 30 minutes a day. Is there anything else that I can take?

You’re already doing some very good things to lower your cholesterol. Lifestyle modifications are always the most important. There is a very exciting study just released from the Cleveland Clinic.

It looked at Bios Life 2 (an over-the-counter LDL Lowering Product). This product is a 90 percent soluble fiber product. It also contains folate/B6.

The abstract states that 119 patients were randomized for the trial. All of the patients were required to eat the same low fat diet for the six weeks leading up to the trial and then continue on a controlled diet throughout the trial. This ensured that the patient’ diet would not have been the cause of any difference in serum cholesterol as all of the patients had been following the same diet.

Ninety-nine patients completed the trial, (50 on the Bios Life 2 and 49 on the placebo). Blood work was done at the fourth and the eight-week of the trial. The values obtained from the blood work were then statistically analyzed.

LDL is low density lipoprotein. A lipoprotein substance (combination of a fat and a protein) acts as a carrier for cholesterol and fats in the bloodstream. High levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) are considered a positive risk factor for the development of coronary artery disease. Less than 130mg/dl is desirable, 130 to 159 mg/dl is borderline high, more than 160 is considered high.

The results showed that there was an average diffence in LDL levels of 10.3 percent between the groups.

This is statistically significant and shows the difference being solely attributable to the Bios Life 2.

ApoB (apolipoproteins) are proteins on the surface of the lipoprotein complex that bind to specific enzymes or transport proteins on the cell membranes. ApoB is in LDL (low density lipoprotein). Unlike HDL and LDL measurements (which are indirect), apolipoprotein levels can be measured directly. The results showed a 20 percent reduction in ApoB with treatment.

Homocysteine is an amino acid produced by the body by altering another amino acid.

In a healthy system, homocysteine is usually converted into other amino acids.

Elevelated levels of homocysteine in the blood appear to make for an elevated risk of cardiovascular (heart and vessel) disease.

Homocysteine can damage blood vessels in many ways. It injures the cells that line arteries and stimulates the growth of smooth muscle cells.

Homocysteine can also disrupt normal blood clotting mechanisms, increasing the risk of clots that can bring on a heart attack or stroke. The results showed an 11.2 percent reduction in homocysteine levels in the patients taking Bios Life 2.

TG represents triglycerides. These are the storage units for fat in the body.

Elevations of the triglyceride level (particularly in association with elevated cholesterol) have been correlated with the development of atherosclerosis, an underlying cause of heart disease and stroke.

The results showed that triglycerides were unchanged.

Even that is important as many other methods for lowering serum cholesterol may increase triglyceride levels.

HDL is high density lipoprotein.

Raised high density lipoprotein levels have been correlated with a lower risk for heart disease. Less than 35 mg/dl is considered a positive risk factor for coronary artery disease, over 60 mg/dl is considered a negative risk factor (reduces your risk of heart disease). HDL levels were unchanged. Again, even that is important as many other methods for lowering serum cholesterol may decrease HDL levels.

The simple conclusion is that the Bios Life 2 was effective in the clinical trial. The abstract states that Bios Life 2 should be used for primary prevention of hypercholestremia.

This article was originally published September 9, 2002 in The St. Tammany News. > Health Articles > Nutrition