Source: Am J Clin Nutr, March 2006;
Research: Investigators set out to examine the effects of a beta-glucan–enriched fruit juice on serum lipids and lipoproteins and on markers of cholesterol absorption (serum concentrations of plant sterols) and synthesis (serum concentrations of lathosterol). In addition, they measured effects on lipid-soluble antioxidants. The study population consisted of 47 volunteers who all started the study by drinking 500 ml of a rice starch-enriched (placebo) fruit drink every day for three weeks. After this period, they were randomly assigned to either the placebo group or the group consuming the beta-glucan drink for five weeks.
Results: The differences between the control and beta-glucan groups in the change in serum concentrations of total and LDL cholesterol, respectively, were nearly -5% and -8%. The differences between the groups in the change in serum concentrations of lathosterol and sitosterol were -13% and -11%, re-spectively. No significant effects were found on fat-soluble antioxidants. Researchers concluded that beta-glucan lowers serum concentrations of total and LDL cholesterol when incorporated into a fruit drink. Further, they said reduced cholesterol absorption contributes to the cholesterol-lowering effect of beta-glucan without affecting plasma concentrations of lipid-soluble antioxidants.