HEERLEN, NetherlandsNew research shows the consumption of at least 3 g/d of oat beta-glucan can help reduce cholesterol levels. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Oct. 2014; doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.086108.) The study involved lean, overweight and obese male and female adults, with and without type 2 diabetes, across 28 randomized controlled trials.
Lowering cholesterol to reduce cardiovascular risk is an accepted lifestyle modification recommended by European and U.S. guidelines. Health claims regarding the association between cholesterol lowering and soluble fiber from at least 3 g/day oat beta-glucan have been approved by food agencies worldwide, including EFSA and FDA. The cholesterol-lowering effect of oat beta-glucan depends on its viscosity in the small intestine, and therefore its molecular weight. A high molecular weight means it can be released from the food matrix during digestion and form a viscous gel inside the small intestine.
“We now know more about the importance of the physico-chemical properties of oat beta-glucan in determining its ability to reduce cholesterol and blood glucose in humans," said Thomas Wolever, one of the study authors. “Our meta-analysis is the first to take this information into account by only including studies using high molecular weight oat beta-glucan."
Numerous clinical studies with DSM’s OatWell® oat beta-glucan also confirm this positive effect, as well as the EFSA positive opinion. The proven efficacy of OatWell formed the basis of the Article 14 EFSA submission.
A recent paper published in the British Journal of Nutrition looked more closely at the functional properties of oat beta-glucan. The authors reviewed a number of studies using OatWell that demonstrate high viscosity oat beta-glucan can reduce cholesterol and the rise of blood sugar levels after eating. This included oat beta-glucan in food matrices such as oat bran and oat bran cereals.
Previous research shows individuals taking a proprietary baker’s yeast beta-glucan can reduce allergy symptoms and improve the quality of life of ragweed allergy sufferers.