Fiber Supplementation May Aid Blood Sugar and Lipid Management
Previous studies have associated higher fiber intake with reduced risk of chronic diseases. A recent study suggests that taking fiber supplements may also help with weight loss and lowering blood sugar in overweight and obese people.
The participants were split into three groups: a control group that took rice flour; a group that took a complex fiber made of natural and highly viscous polysaccharides called Polyglycoplex (PGX); and a group that took psyllium fiber (PSY). Each group had 53 participants at the onset of the study and all of them were instructed to follow their usual diet and exercise patterns, but to consume 5 grams of their assigned intervention before meals.
The researchers measured the participants’ weight, height, and waist and hip circumference at the beginning of the study. Additionally, all of the participants completed three-day food and drink diaries at the onset of the study, and then again at the three, six, and 12 month marks.
After three months, there were 127 participants still in the trial. After six months, the number dropped to 108 and at 12 months it was down to 93.
The researchers found that total cholesterol levels for the PGX and PSY groups were significantly lower at the three and six month points (8.2% and 5.5%, respectively), when compared with baseline. The PSY group also had lower cholesterol levels at three and six months — 7% and 5.3%, respectively. HDL cholesterol was lower in the PSY group at three months, when compared with baseline, but was higher in the PGX at 12 months, when compared with the control group. Both the PGX and PSY groups had reductions in LDL cholesterol at the three, six, and 12-month marks, although the reductions were less at the 12 month point.
The PGX group showed consistently lower fasting glucose levels at the three, six, and twelve-month marks, compared to the PSY and control groups. Both the PSY and PGX groups showed weight loss.
While both groups showed improved cholesterol and blood sugar levels, overall the PGX supplement had a greater effect. The researchers believe that the high viscosity of PGX may have resulted in decreased food intake, which led to weight loss and lipid and glucose reductions.
Researchers from Curtin University in Australia led the study. It was published on January 29, 2017, in the journal Nutrients.
There are two type of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Both psyllium and PGX are soluble fibers. Previous studies have linked fiber consumption with lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, and regulating blood sugar for people with diabetes. Psyllium fiber can be found in cereals and wheats.