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The Fibre and Cholesterol Link: How to Naturally Lower Your Cholesterol Number

Friday September 28, 2018

A recent compilation of trials published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition highlights the therapeutic potential of a natural nutrient on heart health (1)

More than half of UK adults have a high cholesterol number, which, if not managed, can increase the risk of cardiovascular illnesses down the line (2). Low density lipoproteins (LDL) and high density lipoproteins (HDL) are the two main carriers of cholesterol in the body. 


When LDL and HDL are not in balance, it can increase the risk of fatty deposits in the blood vessels impeding blood flow. Psyllium fibre, found from the husks of the Plantago ovata plant seed, has been shown to lower LDL in research, potentially promoting cardiovascular health (1)



E. Jovanovski et. al from the University of Toronto, Canada, investigated the effects of psyllium supplementation on cardiovascular markers. The meta-analysis (review of trials) included 28 individual studies, where the average dose given was 10.2g psyllium per day for 3-52 weeks.
After pooling the findings, it was observed that psyllium fibre significantly lowered LDL and non-HDL cholesterol (-0.33mmol/L) compared to placebo.  Therefore, psyllium fibre can lower the risk of fatty plaque formation as it improves conventional blood lipid markers.

It is suggested by researchers at the University of Toronto that fibre may improve blood lipid markers by promoting bile acid binding to fat for metabolism. Furthermore, fibre increases colonic fermentation, which can produce short-chain-fatty-acids that can help with cholesterol regulation.

Although fibre can support cardiovascular health, variation of intervention duration and fibre concentration is a limitation noted by the researchers of this meta-analysis. Therefore, further evidence to establish the optimal dose of fibre to induce this effect on cholesterol is a necessary future step. Nonetheless, fibre is an exceptional dietary component that can promote general health and wellbeing.


Author: Salma Dawood is a Technical Advisor at Viridian Nutrition. She holds a BSc honours degree in Human Nutrition.


1)      Elena Jovanovski, Shahen Yashpal, Allison Komishon, Andreea Zurbau, Sonia Blanco Mejia, Hoang Vi Thanh Ho, Dandan Li, John Sievenpiper, Lea Duvnjak, Vladimir Vuksan (2018) Effect of psyllium (Plantago ovata) fiber on LDL cholesterol and alternative lipid targets, non-HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, ,nqy115,

2)      Heart UK, Key Facts and Figures


The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.


TAGS: Nutrition News and ViewsCardiovascular health


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