06/05/05 05:28 PM
Fiber's New Role in Type 2 Diabetes

Fiber's New Role in Type 2 Diabetes: Helping Prevent Heart Disease

By Greg Arnold, DC, CSCS, May 3, 2005, abstracted from “Fiber supplements may lower cardiovascular risk in type 2 diabetics” from an American Heart Association press release April 30, 2005.

For the 16 million Americans with Type 2 Diabetes, health complications are numerous and costly, making up much of the $132 billion spent each year to treat type 2 diabetes.1 From the threat of kidney failure to blindness to nerve damage and foot infections and skin problems,2 type 2 diabetes takes a heavy toll on your health.

Now, a new study3 has found that a relatively simple supplement can help prevent heart disease in type 2 diabetics, perhaps the worst health consequence of the condition.

In the study, researchers had 78 participants with type 2 diabetes take 10g to 15g of an over-the-counter fiber supplement in 5-gram doses two to three times daily 5 to 10 minutes before eating. Total blood cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and HDL (“good” cholesterol) were measured at the beginning of the study and at 90 days.

At the end of 90 days, researchers found “remarkable” results. In addition to observing both total cholesterol and triglyceride levels drop more than 14 percent, LDL levels decreased nearly 29 percent and HDL levels increased 21.8 percent. All of these results have been found to help decrease the risk for heart disease.

What’s more, all the subjects taking the fiber were virtually free of side effects.

But perhaps the most important statement of all made by the researchers was the potential for fiber supplementation to be a viable alternative to statin drugs, the most popular class of cholesterol-lowering drugs.

For the researchers, “the study demonstrates that dietary fiber supplements may be an alternative to statins for people with moderately high cholesterol who are unable or unwilling to take statins.”

1 Hogan, P., T. Dall, et al. (2003). "Economic costs of diabetes in the US in 2002." Diabetes Care 26(3): 917-32

2 “Type 2 Diabetes Complications” posted on the American Diabetes Association website

3 “Fiber supplements may lower cardiovascular risk in type 2 diabetics” posted on the American Heart Association website April 30, 2005 www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3030591


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