Meta-analysis| Volume 25, ISSUE 8, P714-723, August 2015

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Quantitative assessment of the effects of beta-glucan consumption on serum lipid profile and glucose level in hypercholesterolemic subjects


      • This study was to evaluate the effect of beta-glucan on various lipid parameters in hypercholesterolemic subjects.
      • Beta-glucan consumption in hypercholesterolemic population significantly lowered the TC and LDL-cholesterol concentration.
      • No adverse effects were reported among the eligible trials.


      Background & aims

      A growing body of evidence suggests that beta-glucan derived from oats or barley can reduce cardiovascular disease risk through reductions in serum lipids. However, the effects of beta-glucan on lipid changes in hypercholesterolemic patient groups are inconsistent. The objective of this study was to identify and quantify the effect of beta-glucan, a marker of water-soluble fiber, on various lipid parameters and glucose level in hypercholesterolemic subjects.

      Methods and results

      We performed a comprehensive literature search to identify the relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that investigated the effects of beta-glucan consumption in hypercholesterolemic subjects. Mean differences (MDs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated for net changes in lipid concentrations by using fixed-effects or random-effects models according to heterogeneity. Publication bias, sensitivity analysis and subgroup analyses were also performed. Seventeen eligible RCTs with 916 subjects were included in the meta-analysis. The pooled result showed that beta-glucan consumption in hypercholesterolemic population significantly lowered the total cholesterol (TC) (MD, −0.26 mmol/L; 95% CI, −0.33 to −0.18; P < 0.00001) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol concentration (MD, −0.21 mmol/L; 95% CI, −0.27 to −0.14; P < 0.00001). However, there were no significant differences in high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol, triglycerides (TG) and glucose. No adverse effects were reported among the eligible trials.


      Our meta-analysis showed that beta-glucan consumption significantly decreased TC and LDL-cholesterol concentrations but did not affect TG, HDL-cholesterol, and glucose concentrations in hypercholesterolemic subjects.


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