International Health News

Psyllium benefits diabetics

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY. Psyllium is a viscous, mostly water-soluble fiber obtained by mechanical removal of the husk from Plantago ovata seeds. Psyllium fiber preparations have a long history of use as laxatives and there is also evidence that they may be useful as cholesterol-lowering agents and for improving glucose control in non-diabetic individuals.

Researchers at the University of Kentucky now report that psyllium fiber is highly effective in reducing cholesterol levels and improving glycemic control in patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. Their experiment involved 34 diabetic men with moderately high cholesterol levels. The men were randomly assigned to receive either 5.1 grams of psyllium (Metamucil) or 5.1 grams of cellulose placebo taken 20-30 minutes before the morning and evening meals. The participants had their cholesterol and blood glucose levels evaluated at the start of the study and after eight weeks of supplementation. The evaluations were performed during a three-day stay in a metabolic ward. The patients consumed a standard diabetic diet (less than 30 per cent of total energy as fat, less than 10 per cent of energy as saturated fat, and 55 per cent or more as carbohydrate) throughout the experiment.

Analysis of the data collected during the study showed that the patients in the psyllium group had improved their glucose control very considerably when compared to the placebo group. This improvement was particularly noticeable in the measurement of blood glucose after lunch. In the psyllium group there was a 4.2 per cent decrease in post-lunch glucose concentration in week eight as compared to baseline (week 0). In comparison, the post- lunch glucose level increased by 12.7 per cent in the placebo group over the test period. Cholesterol levels were also lower in the psyllium group after eight weeks of supplementation, 8.9 per cent for total cholesterol, and 13 per cent for LDL cholesterol when compared to the placebo group.

The researchers conclude that addition of psyllium to the diet is safe and well-tolerated and significantly improves glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes while at the same time lowering LDL and total cholesterol levels. NOTE: This study was supported by the Procter & Gamble Co., makers of Metamucil.
Anderson, James W., et al. Effects of psyllium on glucose and serum lipid responses in men with type 2 diabetes and hypercholesterolemia. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 70, October 1999, pp. 466-73

category search
Keyword Search

My favourite Supplements

copyright notice