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Background: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women and men. Psyllium, a soluble fiber has been known to reduce serum lipids. In this pilot study, we evaluated whether menopausal status would affect the serum lipid responses to psyllium fiber in women.

Methods: Eleven post-menopausal and eight pre-menopausal women with serum total cholesterol >200 mg/dL were included in the study. Subjects consumed their habitual diet and 15 g psyllium/d for 6 weeks. Psyllium was incorporated into cookies. Each cookie contained ≈5 g of psyllium fiber. Subjects ate one cookie in each meal.

Results: With psyllium fiber, total cholesterol concentration was significantly lower (≈5.2%, P < 0.05) in post-menopausal women but not in pre-menopausal women (≈1.3%). Also, there was a significant decrease in HDL-cholesterol in post-menopausal women (≈10.2%, P < 0.05). There were no significant changes observed in concentrations of LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, apolipoprotein A1, and apolipoprotein B in both pre- and post-menopausal women with psyllium.

Conclusion: In this pilot study, post- and pre-menopausal, hypercholesterolemic women responded differently to psyllium fiber supplementation. Post-menopausal women would benefit from addition of psyllium to their diets in reducing the risk for heart diseases. The results of this study should be used with caution because the study was based on a small sample size.


Originally published in Nutrition Journal vol. 7 2008.

DOI: 10.1186/1475-2891-7-22

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