Research Review by Dr. Shawn Thistle©



Study Title:

Dietary fiber and risk of coronary artery disease - A pooled analysis of cohort studies


Periera MA, O' Reilly E, Augustusson K, Graser GE, Goldbourt U, Heitmann BL et al.

Publication Information:

Archives of Internal Medicine 2004; 164: 370-376.


It was the objective of this study to review existing data on dietary fiber and coronary heart disease (CHD) risk, with a special emphasis on subtypes of fiber and the role they play in preventing CHD. It is thought that dietary fiber decreases the risk of CHD via a number of mechanisms including: improving blood lipid (fat) profiles, lowering blood pressure, improving the body's response to insulin and increasing fibrinolytic activity (to prevent clot formation in the coronary arteries).

Inverse associations between fiber intake and CHD risk is well reported, but the magnitude of this relationship is still in question. Data from 10 prospective cohort studies from the United States and Europe were included in the study - resulting in data from > 90 000 men and > 245 000 women (greater than 2.5 million person-years of follow-up).

After adjusting for demographic variables, body mass index and lifestyle factors, each 10 gram per day increment of dietary fiber intake was associated with a 14% decrease in risk of coronary events and a 27% decrease in the risk of death from CHD. Intake of both soluble and insoluble fiber was associated with a lower risk of CHD, but a stronger protective benefit seems to come from soluble fiber.

Conclusions & Practical Application:

Soluble fiber is easy to get from fruit and whole grain cereal sources. As evidenced by the results of this study - even small dietary changes that incorporate more fiber into the diet can have substantial protective effects from coronary heart disease. The source of fiber (whether fruit, cereal, whole grains etc.) does not seem to be as important as increasing fiber intake in general. new exercise program.

As always, consult your healthcare professional before adding any dietary supplement to your plan.