Barley beta-glucan reduces serum lipid levels, according to research presented in April 2009 at the First International Congress on Pre-Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome. In the six-week study, 76 men and 79 women with hypercholesterolemia, aged 25 to 73, completed a four-week low fat diet prior to baseline. At the beginning of the trial, test subjects were randomly allocated to one of four treatment groups or a control group and assayed for blood lipids and other cardiovascular disease (CVD) biomarkers. During the course of the study, test groups were administered 3 gram and 5 gram doses of low molecular weight (LMW) or high molecular weight (HMW) barley beta-glucan (from Cargill) twice daily, in cereal and juice.
Post-treatment assessment of blood lipids and other CVD biomarkers revealed improvements in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, markers of glycemic control (glycosylated hemoglobin, HOMA model) and a key marker of inflammation (hs-CRP). The researchers concluded both doses of LMW and HMW barley beta-glucan improved blood lipids over a six-week treatment period.
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