When, in 1997, the FDA determined that diets high in oat bran and low in fat may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by lowering total and LDL ('bad') cholesterol levels, it said that the greater the intestinal viscosity of an oat-based product, the greater its ability to lower the risk of coronary heart disease.
For the study, Dr Daniel Gallaher measured the intestinal viscosity of OatVantage concentrated oat soluble fiber and a cellulose control in male rats.
He found that Nurture's product delivered almost 4000 percent more intestinal viscosity than the cellulose, and 48 percent more than cooked oatmeal, the next best commercial product.
Dr Gallaher also observed a 29 percent decrease in cholesterol in the OatVantage group.
"The study confirms that the millions of dollars we have invested in research and development have paid off in creating an effective tool in the fight against coronary heart disease - the leading cause of death in this country," said H Griffith Parker, chairman of Nurture.
OatVantage is said to contain 54 per cent beta-glucan by weight, compared with 12 to 20 per cent in other concentrated products. It can be used in encapsulation and tableting, semi-solid and solid foods and beverages, functional foods, nutraceuticals and dietary supplements. It is also water soluble. According to the company, it is an easy way for consumers to meet the FDA's recommendation of consuming three grams of oat soluble fiber per day to reduce the risk of heart disease - which equates to about three bowls of instant oatmeal.
Beyond lowering cholesterol, it is also said to help manage blood sugar levels and decrease appetite (thereby helping to manage weight), both of which have a beneficial knock-on effect for the whole cardiovascular system.
More than 100 million American adults have elevated cholesterol, but for those with 'borderline high' cholesterol of between 200 - 240 mg/dL health care professionals encouraging patents to lower their cholesterol through diet and exercise rather than prescribing drugs.