Grape fibre beats other fibres for heart benefits: study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Antioxidant-rich fibres from red grape may reduce risk factors for
cardiovascular disease more than other fibre sources, suggests new
research from Spain.

Cholesterol levels were cut by nine percent, and LDL (bad) cholesterol by a similar amount after 34 subjects received a daily grape antioxidant dietary fibre supplement for 16 weeks, according to results of the randomised, controlled parallel-group trial published in the journal Nutrition​. Moreover, blood pressure was reduced by about 5 per cent as a result of the grape supplements, report the researchers from Universidad Complutense de Madrid. "Grape antioxidant dietary fibre showed significant reducing effects in lipid profile and blood pressure. The effects appear to be higher than the ones caused by other dietary fibres, such as oat fibre or psyllium, probably due to the combined effect of dietary fibre and antioxidants,"​ wrote lead author Jara Perez Jimenez. The results suggest the antioxidant-rich fibre could be an interesting ingredient for the growing heart health market. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) causes almost 50 per cent of deaths in Europe, and is reported to cost the EU economy about €169bn ($202bn) per year. Study details ​ Perez Jimenez and co-workers recruited 21 subjects with normal cholesterol levels (normocholesterolemic) and 13 people with high cholesterol levels (hypercholesterolemic), and assigned them to receive a daily supplement of 7.5 grams of grape antioxidant dietary fibre, giving a daily dietary fibre dose of 5.25 grams and a daily polyphenol dose of 1400 mg. A control/ comparison group of nine non-smokers not given the grape fibre supplement was also included in the trial. At the end of 16 weeks of intervention, in addition to the overall cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol reductions (both nine per cent), the hypercholesterolemic subjects were found to experience greater benefits, with total and LDL cholesterol reduction of 14.2 and 11.6 per cent, respectively, in this subgroup. Additionally, this subgroup also exhibited an 18.6 per cent reduction in blood triacylglycerol levels, added Perez Jimenez and co-workers. Mechanism ​ Commenting on the potential mechanism, the researchers stated that the combination of dietary fibre and antioxidants in the grape ingredient may explain why the potential benefits exceed those previously reported for oat fibre or psyllium. "Grape antioxidant dietary fibre contains relatively large amounts of proanthocyanidins (condensed tannins), which are partially bioavailable in the small intestine, but a major part reach the colon, where they may provide a high antioxidant status,"​ stated the researchers. "The daily intake of dietary fibre in Western countries is estimated at about 20 g. The incorporation of 7.5 g/d of GADF in a usual diet would provide a dietary fibre intake closer to the current recommendations (25-30 g/d), along with an appreciable amount of polyphenols. "This amount of polyphenols in a dose of 7.5 of GADF (1.44 g) would increase the daily intake of polyphenols by 50 per cent in the Mediterranean Spanish diet,"​ they added. "Further research on the relative contributions of fibers and flavonoids to prevent cardiovascular disease is needed,"​ concluded Perez Jimenez. Source: Nutrition​ (Elsevier) Published online ahead of print 15 May 2008, doi: "Effects of grape antioxidant dietary fiber in cardiovascular disease risk factors" ​Authors: J. Perez Jimenez, J. Serrano, M. Tabernero, S. Arranz, M.E. Diaz-Rubio, L. Garcia-Diz, I. Goni, F. Saura-Calixto

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