Microdispersed cellulose shows heart benefits: animal study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cholesterol levels, Cholesterol

A dietary supplement containing microdispersed oxidised cellulose may reduce cholesterol levels by about 20 per cent, according to a new study.

Mice consuming a Western diet and supplemented with the microdispersed oxidised cellulose (MDOC) had total cholesterol levels 20 per cent lower than control animals, according to findings published in the journal Nutrition​.

Moreover, HDL cholesterol was boosted by 62 per cent after consuming the cellulose supplement, provided by Ireland’s Alltracel Pharmaceuticals, that also co-funded the study.

“Taking into account the relatively low cost of this product and its specific technologic properties, it could be suitable as a possible source of soluble fiber for use in dietary supplements or functional food development,”​ wrote lead author Gabriela Jamborova from Charles University in the Czech Republic.

High cholesterol levels, hypercholesterolaemia, have a long association with many diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease. CVD causes almost 50 per cent of deaths in Europe, and is reported to cost the EU economy an estimated €169bn ($202bn) per year. According to the American Heart Association, 34.2 per cent of Americans (70.1m people) suffered from some form of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in 2002.

Study details

The researchers used female mice and divided them into two groups: one was fed a Western-type diet, while the other ate the Western-type diet supplements with five per cent MDOC for eight weeks.

At the end of the study, a 20 per cent reduction in total cholesterol levels was observed, in addition to a 21 per cent reduction in very-LDL cholesterol, and a 62 per cent increase in HDL-cholesterol.

The researchers also report that MDOC, shown to contain 60 per cent fibre, did not affect cholesterol absorption in the small intestine.


In an additional study, also with mice, the researchers found that the cholesterol content in the liver was reduced, while fermentation in the gut was increase.

“We suggest that MDOC increases fermentation in the large intestine with the subsequent production of SCFAs (mainly propionate), which in turn inhibits the synthesis of cholesterol in liver,”​ wrote the researchers.

“However, we propose that this mechanism of action of MDOC may be species-/strain-specific to mice, and therefore other studies with MDOC in different species, e.g., rats or guinea pigs, must be preformed to reveal other possible mechanisms of hypolipidemic action of MDOC,”​ they concluded.

The study was funded by the Grant Agency of Charles University in Prague, from the Ministry of Health Care of the Czech Republic, from The Grant Agency of MSM, and by Alltracel Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

Source: Nutrition​ (Elsevier)Published online ahead of print 21 July 2008, doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2008.05.021“Microdispersed Oxidized Cellulose as a novel potential substance with hypolipidemic properties”​Authors: G. Jamborova, N. Pospisilova, V. Semecky, R. Hyspler, A. Ticha, K. Pospechova, D. Solichova, M. Maxova, J. Briestensky, K.J. Real, P. Nachtigal

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