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J Am Coll Nutr. 2002 Oct;21(5):428-33.

A glucomannan and chitosan fiber supplement decreases plasma cholesterol and increases cholesterol excretion in overweight normocholesterolemic humans.

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Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108, USA.



Both chitosan and glucomannan have demonstrated hypocholesterolemic effects. A recent study in rats indicates that the combination of the two is also a potent hypocholesterolemic agent that increases fecal fat excretion. The objective of the present study was to determine the hypocholesterolemic effect of a supplement containing equal amounts of chitosan and glucomannan on blood lipid concentrations and fecal excretion of fat, neutral sterols and bile acids.


Twenty-one overweight normocholesterolemic subjects (11 males and 10 females) were fed 2.4 g/day of a supplement containing equal amounts of chitosan and glucomannan. Prior to taking the supplement (initial period) and after 28 days (final period), blood was drawn for measurement of serum lipids and a three-day fecal sample collected for determination of fat, neutral sterol and bile acid excretion. Subjects maintained their normal dietary and activity patterns during the study.


Caloric intake and intake of fat and dietary fiber (excluding the supplement) did not differ between the initial and final periods. Serum total, HDL and LDL cholesterol concentrations were significantly lower (p < 0.05) in the final period compared to the initial period. Serum triacylglycerol concentration did not change between periods. There was a trend towards greater fecal excretion of neutral sterols and bile acids (p = 0.13 and 0.16, respectively) in the final period. However, fecal fat excretion did not differ between periods.


Serum cholesterol reduction by a chitosan/glucomannan supplement is likely mediated by increased fecal steroid excretion and is not linked to fat excretion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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