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J Nutr. 2003 Feb;133(2):468-75.

Beta-glucan fractions from barley and oats are similarly antiatherogenic in hypercholesterolemic Syrian golden hamsters.

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Cargill Health and Food Technologies, Wayzata, MN 55391, USA.


The cholesterol-lowering activities of oats and barley are commonly attributed to the beta-glucan fractions. Although beta-glucan is present in both grains and appears to be chemically similar, the effect of source on cholesterol-lowering activity has not been evaluated. In the present study, the antiatherogenic properties of beta-glucan concentrates from oats and barley were evaluated in Syrian golden F(1)B hamsters consuming a semipurified hypercholesterolemic diet (HCD) containing cholesterol (0.15 g/100 g), hydrogenated coconut oil (20 g/100 g) and cellulose (15 g/100 g). After a 2-wk lead-in period, control hamsters were fed the HCD, whereas experimental hamsters consumed HCD formulated to include beta-glucan (2, 4, or 8 g/100 g) by addition of beta-glucan concentrate prepared from oats or barley at the expense of cellulose. Compared with control hamsters, dose-dependent decreases that were similar in magnitude in plasma total and LDL cholesterol concentrations were observed in hamsters fed beta-glucan from either source at wk 3, 6 and 9. Compared with controls, liver cholesterol concentrations were also reduced (P < 0.05) in hamsters consuming 8 g/100 g oat or barley beta-glucan. In agreement with previously proposed mechanisms, total fecal neutral sterol concentrations were significantly increased (P < 0.05) in hamsters consuming 8 g/100 g barley or oat beta-glucan. Aortic cholesterol ester concentrations were significantly reduced (P < 0.05) in hamsters fed 8 g/100 g beta-glucan from barley or oats. Although aortic total cholesterol and cholesterol ester concentrations were significantly correlated with LDL cholesterol (r = 0.565, P < 0.004 and r = 0.706, P < 0.0001, respectively), this association could explain only half of the variability. This study demonstrated that the cholesterol-lowering potency of beta-glucan is approximately identical whether its origin was oats or barley.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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