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Am J Clin Nutr. 2018 Nov 1;108(5):922-932. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy115.

Effect of psyllium (Plantago ovata) fiber on LDL cholesterol and alternative lipid targets, non-HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

Author information

Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Center.
Departments of Nutritional Sciences.
Toronto 3D Knowledge Synthesis and Clinical Trials Unit.
Clinic for Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases Vuk Vrhovac, University Hospital Merkur, School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia.
Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



Studies have identified viscous dietary fiber as potentially attenuating cholesterol, including psyllium, which reduces LDL cholesterol and thus may complement cardiovascular disease (CVD) treatment.


The aims of this study were to update evidence on the effect of psyllium on LDL cholesterol and to provide an assessment of its impact on alternate markers: non-HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B (apoB).


Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched through 3 October 2017. Independent reviewers extracted relevant data and assessed risk of bias. We included randomized controlled trials with a duration of ≥3 wk that assessed the effect of psyllium on blood lipids in individuals with or without hypercholesterolemia. Data were pooled by using the generic inverse variance method with random-effects models and expressed as mean differences (MDs) with 95% CIs. Heterogeneity was assessed by Cochran's Q statistic and quantified by the I2 statistic. Overall quality of the evidence was assessed by using the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation) approach.


We included 28 trials in our analysis (n = 1924). Supplementation of a median dose of ∼10.2 g psyllium significantly reduced LDL cholesterol (MD = -0.33 mmol/L; 95% CI: -0.38, -0.27 mmol/L; P < 0.00001), non-HDL cholesterol (MD = -0.39 mmol/L; 95% CI: -0.50, -0.27 mmol/L; P < 0.00001), and apoB (MD = -0.05 g/L; 95% CI: -0.08, -0.03 g/L; P < 0.0001). Effect estimates for LDL cholesterol and non-HDL cholesterol were graded as moderate quality on the basis of downgrades for inconsistency and graded as high quality for apoB.


Psyllium fiber effectively improves conventional and alternative lipids markers, potentially delaying the process of atherosclerosis-associated CVD risk in those with or without hypercholesterolemia. This trial is registered at as NCT03346733.


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