The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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  • Recent Comments

    Lowering LDL-cholesterol with concentrated oat beta-glucan

    Taking concentrated oat beta-glucan per day for 6 weeks produced a significant reduction from baseline in total and LDL (bad) cholesterol.

    But is that enough to achieve any real benefit in protecting from heart disease?

    Here are the details.

    • 75 healthy adults with high LDL-cholesterol (159 mg/dL; 4.1 mm/L) blood levels
    • Treatment: 6 grams/day concentrated oat beta-glucan or 6 grams/day dextrose (control).
    • Fasting blood samples were collected at the start of the study, week 3, and week 6.

    And the results.

    • The soluble fiber lowered LDL-cholesterol by 11.6 mg/dL (0.3 mm/L).
    • That’s about 7% lower than levels at the start of the study.

    The bottom line?
    Viscous fibers such as oat beta-glucan interfere with absorption of dietary fat and cholesterol as well as the recirculation of cholesterol and bile acids between the intestines and the liver (enterohepatic recirculation).

    When compared to the prescription drug Zetia (ezetimib), which also lowers lipid absorption from the intestines, oat beta-glucan is less than half as effective. Zetia lowers LDL-cholesterol about 18% to 20% vs 7% with oral beta-glucan.

    The response to oat beta-glucan is modest but could be a significant complement to cholesterol-lowering therapy. A 0.26 mmoL/L decrease in LDL-cholesterol results in a 12% decrease in the risk of heart disease.

    More information about oat beta-glucan is available here and here.

    3/30/07 10:49 JR

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