Best supplements: The water-soluble pill that may lower cholesterol levels and blood sugar

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With millions of people suffering with both type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol, finding a natural solution to help lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels is key. Eating healthy and exercising are often discussed and merit such recommendations, but could a daily supplement be just as effective?

When it comes to an effective way to lower both your cholesterol and blood sugars, fibre is often mentioned.

Studies have found that consuming more nutrient-dense, fibre-rich foods such as vegetables and beans reduces both blood sugar and cholesterol levels

Psyllium is the only fibre supplement proven to lower blood sugar and cholesterol.

Psyllium husk fibre is a viscous, mostly water-soluble fibre prepared by mechanical removal of the husk from blonde psyllium seed.

Psyllium, similarly, to other soluble fibres, passes through the small intestine without being completely broken down or absorbed.

Instead, it absorbs water and becomes a vicious compound which benefits health conditions such as constipation, diarrhoea, blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and even weight loss.

Psyllium has been found to help improve glycaemic and lipid control in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Studies have also found that a daily dose of about 10 grams of psyllium husk lowered harmful LDL cholesterol 13 mg/dL when taken for at least three weeks.

In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the effects of psyllium on glucose and serum lipid responses in men was further analysed.

A total of 56 men with type 2 diabetes and hypercholesterolemia were recruited initially.

The study consisted of a two-week dietary stabilisation phase during which subjects followed a diet for diabetes followed by an eight-week treatment phase in which subjects continued the diet but were also randomly assigned to receive either 5.1 g psyllium (psyllium group) or cellulose placebo (control group) twice daily.

Subjects were instructed to consume the test products 20–30 min before the morning and evening meals.

At week eight, serum LDL-cholesterol concentrations decreased 4.9 percent in the psyllium group but increased 2.8 percent in the placebo group.

“The change in serum HDL-cholesterol concentrations was significant,” noted the study.

Psyllium was shown to significantly reduce postprandial serum glucose and insulin concentrations in nondiabetic individuals.

“Numerous studies of nondiabetic individuals indicate that psyllium significantly lowers both total and LDL-cholesterol concentrations.”

When taking fibre supplements, experts recommend taking the pill two hours before or after your other oral medications.

For best results, talk to your doctor before taking a new supplement.

People with some gastrointestinal problems should not take fibre supplements.

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