Barley or its food supplement found useful in reducing bad Cholesterol

Emobileclinic Researchers’ Corner


The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition has published a study which showed that eating barley or foods containing barley significantly reduced levels of two types of bad cholesterol associated with cardiovascular risk.

Barley reduced both low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, and non-high-density lipoprotein, or non-HDL, by seven per cent. The review also indicated that barley had similar cholesterollowering effects as oats, which is often the go-to grain for health benefits. The review focused on 14 studies of clinical trials conducted in seven countries, including Canada.

It is the first study to look at the effects of barley and barley products on both LDL and non-HDL cholesterol in addition to apolipoprotein B, or apoB, a lipoprotein that carries bad cholesterol through the blood. Measuring non-HDL and apoB provides a more accurate assessment for cardiovascular risk, as they account for the total ‘bad cholesterol’ found in the blood.

According to Vladimir Vuksan, the findings are most important for populations at high risk for cardiovascular disease, such as Type 2 diabetics, who have normal levels of LDL cholesterol, but elevated levels of non-HDL or apo B. He added that barley has a lowering effect on the total bad cholesterol in these high-risk individuals, but can also benefit people without high cholesterol.”

This research sought to find alternative treatment option for high cholesterol and diabetes are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke. Medications have been used in treating this condition. However, this work focuses on how dietary and lifestyle changes can reduce these risk factors. Barley is higher in fibre, has twice the protein and almost half the calories of oats, which are important considerations for those with weight or dietary concerns. Vuksan said barley can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.

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He recommends trying to incorporate barley into existing recipes, using it as a substitute for rice or even on its own – just like oatmeal.




A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of the effect of barley ß-glucan on LDL-C, non-HDL-C and apoB for cardiovascular disease risk reduction, H V T Ho, J L Sievenpiper, A Zurbau, S B Mejia, E Jovanovski, F Au-Yeung, A L Jenkins and V Vuksan, The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, doi:10.1038/ejcn.2016.89, published 8 June 2016.

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