Study Looks at Whether Fiber Supplements Effect Diabetes Control

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By : Suvarna Sheth

Viscous dietary fiber, a type of soluble fiber, may offer beneficial effects on glycemic control and, thus, an improved cardiovascular disease risk profile, a new study finds.

The researchers found that people with diabetes who take soluble fiber supplements have slightly lower blood sugar than people with diabetes who don’t add this supplement to their diet.

How was the Research Conducted?

Researchers looked at data from 28 different clinical studies that assessed the effects of viscous fiber on markers of glycemic control in type 2 diabetes. A total of 1,394 participants with diabetes were studied.

People on the trial either took viscous fiber supplements, used other types of supplements without viscous fiber or took no supplements at all.

Of those taking viscous fiber supplements, half took more than 13 grams daily, for a period of time three weeks to a year.

Compared to those who didn’t take viscous fiber, those who did had better blood sugar control.

They also had lower hemoglobin A1c levels and had lower fasting glucose levels.

The researchers conclude that viscous fiber supplements improve conventional markers of glycemic control beyond usual care and should be considered in the management of type 2 diabetes.

These results “suggest that intake of around 1 tablespoon of concentrated viscous fibers such as konjac, guar, pectin or psyllium would result in reductions in A1c and other diabetes risk factors,” senior study author, Dr. Vladimir Vuksan of St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto in Canada told Reuters.

Researchers acknowledge the limitations of the study, including some studies to be too small to be significant. They also note the possibility of positive trial results to influence results, making fiber supplements appear more effective than they really are.

They indicate further work is needed to further understand the effects of different types of fiber on blood glucose control.

The research is published in Diabetes Care.