Guar gum and similar soluble fibers in the regulation of cholesterol metabolism: Current understandings and future research priorities
Todd C Rideout1, Scott V Harding1, Peter JH Jones1, Ming Z Fan2
1Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; 2Centre for Nutrition Modeling, Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Abstract: The hypocholesterolemic effects associated with soluble fiber consumption are clear from animal model and human clinical investigations. Moreover, the modulation of whole-body cholesterol metabolism in response to dietary fiber consumption, including intestinal cholesterol absorption and fecal sterol and bile acid loss, has been the subject of many published reports. However, our understanding of how dietary fibers regulate molecular events at the gene/protein level and alter cellular cholesterol metabolism is limited. The modern emphasis on molecular nutrition and rapid progress in ‘high-dimensional’ biological techniques will permit further explorations of the role of genetic polymorphisms in determining the variable interindividual responses to soluble fibers. Furthermore, with traditional molecular biology tools and the application of ‘omic’ technology, specific insight into how fibers modulate the expression of genes and proteins that regulate intestinal cholesterol absorption and alter hepatic sterol balance will be gained. Detailed knowledge of the molecular mechanisms by which soluble fibers reduce plasma cholesterol concentrations is paramount to developing novel fiber-based “cocktails” that target specific metabolic pathways to gain maximal cholesterol reductions.
Keywords: dietary fiber, cholesterol, bile acids, gene, protein
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