Phytosterols and inulin added to soya milk has a more beneficial effect on low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol than soya milk alone, according to a study.
However the scientists said further research was needed to see if the effect could be beneficial for those at risk of cardiovascular disease.
At the end of the study period the subjects receiving the enriched soya milk lowered their LDL levels by 10.03% compared to the group with standard soya milk, whose levels decreased by 1.31%. The results of the eight-week study were published in Lipids in Health and Disease.
Phytosterols and inulin
Previous studies have suggested phytosterols are effective for LDL cholesterol levels at daily doses of 2 g and above. Inulin-type fructans are non-digestible carbohydrates that have been shown to reduce triglyceride levels, although evidence so far has been inconclusive.
The daily dose in the study group was 2 g phytosterols and 10g inulin. The subjects, who also received diet and exercise advice, had their lipid profile measured fortnightly for eight weeks.
The absolute LDL reduction efficacy of 2 g/day phytosterols and 10 g/day inulin was 8.72%, which was similar to previous studies.
Total cholesterol was also significantly decreased in the study group, but there were no diffrerences between the groups for high density lipoprotein or triglycerides.
Previous studies have reported the beneficial effect of phytosterols using a low fat foods carrier such as yoghurt or orange juice.
The currect study showed a neutral effect, but since the subjects were
metabolically lean the authors could not rule out a risk to subjects
wiht these conditions consuming the products.