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STUDY: Daily consumption of whole-grain oat cereal reduces blood pressure
JOURNAL: Journal of Family Practice 2002;51:353-359, 369
AUTHORS: Joel J. Pins
ABSTRACT: Daily consumption of whole-grain oat cereal reduces blood pressure, and in patients already taking blood pressure medication, allows a decrease in dosage, investigators report.
COMMENTARY: In one of two studies, Joel J. Pins of the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis and colleagues gave volunteers with high blood pressure either 137 grams of oat cereal daily, with approximately 12 grams of total fiber and 6 grams of soluble fiber, or wheat cereals with total fiber of approximately 3 grams and soluble fiber of less than 1.1 grams.
The researchers report that among the 45 study participants consuming oats daily, 73% were able to reduce their blood pressure medication. After 12 weeks, average total cholesterol dropped by 15% and LDL ("bad") cholesterol dropped by 16%, and blood glucose levels improved significantly. However, during the 6 weeks after the study, two thirds of participants had to resume their previous dose of medication.
In comparison, 42% of the 43 study participants given the wheat cereal diet were able to decrease their dose of blood pressure medication but experienced no significant reduction in total cholesterol or LDL cholesterol levels.
In a second study, the Minneapolis investigators assigned 18 people with untreated high blood pressure to a similar intervention or "control" diet. Again, those in the oat cereal group, but not in the control group, experienced a decrease in blood pressure after 6 weeks. Changes in cholesterol were also similar.
Physicians may be justified in recommending to their (patients with high blood pressure) a dietary regimen that includes the daily consumption of whole-grain oats (equaling 6 grams of soluble fiber) in conjunction with their usual therapy.