Cholesterol

It can established that oat beta-glucan has an important beneficial effect on the metabolic syndrome.

In 2009, the EFSA NDA Panel (Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies) stated that "Regular consumption of beta-glucans contributes to maintenance of normal blood cholesterol concentrations."

In order to bear the claim, foods should provide at least 3 g/day of beta-glucans.

Additionally, in November 2011, the EU Commission published its decision in favour of oat beta-glucans with regard to Article 14 of the EC Regulation on the labelling of foodstuffs with nutrition and health claim statements permitting oat beta-glucan to be described as beneficial to health.

Following the opinion of the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) the EFSA and the Regulation (EU) no. 1160/2011 of the Commission, foodstuffs through which 3 g/day of oat beta-glucan are consumed (1 g of oat beta-glucan per portion) are allowed to display the following health claim: “Oat beta-glucan reduces the cholesterol level in the blood. The lowering of the blood cholesterol level can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease”.

Oat beta glucans are today officially approved for maintaining and/or lowering cholesterol in the blood in many countries, not only EU and USA.

This cholesterol benefit of beta glucans is thanks to ability to form gel in water solution, absorbing the bile from the small intestine, take it through to the colon and out of the body - without allowing the bile to be absorbed in the small intestine. Thus, the liver must produce new bile by taking cholesterol from the blood, as cholesterol is one of the components of bile salts. In this way especially the "bad" LDL cholesterol levels are lowered with the help of oat beta glucans. 

In other words, the EFSA Journal 2010;8(12):1885 indicates that the cholesterol-lowering effect of oat beta-glucan may depend on the increased viscosity in the small intestine that reduces the reabsorption of bile acids, increases the synthesis of bile acids from cholesterol and reduces circulating (LDL) cholesterol concentrations.