Dietary fibre in hypertension and cardiovascular disease management: systematic review and meta-analyses

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Background: Higher dietary fibre intakes are associated with a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD), and increasing intake has been shown to reduce blood pressure and other cardiometabolic risk factors. The extent to which dietary fibre can further reduce risk for those with CVD and treated with cardioprotective drugs has not been clearly established. We have examined the evidence for dietary fibre as adjunct therapy in those with CVD or hypertension. Methods: Ovid MEDLINE, Embase, PubMed, and CENTRAL were searched to June 2021. Prospective observational studies reporting on fibre intakes and mortality in those with pre-existing CVD and controlled trials of increasing fibre intakes on cardiometabolic risk factors in those with CVD or hypertension were eligible. Outcomes were mortality (studies) and cardiometabolic risk factors (trials). Data synthesis was with random effects and dose response. Certainty of evidence was assessed using GRADE. Results: Three prospective studies including 7469 adults with CVD, and 12 trials of 878 adults with CVD or hypertension were identified. Moderate certainty evidence indicates reduced all-cause mortality (relative risk, RR0.75 (95% confidence interval, CI 0.58–0.97)) when comparing higher with lower fibre intakes. Low certainty evidence from trials of adults with cardiovascular disease indicates increasing fibre intakes reduced total (mean difference, MD − 0.42 mmol/L (95%CI − 0.78 to − 0.05) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (MD − 0.47mmol/L (95%CI − 0.85 to − 0.10)). High certainty evidence from trials of adults with hypertension indicates increasing fibre intakes reduces systolic (MD 4.3 mmHg (95% CI 2.2 to 5.8)) and diastolic blood pressure (MD 3.1 mmHg (95% CI 1.7 to 4.4)). Moderate and low certainty evidence indicated improvements in fasting blood glucose (MD 0.48 mmol/L (− 0.91 to − 0.05)) and LDL cholesterol (MD 0.29 mmol/L (95% CI 0.17 to 0.40)). Benefits were observed irrespective of cardioprotective drug use. Conclusions: These findings emphasise the likely benefits of promoting greater dietary fibre intakes for patients with CVD and hypertension. Further trials and cohort analyses in this area would increase confidence in these results.




Reynolds, A. N., Akerman, A., Kumar, S., Diep Pham, H. T., Coffey, S., & Mann, J. (2022). Dietary fibre in hypertension and cardiovascular disease management: systematic review and meta-analyses. BMC Medicine, 20(1).

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