Hypercholesterolemia is a major contributor for disease burden in both the developed and developing world and an important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Phytosterols (PhS) and dietary fiber (DF) act as low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) lowering agents, offering an effective treatment against high blood cholesterol and CVD. The aim of this review was to consider clinical evidence that analyzed the combination of PhS and DF in a cereal carrier for lowering LDL-C. Electronic database searches were carried out to identify peer-reviewed journal articles, from which five intervention studies that combined both components in a cereal carrier were identified and included in the present review. LDL-C lowering effects varied widely among studies, due to large heterogeneity in study design, subject baseline characteristics, length of the interventions, PhS and DF dosage and type of DF used. In relation to a time of intake, three studies suggested a frequency or distribution of the product's consumption during the day, while two studies did not consider this factor. Overall, the selected studies found significant differences on LDL-C concentrations, although not all of them reached the expected outcomes. Future research should be conducted to explore the effect that different types of DF exert on LDL-C when combined with PhS, and to analyze the effect of the product's time of intake in order to suggest an optimal moment of the day for its consumption.
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