Study finds cereal fiber has potential to reduce inflammation in older adults

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New research has revealed that cereal fiber is linked with lower inflammation and reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

The study, published in JAMA Network Open, and conducted by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, evaluated the associations of total fiber intake and varying fiber types such as cereal, vegetables, or fruit with inflammation and whether inflammation mediates the inverse association between dietary fiber intake and CVD.

Researchers engaged 4,125 adults aged 65 years or older in an ongoing study starting with baseline visits from 1989 to 1990. Participants without prevalent CVD received a food frequency questionnaire at enrollment and then were assessed for CVD development during follow-up visits through June 2015. Blood samples were taken for markers of inflammation.

The study’s results suggested that cereal fiber intake was associated with lower levels of various inflammatory markers and lower risk of CVD. Investigators found that inflammation mediated approximately one-sixth of the association between cereal fiber intake and CVD. In addition, the research team uncovered that vegetable and fruit fiber intakes were not consistently associated with lower levels of inflammatory markers.

Inflammation had only a modest role in mediating the observed inverse association between cereal fiber and CVD, suggesting that factors other than inflammation may play a larger role in the cereal fiber-associated reduction in CVD, according to one of the study’s authors, Rupak Shivakoti, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia Mailman School.

Integrative practitioners can refer to the results of this study when talking with their older patients about the role cereal fiber can play in lowering levels of inflammation.