by Scott Davis | Mar 6, 2018
The old thinking was that eating food low in cholesterol would lower our blood cholesterol.
This has been debunked because your body actually makes most of the blood cholesterol itself. It has very little to do with what you eat.
However, a new study published in The British Journal of Nutrition shows the mechanism through which a common animal feed can lower cholesterol in humans in a completely different way.
It actually promotes your body to eat up its own blood cholesterol.
More than 50% of barley produced in the United States becomes animal feed, but it is actually a very healthy human food.
In the new study, the scientists gave their 30 student participants either a barley breakfast or a control diet for five weeks. All the students had moderately high cholesterol.
They then tested their cholesterol, their bodies’ absorption of cholesterol, their bodies’ production of cholesterol, and their bodies’ bile acid production.
They found that the barley eaters had lower cholesterol than the others, while their bodies’ cholesterol production and absorption remained the same.
Where they did find a difference was in bile acid production, with the barley eaters producing a lot more than the normal eaters did.
How does this work?
1. The beta-glucan fiber in barley prevents your body from absorbing the bile acids from your intestine, because it forces it to be excreted in your stool.
2. As a result, the bile acid level in your liver drops, and this prompts your body to produce more.
3. The liver secretes the enzyme cholesterol 7-a hydroxylase, an enzyme that converts cholesterol to bile acids.
4. As your cholesterol is converted to bile acid, your cholesterol level then drops.
This makes barley, or a supplement made of beta-glucan, a good dietary intervention against high cholesterol.