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Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose significantly lowers blood cholesterol in mildly hypercholesterolemic human subjects



To determine the cholesterol-lowering efficacy of hydroxypropylmethylcellulose (HPMC) in mildly hypercholesterolemic humans.


Trial one: entry mean (range) total serum cholesterol values of eight female and four male subjects were 6.48 (5.57–7.51) mmol l−1 (250 (215–290) mg dl−1) and 6.60 (5.57–7.64) mmol l−1 (255 (215–295) mg dl−1), respectively. Trial two: corresponding values for 20 women and 20 men were 5.96 (5.43–6.48) mmol l−1 230 (210–250) mg dl−1) and 6.05 (5.46–6.63) mmol l−1 233 (211–256) mg dl−1), respectively.


Trial one: HPMC decreased (P0.05) total and LDL-cholesterol 9.3 and 15.3% (medium), 16.9 and 23.5% (high) and 13.8 and 19.4% (ultra-high), respectively, over placebo. Trial two: total and LDL-cholesterol decreased (P0.05) throughout the 8 weeks, with mean (weeks 4–8) reductions of 7 and 8% at 5 g day−1, and 12 and 15% at 15 g day−1, respectively, over placebo. Adverse effects were minimal. Trial one: medium, high and ultra-high viscosity HPMC at 15 g day−1 for 1 week each;1-week wash-out between treatments. Trial two: ultra-high viscosity HPMC at 5 or 15 g day−1 for 8 weeks.


HPMC soluble fiber, especially high-viscosity grades, significantly lowers cholesterol at well-tolerated doses, showing promise as a treatment of hypercholesterolemia.

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We thank Cora J Dillard for her excellent editorial assistance in preparing this article. Sponsorship: University of Michigan and Dow Chemical Company.

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Correspondence to J B Dressman.

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Contributors: CR assisted with the study concept and design, ran the studies in the University of Michigan CRC together with SZS, and participated in data analysis and interpretation (current affiliation National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Faculty of Pharmacy, Panepistimiopolis, 157 71 Zografou, Greece); SZS ran the studies in the University of Michigan CRC together with CR, and participated in data analysis and interpretation (affiliation still current); SWT (now retired) assisted with the study concept and design and developed the HPMC formulations; MT assisted with data analysis and presentation and drafted the manuscript; JBD was principal investigator of the project (current affiliation: Institute of Pharmaceutical Technology, JW Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main, Germany). All authors reviewed and assented to the submission of the article.

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Reppas, C., Swidan, S., Tobey, S. et al. Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose significantly lowers blood cholesterol in mildly hypercholesterolemic human subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr 63, 71–77 (2009).

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  • hydroxypropylmethylcellulose
  • food grade
  • soluble dietary fiber
  • cholesterol
  • hypercholesterolemia
  • cardiovascular disease

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