Increased Bran Intake Lowers CVD Mortality for Diabetic Women

Women with type 2 diabetes who eat more bran are much less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.

Women with type 2 diabetes who eat more bran are at a significantly lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, according to a new study by researchers at Harvard Medical School and several other institutes.

Senior author Lu Qi, MD, PhD, of Harvard, and the team of researchers from Harvard, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China examined 7,822 women diagnosed with type 2 diabetes after age 30 as part of the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS), a study of 121,700 US female registered nurses. During the years of follow-up, which lasted for as long as 26 years, 852 women died. Among the women with type 2 diabetes who died, 295 resulted from cardiovascular disease. The researchers adjusted for age and then found that the women in the top 20 percent for consumption of whole grain, bran, germ, and cereal fiber were at reduced risk of death from all causes and from CVD, compared to the women in the bottom 20 percent, according to Qi. Women who consumed the most bran had a 55 percent risk reduction for death from all causes and a 64 percent reduction in risk of CVD mortality compared to those who ate no added bran.

“These findings suggest a potential benefit of whole grain, and particularly bran, in reducing death and cardiovascular risk in diabetic patients,” said Qi, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and assistant professor of nutrition in the Harvard School of Public Health.

Though they do cite specifics, the researchers suggest that several mechanisms that may be at work could have led to these study results.

“Whole-grain and bran intakes were associated with reduced all-cause and CVD-specific mortality in women with diabetes mellitus,” the authors wrote in Circulation. “These findings suggest a potential benefit of whole-grain intake in reducing mortality and cardiovascular risk in diabetic patients.”