J Nutr Biochem 2008 Feb 6;19(2):71-84. Epub 2007 Jul 6.
Department of Pharmacology, CIBEREHD, School of Pharmacy, University of Granada, 18071 Granada, Spain.
Because of its growing prevalence in Western countries, the metabolic syndrome, a common metabolic disorder that clusters a constellation of abnormalities, including central obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia and insulin resistance, is emerging as one of the most important public health problems in the world, taking into account that it is a major risk factor mainly for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, and also for many types of cancer. Although the pathogenesis of this syndrome is complex and not fully understood, obesity and insulin resistance, accompanied by an altered profile of number of hormones and cytokines produced by the adipose tissue, seem to be the main causative agents. A prime therapeutic approach to the prevention and treatment of this syndrome involves lifestyle changes. Among dietary modifications, dietary fiber intake could play an interesting role in the management of metabolic syndrome through different mechanisms related to its dietary sources, specific chemical structure and physical properties, or fermentability in the gut. According to all of these variables, the different types of dietary fibers have been reported to take part in the control of body weight, glucose and lipid homeostasis, insulin sensitivity and in the regulation of many inflammation markers involved in the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome, and which are also considered to be among its features.