From mom's ringing endorsement to the FDA's first food-specific health claim, oats are well established as an important component to a healthful diet. In fact, beta-glucan, the active ingredient in oat soluble fiber, has been shown to provide significant heart-health benefits, such as lower cholesterol levels and reduced hypertension. It also has been shown to manage blood glucose levels and provide satiety. But even the most avid oatmeal eater may not be getting the three grams of oat soluble fiber recommended each day by the FDA to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Helping bridge the "oat gap"? is OatVantage, an all-natural, highly concentrated oat bran ingredient, currently available as a dietary supplement ingredient. It provides ten times the cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber found in regular oat bran, notes its supplier. OatVantage uses a patented, aqueous-based technology that naturally concentrates beta-glucan. The result is the highest concentration available on the market, with 54% beta-glucan by weight, compared to 12% to 20% in other commercially available, concentrated oat bran products.

OatVantage is a versatile ingredient, now available for the first time as a food in the Avon (New York) SlimWell[tm] Balanced Breakfast Bar. "The [breakfast bar] is an excellent example of how OatVantage can provide added value to a nutritional bar or food," said Greg Stephens, vice president of marketing, Nurture Inc. (Devon, Pa.), which developed OatVantage. "For the retailer, it's easy to manufacture, [and it's] affordable and sensible from a consumer marketing standpoint. Also, products containing OatVantage can include the FDA-approved oat soluble fiber heart health claim on the label."

The oat bran ingredient is available as a dietary supplement in three General Nutrition Center (GNC, Pittsburgh) products, including GNC Men's MegaMen[r] Performance and Vitality Program, GNC Woman's Ultra Mega[r] Beauty and Vitality Program and as a stand-alone OatVantage dietary supplement. It also is distributed nationally in Vitamin World (NBTY Inc., Bohemia, N.Y.) stores and select health food retailers. OatVantage is appropriate for semi-solid and solid foods and beverages, functional foods, nutraceuticals and dietary supplement encapsulating and tableting.

According to the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP, Bethesda, Md.), one hundred million Americans have elevated cholesterol levels. Among those are 65 million Americans with "borderline high" cholesterol levels between 200 and 239mg/dL. "These people are not yet candidates for cholesterol-lowering medication and may benefit from dietary changes from products such as OatVantage," explains Stephens.

In more than 42 clinical studies, oat beta-glucan has been shown to reduce both LDL cholesterol (the "bad"? cholesterol) and total cholesterol. According to the American Heart Association's (AHA, Dallas) dietary guidelines (October, 2000), for every gram increase in soluble fiber, LDL cholesterol may be reduced an average of 2.2mg/dL. Overall, with the recommended consumption of oat beta-glucan, research has shown total cholesterol levels decrease from 5% to 22%.

Oat soluble fiber steadies the delivery of glucose to the body's cells. This keeps sugar levels from spiking right after eating—especially when consuming refined carbohydrates. Additional research shows that oats increase feelings of satiety (fullness).

OatVantage is made from non-GMO oats and is Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). p> For more information:
Nurture Inc./OatVantage, Gregory J. Stephens