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RCT supports gut health boosting potential of wheat bran extract

By Stephen Daniells , 06-Mar-2012

Three weeks of supplementation with a wheat bran extract may beneficially alter markers of gut health, say results of a placebo-controlled cross-over human intervention trial from Belgium.

Ten grams per day of the Brana Vita-branded ingredient were associated with an increase in gut levels of bifidobacteria, and an increase in the production of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), both of which are reported to be beneficial, according to findings published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

“We recommend that wheat bran extract should be taken in at the dose of 10 g/d, considering that consumption of wheat bran extract at this dosage exerts the following beneficial effects on gut health parameters: increased production of SCFA, reduction of protein fermentation and increase of faecal bifidobacteria levels,” wrote researchers led by Isabelle Francois from Belgium-based functional ingredients company Fugeia NV, the company behind the wheat bran product.

“Moreover, wheat bran extract is well tolerated and does not cause adverse effects at up to 10 g/d in healthy adult volunteers.”

Novel food and GRAS

The study used Belgium-based functional ingredients company Fugeia NV’s wheat bran product Brana Vita. The ingredient obtained GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status and an FDA No objection letter for the US market in 2010 and followed this up with a novel foods thumbs up from the European Commission in 2011.

Study details

The researchers recruited 63 healthy adults with an average age of 42 to participate in their placebo-controlled cross-over trial. Participants were randomly assigned to receive 0, 3, or 10 grams of the wheat bran extract for three weeks in a random order. Two week washout period separated each intervention period.

Results showed that the 10 gram per day dose produced significant changes to levels of bifidobacteria in the feces.

An increase in SCFA levels were also observed for the high dose group, while the acidity of the feces also increased, “indicating increased colonic fermentation of wheat bran extract into desired metabolites”.

“[The wheat bran extract] appears to increase the fecal level of SCFA at lower doses than reported for other prebiotic compounds such as inulin and oligofructose,” added the researchers.

“The low incidence of gastrointestinal complaints and the absence of adverse changes in hematology and clinical blood chemistry parameters provide evidence for the excellent tolerability and safety of [the wheat bran extract], complementing the results of the in vitro and in vivo safety assessment of [the wheat bran extract].”

The study authors were affiliated with Fugeia NV, Ghent University, University Hospitals UZ Leuven (Belgium), University of Groningen (Netherlands), and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium).

Source: British Journal of Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, FirstView Articles, doi: 10.1017/S0007114512000372
“Effects of a wheat bran extract containing arabinoxylan oligosaccharides on gastrointestinal health parameters in healthy adult human volunteers: a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial”
Authors: I.E.J.A. François, O. Lescroart, W.S. Veraverbeke, M. Marzorati, S. Possemiers, P. Evenepoel, H. Hamer, et al.

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