Scientific Affairs Analyst at Nestlé, Jean Kim (PhD)
Do you run out of time to read the latest journal articles?

We’ve taken the opportunity to select the latest for you. Our Scientific Affairs Analyst at Nestlé, Jean Kim (PhD) provides a topline overview and summary of the relevant research paper, if you don’t have time to read the full paper.

For further details of the research paper, click through to the abstracts in the links provided.


1. Oatmeal Porridge: A Gut’s Best Friend?

We already know that eating oats has been shown to have several health benefits: (1) the prevention of metabolic syndrome, (2) protection against organic diseases and functional disorders affecting the gastrointestinal tract, and (3) fermentation (4, 5, 6) that suggests oats may influence the gut microbiota.

Now, the results of a recent study in Norway suggest that certain gut microbial functions can be modified within a week by eating oatmeal porridge.

In the pilot study, ten healthy patients ate oatmeal porridge every day for one week. The results indicate that certain microbial functions were modified within that week. Of note:

  • Microbial fermentation did not significantly change, suggesting that there was no alteration of the colonic ability to ferment carbohydrates.
  • Faecal levels of β-galactosidase and urease decreased after eating oatmeal porridge.

The pilot study had only a small sample size, and further investigation needs to be carried out. This news, however, could hold promise for your patients who suffer from inflammatory diseases of the colon, such as irritable bowel syndrome, so stay tuned.

Valeur J, Puaschitz NG, Midtvedt T and Berstad A (2016). Oatmeal porridge: impact on microflora-associated characteristics in healthy subjects. British Journal of Nutrition, 115, 62-7.

1) Rasane P et al. (2015) Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value added foods – a review. J Food Sci Technol 52, 662-75.
2) Cloetens L et al. (2012) Role of dietary beta-glucans in the prevention of the metabolic syndrome. Nutr Rev 70, 444-58.
3) Thies F et al. (2014) Oats and bowel disease: a systematic literature review. Br J Nutr 112, Suppl. 2, S31-43.
4) Hughes SA et al. (2008) In vitro fermentation of oat and barley derived beta-glucans by human faecal microbiota. FEMS Microbiol Ecol 64, 482-93.
5) Drzikova B et al. (2005) Dietary fibre-rich oat-based products affect serum lipids, microbiota, formation of short-chain fatty acids and steroids in rats. Br J Nutr 94, 1012-25.
6) Snart J et al. (2006) Supplementation of the diet with high-viscosity beta-glucan results in enrichment for lactobacilli in the rat cecum. Appl Environ Microbiol 72, 1925-31.


2. A Better Balance of Gut Bacteria – Thanks to Granola?

Your patients with cholesterol woes or digestive dramas may have something to cheer about in the future.

A recent study revealed that eating whole grain oat granolas daily for 6 weeks can cause a significant prebiotic effect on the composition of gut microbiota – and reductions in total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol.

Previous research had already revealed a positive benefit of increased whole grain and oats intake: a reduced risk of developing chronic diseases. But few studies looked at the impact of whole grain oat-based foods on gut microbiota – and none measured the ability of oats to change the composition (and relative abundance) of bacteria in the gut.

Further studies are still needed, but the new findings are still valuable. They’re a key step in helping us understand how prebiotic modulation of our gut microbiota could be linked to cholesterol metabolism. And, whether this modification would increase bile acid deconjugation, e.g. for patients with Crohn’s disease.

Connolly ML, Tzounis X, Tuohy KM and Lovegrove JA (2016). Hypocholesterolemic and Prebiotic Effects of a Whole-Grain Oat-Based Granola Breakfast Cereal in a Cardio-Metabolic “At Risk” Population. Frontiers in Microbiology, 7, Article 1675.

1) Mellen et al. (2008) Whole grain intake and cardiovascular disease: a meta-analysis. Nutr. Metab. Cardiovasc. Dis. 18, 283-90.
2) Queenan et al. (2012) Concentrated oat beta-glucan, a fermentable fiber, lowers serum cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic adults in a randomised controlled trial. Nutr. 6, 6.


3. Get Smart on the GI Microbiome – For Your Patients’ Sake

Why is understanding the gastrointestinal microbiome so critical to the individual care of each of your patients? Because your awareness of the role that nutrition plays in shaping the GI microbiome can help you better advise on healthy eating choices.

This review paper demonstrates that the GI microbiome is incredible and important for patients’ health. It’s an entire community of microbes, including bacteria that live within the GI tract. Every patient has a unique microbiome, which alters over its lifespan. The composition and diversity of the microbiome has been shown to be affected by a variety of factors – including diet, exercise, weight, medications, geographical location, stress, age and sex.

Individual features of the microbiome may give us clues as to why patients respond differently to dietary plans.

Because of this, manipulating the microbiome to improve your patients’ health is becoming more common. Here’s an example: the effect of fibre on increasing the diversity of the microbiome is a good reason to encourage patients to not only increase their fibre intake – but also to eat a wide variety of fibre sources. Starting the day out with a cereal high in fibre is an easy way to bring more fibre into a patients’ diets – and help bring even more diversity to their GI micro biome!

Harvie R, Chanyi RM, Burton JP and Schultz M (2016). Using the Human Gastrointestinal Microbiome to Personalize Nutrition Advice: Are Registered Dietitian Nutritionists Ready for the Opportunities and Challenges? Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 16, S2212-2672.

1) Rajilic-Stojanovic M and de Vos WM (2014) The first 1000 cultured species of the human gastrointestinal microbiota. FEMS Microbiol Rev. 38(5), 996-1047.
2) Morgan XC and Huttenhower C (2012) Chapter 12: Human microbiome analysis. PLoS Comput Biol. 8(12):e1002808.
3) Chumpitazi et. al. (2015) Randomised clinical trial: Gut microbiome biomarkers are associated with clinical response to a low FODMAP diet in children with the irritable bowel syndrome. Aliment Pharmacol Ther., 42(4):418-27.


Click here to subscribe to Scoop on Breakfast