An oats β-glucan clinical trial

This 2020 human study investigated effects of processing β-glucan:

“Nutritional advantages of oats compared to many other grains include gluten-free nature, high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, protein composition which complements that of pulses, and substantiated health effects of fibers, specifically oat β-glucan. Novel oat products, which are often semi-solid or liquid, generally need alterations of the physicochemical properties of oats.

The hypothesis in this study [Clinical trial NCT02764931] was that bioprocessing of oat bran with enzyme treatment, causing depolymerization of β-glucan, affects nutritional properties of bran and functional properties of β-glucan in human gastrointestinal tract.

The study meal consisted of oat bran concentrate treated with a commercial food-grade cell wall degrading enzyme preparation at 1 or 50 nkat β-glucanase g-1 dm-1. A control sample was prepared in the same way without added enzymes. Average MW [molecular weight] of β-glucan in:

  • Control oat bran concentrate was >1000 kDa [weight in kilodaltons] (High MW);
  • 1 nkat g-1 dm-1-treated 524 kDa (Medium MW); and
  • 50 nkat g-1 dm-1-treated 82 kDa (Low MW).

Results of this study supported the hypothesis that alteration of oat β-glucan MW with enzymatic treatment affects nutritional properties of oat bran and functional properties of β-glucan in the human gastrointestinal tract:

  • A High MW β-glucan meal resulted in the highest excretion of fecal bile acids, and the lowest excretion of phenolic compounds in urine.
  • A Low MW β-glucan meal resulted in the lowest excretion of fecal bile acids, but the highest excretion of phenolic compounds, especially ferulic acid, in urine.
  • Medium MW β-glucan was similar to High MW β-glucan in that it resulted in high excretion of fecal bile acids and low excretion of phenolic compounds to urine, but mean pressure in the duodenum was closer to Low MW than to High MW meal.

Perceived gut well-being after consumption of each meal did not differ between meals, but varied between genders, which should be further investigated.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0308814620320811 “Effect of oat β-glucan of different molecular weights on fecal bile acids, urine metabolites and pressure in the digestive tract – A human cross over trial” (not freely available)


I eat 81 grams of steel-cut oats every morning, which is represented by this study’s high-molecular-weight control. Take responsibility for your one precious life.

No β-glucan for dolphins or seagulls

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