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|Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor|
The digestive system is very complex, being made up of 7 different organs and helped by 5 more organs. Any gut malfunction can adversely affect health. A new study indicates that wheat bran extract can help keep your gut in good functioning order.
The study was conducted by researchers from Fugeia NV in Belgium and their findings were published in the British Journal of Nutrition on February 28, 2012.
The study included 63 healthy adults with an average age of 42. The volunteers randomly participated in three daily interventions, each lasting three weeks with a two week wash-out period between each phase. During the interventions, they received 0, 3 or 10 grams of wheat bran extract daily.
The researchers noted improvements in several markers of gut health as a result of the 10 gram intervention. These included higher levels of bifidobacteria in the feces, an increase in short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), and higher acidity in the feces. Additionally, the wheat bran extract was well tolerated and did not cause any adverse effects.
The wheat bran extract used in the study is a food-grade soluble fiber. Soluble fiber soothes and regulates the digestive tract and normalizes bowel function. It has also been shown to lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and help regulate blood sugar.
Food sources of soluble fiber include barley, flax seed, carrots, papayas and dried beans and peas. The recommended daily intake of total fiber (soluble and insoluble) is 25 grams per day, which equates to at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables as well as 6 servings of grain products.
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