Main content area

Can Wheat Bran Mitigate Malnutrition and Enteric Pathogens?1

Kiszonas, Alecia M.
Cereal foods world 2017 v.62 no.5 pp. 214-217
absorption, blood, children, colitis, death, developing countries, enteropathogens, feces, grain foods, growth retardation, immunity, intestinal microorganisms, malnutrition, rats, rectum, wheat bran
Child malnutrition is a multifaceted global problem, of which lack of food is only one component. Many children in developing countries also struggle with diarrhea-inducing enteric pathogens. Enteric pathogens and malnutrition work in a cyclical manner that depresses intestinal immunity while decreasing nutrient absorption. This cycle leads to stunting, wasting, and death. Often, malnourished children are not able to cultivate a healthy gut microbiome, which is necessary to defend against pathogens. This study used four groups of rats to evaluate the ability of wheat bran to mitigate the effects of intestinal damage. The rats were separated into groups with different dietary and health conditions: control, bran, colitis, and colitis + bran. A disease index score was taken daily for each rat for 12 weeks and consisted of stool consistency, blood in stool, rectal irritation, and behavioral attitude. Although rats in the colitis + bran group had softer stools at six time points, the colitis group exhibited substantially greater rectal irritation throughout the study. This study suggests that wheat bran could play a role in mitigating the damaging effects of malnutrition and enteric pathogens on the intestines.