Reference Number: 140
Health: Gut Microbiome
Intolerance & Sensitivity: Non coeliac gluten sensitivity
It has been suggested that ancient grains show lower immunogenic properties and therefore can be introduced in the diet of non-celiac wheat-sensitive people. In the present study we investigated the possible difference in inflammation caused by feeding ancient Kamut® wheat pasta (KP) compared to modern durum wheat pasta (WP) to rats. The effect of the two experimental diets on the oxidative status was also compared in basal condi- tion and after an exogenous oxidative stress. In rats fed WP the histological evaluation of the duodenum mor- phology evidenced a flattened mucosa, an unusual shape and shortening of the villi, and a high lymphocyte infiltration, while no modifications were detected in KP fed animals. The fecal metabolite profiling was differently modified by the two diets, suggesting significant changes in the gut microflora. Furthermore, the results confirmed previous data on the antioxidant protection in rats by Kamut® wheat foods. It is conceivable that Kamut® components can act through a hormetic effect, eliciting an adaptive response that protects the organism against both oxidative stress and inflammation.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS STUDY
Wholegrains are a rich source of fiber and bioctive compounds, such as omega 3 fatty acids, amino acids, oligosaccharides, minerals, B vitamins, phytosterols, and antioxidants. However, the concentration of wheat germ bioactive components has been reported as higher in ancient crops such as Kamut® wheat, barley, spelt, rye, einkorn, millet, oats and sorghum. The current paper looks at the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties of a modern variety of wheat (durum) versus a heritage wheat (kamut brand khorasan). The current study was carried out on healthy rats that were fed either durum cooked pasta or khorasan cooked pasta for 7 weeks. the authors chose pasta since they were looking to compare real cereal products that are commonly consumed in the human diet and pasta was chosen to exclude fermentation as a potential contributing factor that may have influenced the results. Nutritional analysis of the two pasta types showed that both the pastas provided similar energy, fats, carbohydrates and fibre, while protein content was higher in khorasan pasta than in durum wheat pasta. In terms of the concentration of antioxidant compounds, selenium was almost 20 times higher in khorasan pasta than in durum wheat pasta, and also total polyphenols were higher in the former, while vitamin E, total carotenoids and folic acid were higher in the latter. In order to check for a difference in the anti-inflammatory properties of both wheat types, the evaluation of the duodenum and spleen tissue of rats fed modern durum pasta for 7 weeks clearly showed an inflammatory picture that could resemble non-coeliac wheat sensitivity. On the contrary, rats fed ancient Kamut pasta showed normal histological or tissue characteristics. At present it is not possible to clearly state if, and which specific durum components were responsible for the inflammatory reaction, or if and which specific Kamut grain components had an anti-inflammatory action, or if a unique synergy of compounds was responsible. However, the hypothesis of the presence of anti-inflammatory agents is supported by the higher content of specific antioxidant components in the Kamut pasta, whose role can be related not only to the prevention of oxidative stress but also to an anti-inflammatory action. It is well documented that phenolic compounds have antioxidant capabilities in vitro (when outside the body, using cell cultures), but low bioavailability and low tissue concentrations make it unlikely that they act directly as antioxidants in vivo (when inside the body). However, recent findings have suggested that in lower amounts, typical of those attained in the diet, phenolics may activate one or more specific pathways that could lead to an anti-inflammatory response. Interestingly, Kamut’s anti-inflammatory effects could have been mediated at least in part by modifications induced in the gut microflora. Over the last few years, growing evidence has supported a link between inflammatory bowel diseases and alterations in intestinal bacterial composition and host–microbe associations has been showed to be involved not only in the maintenance of normal GI functioning but also in the pathogenesis of inflammatory disorders of the gut. Whole grain cereals provide non-digestible carbohydrates (NDC) that can be fermented by the gut microbiota and therefore act as a prebiotic. Existing studies have assessed the effects of wheat-derived NDC on parameters related to gut bacterial metabolism and in obesity and glucose homeostasis. The current study found some differences in the fecal metabolite profiling of rats fed both experimental diets. There was a clear distinguishion between durum wheat and khorasan pasta fed rats which was strongly supported by the development of a very different microbiota in the two groups.
Based on the findings from the current study, it is conceivable that Kamut wheat components can act through a hormetic effect, eliciting a positive response that protects the organism against both oxidative stress and inflammation. However, further studies are needed to investigate the mechanisms involved in the observed effects, evaluating the role of the different Kamut wheat components in both the host and microbiota. This should also be followed up with randomized controlled clinical trials to determine whether Kamut grain and other ancient wheat could have wide spread efficacy in individuals affected by non-coeliac wheat sensitivity.