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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Sugarbeet and Potato Research » Research » Research Project #439202

Research Project: Pulse Consumption Improves Gut Health, Metabolic Outcomes, and Bone Biomarkers of Post Menopausal Women

Location: Sugarbeet and Potato Research

Project Number: 3060-21650-002-016-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2020
End Date: Feb 28, 2025

1. Determine the effects of consuming a pulse-based diet for 3 months on gut bacterial populations and markers of gut health (i.e., fecal short chain fatty acids and indicators of gut barrier dysfunction and microbial translocation) in postmenopausal women. 2. Examine the association between pulse-induced changes in gut microbiome and markers of gut health and metabolic (i.e. body composition, lipids and glucose) and bone biomarkers in postmenopausal women. 3. Identify patterns as well as barriers and facilitators of pulse consumption in this sample of postmenopausal women.

Forty postmenopausal women (50-65 years old and =1 year menopause) will be recruited to participate in this study. Qualified participants will come to the study site four times. At Visit 1, the study coordinator will a) provide a verbal and written explanation of the project, b) answer any questions regarding the study, c) obtain consent, and d) explain how to keep a food diary and collect urine and fecal samples. Participants will be asked to collect food diaries for two weeks to assess normal food intake as well as baseline pulse consumption. After baseline pulse consumption has been assessed, participants will come to the study site fasting (Visit 2) with their fecal and urine samples as well as food diaries. Measures performed during Visit 2 include anthropometric, body composition and bone density, and questionnaires assessing a) health and medical history including medication use, b) physical activity habits, c) gut health including discomfort or symptoms and the character and the frequency of stools, d) menopause-specific quality of life questionnaire, and e) barriers and facilitators of pulse consumption. Blood samples will also be collected as well as provision of a) 6 weeks of pulse supplies, b) calendar to record pulse intake, c) instructions on how to prepare the pulse supplements, maintain normal diet and physical activity levels, and d) a notebook to record any lifestyle changes or unusual occurrences. Treatment regimen will consist of lentils, pinto beans, peas, chickpeas, and kidney beans. Participants will be asked to alternate consuming one kind of pulse/day and to record which pulse they consumed on a calendar. Participants can add the pulses in soups, salads, or snacks and will also be asked to do a 3-d food record prior to Visit 3. At Visit 3 (6 weeks after Visit 2), anthropometric measurements will be recorded and the questionnaires will be administered again. Participants will be given supplies of pulses for the next 6 weeks as well as fecal and urine sample collection kits, calendars, 3-d food records and recipe book. At Visit 4 (after 12 weeks), participants will be asked to come fasting, and similar procedures as Visit 2 will be repeated for final assessment. Analyses of hormone levels, gut bacterial population, blood glucose, lipids and markers of gut and bone health and inflammation will be measured in blood and/or urine and fecal samples using appropriate methodologies. Paired t-test will be used to compare parameters before and after pulse consumption. Correlations between significant gut and systemic parameters will be investigated using Pearson correlation coefficients.