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Title: Dietary whole grain-microbiota interactions: insights into mechanisms for human health

item Keim, Nancy
item MARTIN, ROY - University Of California

Submitted to: Advances in Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/17/2014
Publication Date: 1/8/2015
Citation: Keim, N.L., Martin, R.J. 2015. Dietary whole grain-microbiota interactions: insights into mechanisms for human health. Advances in Nutrition. 5:556–557. doi: 10.3945/an.114.006536.

Interpretive Summary: This article summarizes presentations from a scientific symposium entitled “Dietary whole grain-microbiota interactions: Insights into mechanisms for human health.” The topic is of interest to scientists, food producers, food manufacturers, and consumers because we know that certain foods we eat, such as whole grain foods, can change the bacteria residing in the human digestive tract, and these bacteria can use the non-digestible carbohydrates in these foods to produce end products that can influence health of the human host. However, little is known about specific whole grains and their healthy-promoting properties. Four speakers addressed this topic, illustrating how different whole grains, or components of whole grains, affect important health parameters such as the immune system, overall gut health, and blood glucose control. Overall, the speakers confirmed that consumption of whole grains can alter the bacterial communities living in the gut, and that other factors, including diet composition and genetics, can influence the effect of consuming whole grains on health outcomes.

Technical Abstract: This article summarizes the presentations from the “Dietary whole grain-microbiota interactions: Insights into mechanisms for human health” symposium held at the ASN Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA on April 28, 2014. The symposium focused on the interactive effects of whole grains and non-digestible carbohydrates with the gut microbiota with the goal of identifying the benefits of whole grains that are mediated through their effects on the gut microbiome. This theme was addressed by four speakers, each with their own unique perspective. Dr. Michael Lefevre reviewed the impact of whole grains on markers of subclinical inflammation, drawing examples from epidemiological literature, clinical trials, and animal experiments. Dr. Knud Erik Bach Knudsen discussed data from studies he conducted to identify specific carbohydrates that enhance colonic butyrate production. Dr. Michael Keenan presented a chronology of his research program devoted to understanding the mechanisms underlying the metabolic effects of resistant starch, particularly high-amylose maize. Dr. Jens Walter emphasized that whole grains can impact gut microbial ecology by increasing microbial diversity and inducing compositional alterations, some of which are considered to have beneficial effects on the host.