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Effects of a wheat bran extract containing arabinoxylan oligosaccharides on gastrointestinal health parameters in healthy adult human volunteers: a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial

  • Isabelle E. J. A. François (a1), Olivier Lescroart (a1), Wim S. Veraverbeke (a1), Massimo Marzorati (a2), Sam Possemiers (a2), Pieter Evenepoel (a3), Henrike Hamer (a4), Els Houben (a4), Karen Windey (a4), Gjalt W. Welling (a5), Jan A. Delcour (a6), Christophe M. Courtin (a6), Kristin Verbeke (a4) and Willem F. Broekaert (a1)...


Wheat bran extract (WBE) is a food-grade soluble fibre preparation that is highly enriched in arabinoxylan oligosaccharides. In this placebo-controlled cross-over human intervention trial, tolerance and effects on colonic protein and carbohydrate fermentation were studied. After a 1-week run-in period, sixty-three healthy adult volunteers consumed 3, 10 and 0 g WBE/d for 3 weeks in a random order, with 2 weeks' washout between each treatment period. Fasting blood samples were collected at the end of the run-in period and at the end of each treatment period for analysis of haematological and clinical chemistry parameters. Additionally, subjects collected a stool sample for analysis of microbiota, SCFA and pH. A urine sample, collected over 48 h, was used for analysis of p-cresol and phenol content. Finally, the subjects completed questionnaires scoring occurrence frequency and distress severity of eighteen gastrointestinal symptoms. Urinary p-cresol excretion was significantly decreased after WBE consumption at 10 g/d. Faecal bifidobacteria levels were significantly increased after daily intake of 10 g WBE. Additionally, WBE intake at 10 g/d increased faecal SCFA concentrations and lowered faecal pH, indicating increased colonic fermentation of WBE into desired metabolites. At 10 g/d, WBE caused a mild increase in flatulence occurrence frequency and distress severity and a tendency for a mild decrease in constipation occurrence frequency. In conclusion, WBE is well tolerated at doses up to 10 g/d in healthy adults volunteers. Intake of 10 g WBE/d exerts beneficial effects on gut health parameters.

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Corresponding author

* Corresponding author: Dr Isabelle E. J. A. François, fax +32 16 751 378, email


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