From today against gastritis and irritable bowel syndrome we have one more ally, oats! In fact, thanks to the fibers contained in this cereal, oats protect the gastric mucosa, relieve inflammation and stimulate the defenses of the gastrointestinal tract, as emerges from a recent scientific research that appeared in the journal Nutrients thanks to the work of a Polish team (Gudej et al, Nutrients, 2021).
Gastritis and irritable bowel
Gastritis and irritable bowel syndrome are common conditions, often caused by an unbalanced diet, stress, medicines or bacterial infection, such as Helicobacter pylori in the case of gastritis. Against gastritis and colitis there is no standard or unique treatment and much is left to the doctor's ability to act. This is why the scientific world is always looking for new treatments.
The benefits of oats
Oats contain beta glucans, which are soluble fibers contained in the aleurone layer of the cereal. This layer is placed between the external surface layer and the internal endosperm, or starch. This layer also contains proteins and minerals. The process of cereal refining removes this very important layer, hence the importance of consuming whole grains. From previous studies it is known that beta glucans are able to act by reducing blood sugar and cholesterol after a meal. Not only that, beta glucans are anti-inflammatory, stimulate the natural defenses against pathogens and form a protective layer for the internal mucosa against the risk of infection.
Therefore, the researchers wondered if beta glucans could also play a beneficial role in gastritis or colitis.
Do oats help in case of gastritis? The experiment
To understand this, scientists recruited 50 people, between 23 and 74 years of age with gastritis. The volunteers were divided into two groups. The first group was asked to take potato extracts used as a placebo. The second group was asked to take oat extracts containing beta glucans. The experiment lasted a month. At the end of the 30 days, the study participants underwent visits and tests to assess the state of gastritis and the intestinal microbiota, on which the well-being of the whole organism and also the presence of colitis depend.
Oats protect the stomach and support the microbiota
What emerged was that those who had taken beta glucans showed improvements in gastritis, with an evident reduction in damage of the gastric mucosa. Not only that, the intestinal microbiota also showed changes with an increase in some bacteria related to benefits regarding colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. In fact, following the intake of beta glucans, the presence of propionic acid was increased, which limits the exacerbation of colitis, stimulates the defenses of the intestine and counteracts inflammation and any intestinal infections.