Buckwheat Protein May Be a Good Target for Controlling Cholesterol Absorption in the Gut

PALMYRA, Wis., Jul 12, 2007 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Scientists at Standard Process Inc.(R) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison conducted a cell culture study to determine buckwheat protein's ability to reduce cholesterol absorption, a mechanism that may explain how buckwheat protein affects cholesterol levels. Findings of this study were recently reported in The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.

Dietary proteins, like soy protein, have been shown to affect serum cholesterol and slow the progression of atherosclerosis. Like these proteins, buckwheat protein is gaining popularity as a heart-healthy functional food. Animal studies have already demonstrated that buckwheat protein increases fecal excretion of cholesterol and decreases serum cholesterol levels in rodents.

This study examined a possible mechanism for how buckwheat protein alters cholesterol absorption using a human intestinal cell model. "We looked at how buckwheat protein modulated cholesterol uptake in Caco-2 cells from micelles to better understand a possible mechanism of action in the gut," said Brandon Metzger, research scientist at Standard Process and a PhD candidate in nutritional sciences at UW-Madison. "When we conducted the cholesterol binding experiments in vitro, we found that a large proportion of the cholesterol was associated with an insoluble fraction of buckwheat protein."
Metzger, lead author of the paper, added, "Cholesterol uptake in Caco-2 cells from micelles was reduced by as much as 47% in the presence of buckwheat protein." These data together suggest that buckwheat protein has a strong cholesterol binding capacity that reduces the amount of cholesterol that integrates into micelles. When these intestinal cells cannot absorb cholesterol, it is secreted out of the body. Reducing cholesterol absorption in the intestine may decrease circulating cholesterol levels in the body.

"Considering that the gut contains such a large pool of cholesterol, dietary interventions like buckwheat protein may be effective in altering cholesterol levels," said Metzger. Metzger and his research associates will further evaluate how manufacturing processes might affect the content of buckwheat protein in the seed flour and how the buckwheat protein content might be enriched with current available protein production methods.

Metzger is part of a five-person team in the biological research laboratory at Standard Process where they identify and quantify key chemical markers within Standard Process ingredients and analyze them throughout the manufacturing process to ensure quality and optimal nutritional capacity.

The study "Insoluble Fraction of Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench) protein Possessing Cholesterol-Binding Properties That Reduce Micelle Cholesterol Solubility and Uptake by Caco-2 Cells" is available online at pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi/jafcau/asap/abs/ jf0709496.html.

Source: Metzger, BT, Barnes, DM, Reed, JD. "Insoluble Fraction of Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench) Protein Possessing Cholesterol-Binding Properties That Reduce Micelle Cholesterol Solubility and Uptake by Caco-2 Cells." J Agric Food Chem 2007.

About Standard Process Inc.
For more than 75 years, Standard Process has provided health care professionals with high-quality, nutritional whole food supplements. The company is in the third generation of family-ownership. Unique in the nutritional supplement industry, Standard Process grows crops on company-owned, organically-certified farms. Standard Process utilizes state-of-the-art manufacturing practices which meet the Food and Drug Administration's good manufacturing practice requirements.

Standard Process has more than 160 products, available only through health care professionals. The company continuously researches and develops new whole food nutritional products to address patient needs.
For additional information about Standard Process, contact Tammi Geiger, director of marketing, at 262-495-6423 or visit www.standardprocess.com.

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