Gastritis is a common condition in which the stomach becomes inflamed. Long-lasting gastritis predisposes to the development of gastric atrophy, intestinal metaplasia and dysplasia, which can lead to the development of gastric cancer.
Symptoms include indigestion, pain and nausea and common causes include bacterial (H. pylori) infection, regular use of painkillers, stress, and alcohol. Treatment regimens vary, with some prescribing proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), some only mucosa-protecting agents, and others using both. However, since PPIs are no longer considered to be completely safe for long-term use, there is still a great demand for additional treatments and prevention.
Beta-glucans are polysaccharides found in the cell walls of cereals, fungi, yeast and algae. Depending on their origin, they show differences in structure. Dissolved beta-glucans absorb large amounts of water to form high-viscosity gums. They do not undergo enzymatic degradation in the stomach, creating a mucus layer, protecting against irritation and alleviating inflammation. Studies have documented their positive effect on lowering postprandial glucose and insulin levels and hypocholesterolemic results as well as suggesting them to act as immune stimulators.
However, few studies have evaluated the antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of beta-glucans in the case of chronic gastritis.
The authors of the current study conducted a randomised, parallel-group, double-blind, 4-week study, conducted at the Gastroenterology Outpatients’ Department and Department of GI Endoscopy of the Institute of Rural Health in Lublin (Poland). The team understand this to be the first randomized, double-blind experiment to evaluate the effects of oat beta-glucans in chronic gastritis in humans.
A total of 48 participants (14 women and 34 men, aged 23–74 years) diagnosed with gastritis were randomly assigned to one of three dietary groups, with 16 patients each: placebo group (P), oat beta-glucan with a high molar mass group (G1) and oat beta-glucan with low molar mass (G2)
Participants attended four clinic visits: a screening visit (visit 1), baseline visit (visit 2), end of the treatment visit (visit 3) and follow-up visit 2 weeks after completing the treatment (visit 4).
Endoscopy with biopsies and histological examinations were performed before treatment (inclusion criteria) and the day after discontinuation (safety measure) of the administration. Histopathological evaluation was conducted in the ALAB Laboratory Sp. z o.o., Warsaw (Poland), and a description of each specimen was obtained.Blood samples for biochemical analysis were collected at visits 2 and 3 for analysis of a number of parameters including serum creatinine, total bilirubin concentrations, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) activities, plasma total antioxidant status (TAS) and the activity of glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione reductase (GR) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) in blood serum. The levels of whole blood reduced (GSH) and oxidized (GSSG) glutathione were also measured.Stool samples were collected for analysis of short-chain fatty acids.
The obtained results showed that the 30-day dietary supplementation with beta-glucans of different molar masses in a dose of 3 g/day resulted in molar mass-dependent changes in some immunological and redox balance parameters in peripheral blood serum and SCFA concentration in the stool of patients with gastritis.The supplements did not cause any significant changes in the hematological and biochemical blood indices and only a slight normalization of histopathological changes in patients from the G1 group.The dietary supplementation of beta-glucans did not adversely affect well-being and did not exacerbate the clinical gastrointestinal symptoms.The report concludes: "Our study demonstrated a beneficial effect of oat beta-glucans with high molar mass in chronic gastritis in humans, resulting in reduced mucosal damage and healthy changes in SCFA fecal concentrations and peripheral blood serum glutathione metabolism and antioxidant defense parameters as well. This fraction of a highly purified oat beta-glucan is safe for the body. Its action is effective after 30 days of use, which sheds new light on the nutritional treatment of chronic gastritis."The authors note limitations of the study concern the heterogeneous group of participants and the lack of biochemical analyses in the stomach tissue, where antioxidative and anti-inflammatory defense processes occurring in chronic inflammation of the gastric mucosa are primarily found.
Gudej, S., Filip, R., Harasym, J., Wilczak, J., Dziendzikowska, K., Oczkowski, M., Jałosińska, M., Juszczak, M., Lange, E., and Gromadzka-Ostrowska, J.
"Clinical Outcomes after Oat Beta-Glucans Dietary Treatment in Gastritis Patients"