Sea buckthorn may modulate gut microbiota to improve metabolic profiles: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Sea buckthorn berries © Kerrick / Getty Images
Sea buckthorn berries © Kerrick / Getty Images

Related tags Sea buckthorn Antioxidant metabolic health gut microbiota

Consumption of a sea buckthorn puree may boost levels of select bacteria in the gut to improve a range of metabolic measures in people with high cholesterol, says a new study.

Data published in Foods​ indicated that three months of consuming the puree led to significant reductions in a number of metabolic markers, including glucose and lactate.

The improvements were linked to changes in the gut microbiota, with increased observed in bacteria that produce butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) with known health benefits.

Researchers from the University of Turku (Finland) and Beijing University (China) also reported that increases in bacteria linked to lipid metabolism were observed, while they also found decreases in bacteria linked to cardiovascular disease risk.

“This is the first study investigating the effects of dietary intervention with sea buckthorn puree on plasma metabolomic profile and gut microbiota composition in the hypercholesterolemia population,” ​they wrote.

“The findings of the study provide valuable information for further research on the health-promoting effects of sea buckthorn berries.”

Nutrient-dense botanical

Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides​ L.) has been gaining increasing attention, particularly for extracts of its berries which are known to contain omega-7 fatty acids. The plant is nutrient dense and also contains vitamins A, K, E, C, B1 and B2, amino acids, carbohydrates, folic acid, tocopherols and flavonoids, phenols, terpenes, and tannins.

The plant’s oil has been reported to have a number of other health applications, including atopic eczema, other skin problems related to deficient regeneration, UV radiation stressed skin, mouth dryness, mouth ulcers, gastric ulcers, urinary tract inflammations, cervicitis, genital ulcers, sinus inflammation and eye dryness.

Study details

Using a puree of sea buckthorn berries, the new study had 56 people with hypercholesterolemia consume a 30-gram bottle of the puree three times per day for 90 days. All participants consumed the puree and there was no placebo group: Baseline levels were used for comparison.

The researchers found that some metabolic markers decreased over the first 45 days and then seemed to rebound to baseline values after 90 days, but After 45 days, the researchers found that glucose, lactate, and creatine were still lower at the end of the study compared to the baseline levels, “suggesting an improved energy metabolism in those patients”​.

Reductions in levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), a marker of oxidative stress, were also reported after 90 days, “indicating a possible radical scavenging property of sea buckthorn puree”​.

When the researchers looked at the gut microbiota, they observed that the abundance of some butyrate producers increased, notably Anaerostipes, Ruminococcus, Oscillibacter, Butyrivibrio, Blautia, Eubacterium, Faecalibacterium, ​and Sporobacter​. These increases may “improve the barrier integrity and immune responses of the gut”​, they said.

Increases in Prevotella​ and Faecalibacterium​ were also recorded, which they note are linked to lipid metabolism, while Parasutterella​ levels declined.

“These findings indicate that sea buckthorn berries have potential in modulating energy metabolism and the gut microbiota composition in hypercholesterolemic patients,” ​they concluded.

Source: Foods
2022, 11​(16), 2481; doi: 10.3390/foods11162481
“Dietary Supplementation with Sea Buckthorn Berry Puree Alters Plasma Metabolomic Profile and Gut Microbiota Composition in Hypercholesterolemia Population”
Authors: K. Chen et al.


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