Phenolic Compound in Oats Linked to Heart Health

The type of phenolic compound avenanthramide (AVE)—found only in oats—may possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-itch and anti-cancer properties, according to research presented at the 247th Annual Conference of the American Chemical Society in Dallas, March 16-20.

DALLAS—The type of phenolic compound avenanthramide (AVE)—found only in oats—may possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-itch and anti-cancer properties, according to research presented at the 247th Annual Conference of the American Chemical Society in Dallas, March 16-20.

Eating whole grains is consistently associated with a reduced risk of chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease. Most of the benefits have been attributed to the relatively high fiber, vitamin, mineral and phytochemical content of whole grains. Notably, the soluble fiber beta-glucan found in oats has been recognized for its ability to lower both total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). 

"While the data to support the importance of oat beta-glucan remains, these studies reveal that the heart health benefit of eating oats may go beyond fiber," said the session's presiding co-officer, Shengmin Sang, Ph.D., of the Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. "As the scientific investigators dig deeper, we have discovered that the bioactive compounds found in oats—AVEs—may provide additional cardio-protective benefits." 

New research shows that oat AVEs may be partly responsible for the positive association between oats and heart health. Oliver Chen, Ph.D., of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, presented mechanistic data that demonstrated that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of AVEs likely contribute to the atheroprotection of oats. 

Similarly, Mohsen Meydani, Ph.D., from the Vascular Biology Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, provided evidence that oat AVEs suppress the production of inflammatory cytokines associated with fatty streak formation in the arteries. In addition, oat AVEs appear to repress the process associated with the development of atherosclerosis. 

"On behalf of the Quaker Oats Center of Excellence, we are inspired by the investigations in oats agriculture, processing and health research presented at the American Chemical Society's Scientific Sessions," said YiFang Chu, Ph.D., PepsiCo R&D Nutrition. "Along with all of the oats fans out there, we value the significant contribution of scientific collaboration to help expand the thinking behind oats."

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