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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Nutr. | doi: 10.3389/fnut.2019.00171

The cholesterol-lowering effect of oats and oat beta glucan: modes of action and potential role of bile acids and the microbiome

  • 1School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, University College Cork, Ireland
  • 2Quaker Oats Center of Excellence, PepsiCo (United States), United States
  • 3University College Cork, Ireland

Consumption of sufficient quantities of oat products has been shown to reduce host cholesterol and thereby modulate cardiovascular disease risk. The effects are proposed to be mediated by the gel-forming properties of oat beta-glucan which modulates host bile acid and cholesterol metabolism and potentially removes intestinal cholesterol for excretion. However, the gut microbiota has emerged as a major factor regulating cholesterol metabolism in the host. Oat beta-glucan has been shown to modulate the gut microbiota, particularly those bacterial species that influence host bile acid metabolism and production of short chain fatty acids, factors which are regulators of host cholesterol homeostasis. Given a significant role for the gut microbiota in cholesterol metabolism it is likely that the effects of oat beta-glucan on the host are multifaceted and involve regulation of microbe-host interactions at the gut interface. Here we consider the potential for oat beta-glucan to influence microbial populations in the gut with potential consequences for bile acid metabolism, reverse cholesterol transport (RCT), short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production, bacterial metabolism of cholesterol and microbe-host signalling.

Keywords: microbiome, microbiota, Oat beta-glucan, Bile, propionate, Cholesterol

Received: 03 Jul 2019; Accepted: 23 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Joyce, Kamil, Fleige and Gahan. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Cormac Gahan, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland, c.gahan@ucc.ie