Kamut wheat-based replacement diet could benefit patients with NAFLD, study shows


03 May 2018 --- Kamut Brand khorasan wheat products may help reduce metabolic risk factors and ameliorate the liver profile in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to a study in The Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Secondary prevention improvements, including the reduction in inflammation and cholesterol, were also evident.

In the study, two different kinds of products were supplied to volunteers with NAFLD – products made from ancient Kamut wheat and products made from modern wheat. Both the ancient wheat and modern wheat were grown organically. The study design was a randomized, double-blind trial with two parallel arms with a single intervention phase. Two groups of 20 participants each were assigned to consume either Kamut khorasan or control wheat products (pasta, bread, crackers, biscuits) over a three-month period. Blood analyses were performed at the beginning and at the end of the trial period. 

The research was conducted with the goal of understanding what has been done to modern wheat that makes it difficult to digest, or even makes us sick, and why ancient wheat is different, Bob Quinn, Ph.D., founder of Kamut International, tells NutritionInsight.

“The nutritional analysis found major differences between flour made with ancient Kamut khorasan wheat and modern wheat. A significantly higher Click to Enlargeantioxidant content (polyphenols and selenium), and a higher antioxidant power were found in the ancient wheat flour with respect to the modern wheat flour, as well as higher levels of minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc,” Quinn says.

Regarding the blood analysis, consumption of products made from Kamut wheat produced a significant improvement in several key markers in the blood, such as the total cholesterol (-6 percent), and in liver function enzymes such as ALT enzyme (-14 percent), AST enzyme (-12 percent) and ALP enzyme (-8 percent), independent from age, sex, traditional risk factors, medication and eating habits. 

No significant effect was noted after the consumption of the modern wheat diet, except for AST and ALT where a significant worsening effect was observed. Similarly, a significant improvement in inflammatory risk factors, shown by a decrease in circulating pro-inflammatory Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha (-50 percent), Interleukin l-receptor antagonist a (-37 percent), Interleukin-8 (-24 percent) and Interferon Gamma (-24 percent), was evident only in participants that consumed the KAMUT khorasan products. Finally, although both kinds of products exerted positive benefits on liver steatosis grading, Doppler Perfusion Index values, fat mass and ROS production, the improvements were more evident after a Kamut khorasan wheat-based diet.

“A lifestyle focusing on healthy diet and exercise can decrease, and in some cases, reverse the effects of diseases such as NAFLD. With the cereal component so prevalent in our diets, any method to reduce stresses to our bodies, including the findings from our previous studies addressing Type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol and Acute Coronary Disease (ACS), can only be in the right direction,” Quinn says.

“In the study, participants were consuming wheat based products like pasta, bread, crackers, biscuits and while the research was not done with new product development in mind, brands looking to appeal to health-conscious consumers especially those suffering from IBS, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, etc., can develop any wheat based product using Kamut brand khorasan wheat,” Quinn says.

“Popular right now are ancient grain pizza crusts and those made with Kamut are especially delicious as they have the nutty, buttery taste associated with the grain. The popularity of snacks opens up a whole new areas for product development and we are testing our own snack Kracklin Kamut that is receiving rave reviews – made with only three ingredients: Organic Kamut khorasan wheat, organic high-oleic safflower oil, ancient sea salt.”

“Our next research project will be on fibromyalgia. To be able to help elevate the pain of people suffering from fibromyalgia with simple lifestyle food swaps, would greatly improve their quality of life, Quinn tells NutritionInsight about future avenues for research. “We want to encourage policy makers to take a serious look at funding additional research here in the US to expand on the preliminary results of the studies in Italy that we have conducted. Food should be nourishing and healing and that has always been the motivation for conducting research.”

By Lucy Gunn

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

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