Researchers Find Ester Compound Cycloartenylferulate Mainly Responsible for Brown Rice’s Health Benefits – ScienceDaily

Researchers Find Ester Compound Cycloartenylferulate Mainly Responsible for Brown Rice’s Health Benefits – ScienceDaily

In the Asian diet, rice is a staple, contributing to nearly 90% of global rice consumption. Brown rice in particular is known to have several health benefits. As a regular addition to the diet, it can help reduce body weight, lower cholesterol and suppress inflammation. Brown rice’s ability to neutralize reactive oxygen species and prevent cell damage is critical to many of its health benefits. Although previous studies have shown that the antioxidant compounds in brown rice can protect cells from oxidative stress, knowing which main compound contributes to these beneficial properties has long remained a mystery.

In a recent study led by Professor Yoshimasa Nakamura of Okayama University’s Graduate School of Environmental and Life Science, researchers from Japan identified cycloartenylferulate (CAF) as the main “cytoprotective” or cell-protecting compound in brown rice. CAF is a unique compound due to its hybrid structure. As Professor Nakamura explains: “CAF is a hybrid compound of polyphenol and phytosterol and is said to be a potent bioactive substance with various pharmacological properties such as: B. an antioxidant effect and a blood lipid-lowering effect.”

The study, published in Volume 24, Issue 1 of the International Journal of Molecular Sciences on January 3, 2023, was co-authored by Hongyan Wu of Dalian Polytechnic University and Toshiyuki Nakamura of the Graduate School of Environmental and Life Science at Okayama University. In it, the researchers demonstrate the antioxidant properties of CAF by showing that it can protect cells from stress caused by hydrogen peroxide. Although hydrogen peroxide is a by-product of a cell’s metabolic processes, abnormal levels of the compound can be toxic to cells and cause irreversible damage. Treating cells with CAF increased their resilience to toxic stress induced by hydrogen peroxide. Additionally, CAF provided greater protection against hydrogen peroxide-induced stress compared to alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol, two other prominent antioxidants previously speculated to be major contributors to brown rice’s antioxidant capacity.

According to the study’s estimates, the amount of CAF in brown rice whole grains is five times higher than other antioxidant compounds found in brown rice. In addition, CAF increases levels of heme oxygenase-1, or HO-1, an enzyme that facilitates the production of antioxidants. “We have shown here that CAF significantly increases mRNA levels of HO-1, the small molecular weight antioxidant-producing enzyme, at concentrations similar to those required for cytoprotective effects in resistance to oxidative damage,” explains Professor Nakamura.

Researchers further investigated this mechanism of action through experiments in which blocking HO-1 activity with inhibitors significantly reduced the antioxidant effects of CAF. The high abundance and unique mechanism of action are evidence that CAF is the most important antioxidant in brown rice.

Through this study, the researchers have not only uncovered the secret of brown rice’s health benefits, but also pinpointed the component that is primarily responsible for these benefits. This will enable the use of CAF in the development of better novel dietary supplements and food products focused on consumer health. As an optimistic Professor Nakamura notes: “Our study can help in the development of new functional foods and dietary supplements based on the functionality of CAFs, such as: B. CAF-based nutraceuticals.

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