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Rye Is Better Than Laxatives
For Constipation Relief

Consumption of fiber-rich rye bread may ease constipation
and out-
perform commercial laxatives, according to a
new study from Finland.

Researchers from the University of Helsinki report that whole-grain
rye bread performed better than laxatives and white wheat bread in
the easing of symptoms of constipation, a condition reported to
affects up to 27 per cent of the population of Western countries,
according to the researchers.

“To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to evaluate
the effects of rye bread in treating constipation as compared with
laxatives and to simultaneously investigate the changes in the
colonic metabolism,” reported the researchers, writing in the
Journal of Nutrition “The results are encouraging,” they added.

The beneficial effects of rye were put down to its fibre content,
which could fermented by bacteria in the colon, and lead to an
increase in colonic short chain fatty acids (SCFA).

“Arabinoxylan, which is abundant in rye, appears to be a preferred
substrate for fermentative generation of SCFA,” noted the
researchers. “SCFA may induce propulsive contractions, leading
to accelerated transit and relief of constipation.

“The decrease in fecal pH caused by rye bread consumption,
which was found in the present study, is a natural consequence
of increased fecal SCFA and also decreased intestinal transit time.
The importance of maintaining a slightly acidic environment is
critical, because the majority of harmful bacterial enzymes operate
optimally at a neutral to slightly basic pH,” they explained.

The Finnish researchers recruited 51 constipated adults and
randomly assigned them to one fo five groups: One group received
the whole-grain rye bread (240 grams per day), one group received
buttermilk containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG), one
group received both rye bread and LGG, the fourth group received
white wheat bread, and the final group received laxatives.

At the end of the study an increase in intestinal transit time of 23
and 41 per cent was reported for the rye bread group, compared
with white wheat bread and laxatives, respectively, and the average
number of weekly defactions increased by 1.4.

On the other hand, LGG supplementation did not affect constipation,
they noted. “In conclusion, rye bread relieves mild constipation and
improves colonic metabolism compared with white wheat bread and
commonly used laxatives without increasing gastrointestinal adverse
effects,” wrote the research team.

Source: Journal of Nutrition Published online
“Constipation Is Relieved More by Rye Bread Than Wheat Bread
or Laxatives without Increased Adverse Gastrointestinal Effects”