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

Joyce, S. A., Kamil, A., Fleige, L., & Gahan, C. G. M. (2019). The cholesterol-lowering effect of oats and oat β-glucan: Modes of action and potential role of bile acids and the microbiome. Frontiers in Nutrition, 6, 171. doi:10.3389/fnut.2019.00171



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 β-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 β-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 β-glucan on the host are multifaceted and involve regulation of microbe-host interactions at the gut interface. Here we consider the potential for oat β-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 signaling.