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Margareta Nyman

Improving gut health by indigestible food components

Many diseases and not only those directly associated with the gastrointestinal tract, but also diseases affecting the entire body (systemic), may be mediated via the colon. However, by improving the nutritional condition of the colon mucosa it may be possible to prevent or even alleviate some of the diseases. In this respect, food components reaching the colon (indigestible) and being degraded by the microbiota to biologically active substances are of the greatest importance. The most well-known source is the dietary fibres, but could also be indigestible protein, fat and minor components such as antioxidants. Important gut metabolites formed from dietary fibre, are the short-chain fatty acids, and especially butyric acid is important energy for the intestinal epithelial cells and may increase the nutritional status of the mucosa. Butyric acid stimulates mucosal cell proliferation, blood flow and oxygen uptake, resulting in a reduced permeability and influx of toxic/inflammatory substances into the circulation and thereby decreased risk for endotoxemia (low-grade inflammation). Interestingly, different dietary fibres give different amounts and patterns of SCFA and it may be possible to optimize the microbiota composition and gut metabolites formed, by variety, process/process-conditions and nutrient composition of the diet.

Research projects

  • Dietary fibre, gut metabolites (short-chain fatty acids, bile acids and LPS) and microbiota composition - PhD-student Tannaz Ghaffarzadegan
  • Barley malt and barley malt byproducts for improved intestinal health – PhD-student Cristina Teixeira
  • Nutritional effects of glycerolesters – PhD-student Thao Nguyen
  • Dietary fibre in white cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata) - Effects of harvest time, storage and processing - PhD-student Mathias Wennberg
  • How do different food components alter the gut microbiota and can microbiome changes be linked to health benefits of foods? – PhD student Nittaya Marungruang
  • The gut microbiome and neuroinflammatory processes – PhD student Nittaya Marungruang
  • Effect of prebiotic carbohydrates on fecal and serum short-chain fatty acids and bile acids in healthy subjects and patients with IBD (collaboration with research centres/clinics in Sweden and Norway)

Selected original papers

Nilsson U, Johansson M, Nilsson Å, Björck I, Nyman M 2008. Dietary supplementation with β-glucan enriched oat bran increases faecal concentration of carboxylic acids in healthy subjects. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 62, 978-841.

Immerstrand T, Andersson KE, Wange C, Rascon A, Hellstrand P, Nyman M, Cui S, Bergenståhl B, Trägårdh C, Öste R 2010.  Effects of oat bran, processed to different molecular weights of beta-glucan, on plasma lipids and caecal formation of SCFA in mice. British Journal of Nutrition, 104, 364-73.

Bränning C, Nyman M 2011. Malt in combination with Lactobacillus rhamnosus increases concentrations of butyric acid in the distal colon and serum in rats compared with other barley products but decreases viable counts of cecal bifidobacteria, Journal of Nutrition, 141, 101-107.

Jakobsdottir G, Jädert C, Holm L, Nyman M 2013. Propionic and butyric acids, formed in caecum of rats fed highly fermentable dietary fibre, are reflected in portal and aortic serum. British Journal of Nutrition, 110, 1565-72.

Jakobsdottir G, Bjerregaard JH, Skovbjerg H, Nyman M 2013. Fasting serum concentration of short-chain fatty acids in subjects with microscopic colitis and celiac disease: no difference compared with controls, but between genders. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, 48, 696-701.

Ghaffarzadegan T, Nyman M, Jönsson JÅ, Sandahl M. Determination of bile acids by hollow fibre liquid-phase microextraction coupled with gas chromatography 2014. Journal of Chromatography B, 944, 69-74.

Jakobsdóttir G, Xu J, Molin G, Ahrné S, Nyman M 2013. High-fat diet reduces the formation of butyrate, but increases succinate, inflammation, liver fat and cholesterol in rats, while dietary fibre counteracts these effects. Plos ONE, 11, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0080476.

Zhong Y, Marungruang N, Fåk F, Nyman M 2015. Effects of two whole-grain barley varieties on caecal short-chain fatty acids, gut microbiota and plasma inflammatory markers in rats consuming low- and high-fat diets. British Journal of Nutrition, 113, 1558-70.

Zhong Y, Teixeira C, Marungruang N, Sae-Lim W, Tareke E, Andersson R, Fåk F, Nyman M 2015. Barley malt increases hindgut and portal butyric acid, modulates gene expression of gut tight junction proteins and Toll-like receptors in rats fed high-fat diets, but high advanced glycation end-products partially  attenuate the effects.  Food & Function, 6, 3165-76.

Zhong Y, Nyman M, Fåk F 2015. Modulation of gut microbiota in rats fed high-fat diets by processing whole-grain barley to barley malt. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201500187

Fåk F, Jakobsdottir G, Kulcinskaja E, Marungruang N, Matziouridou C, Nilsson U, Stålbrand H, Nyman M 2015. The physico-chemical properties of dietary fibre determine metabolic responses, short-chain fatty acid profiles and gut microbiota composition in rats fed low- and high-fat diets. PLoS One, 10, e0127252.

Margareta Nyman

Margareta Nyman

+46 46 222 4567
margareta.nyman [at]

Food for Health Science Centre
Lund University
Medicon Village
SE-223 81  Lund, Sweden

Tel +46(46)222 000 (switchboard)

VAT number: SE202100321101