The BIG Bran Benefit!


Prepared by Srinivasa K. Rao, Ph.D.

Rice bran is a natural nutraceutical storehouse that can keep pharmaceuticals away, so it should be utilized to the last GRAM for better health!

Rice bran is the by-product obtained during the rice milling. This is the golden reddish cuticle obtained after the removal of the husk and during the polishing of the rice.

Rice bran, the outer covering of the rice grain, contains a unique profile of phytochemicals with medicinal and nutritional properties beneficial to human health.

Despite the large body of scientific evidence on rice bran’s nutritional value, it remains underutilized in human health and nutrition because it is considered animal feed.

India produces more than 100 million metric tons of rice per year. Processing paddy to rice generates up to10% bran, resulting in approximately 10 million tons of bran per year. Only 55% of bran is processed, with the remainder going to the lower-priced animal feed market.

Food metabolomics, or “Foodomics,” provides information on the presence and relative abundance of all compounds in a food matrix. Food metabolome studies have shown compounds across diverse chemical classes such as amino acids, lipids, sugars, peptides, organic acids, phenolic compounds, and other secondary metabolites.

Rice bran contains amino acids, vitamins & cofactors, and phytochemicals with medicinal and nutritional properties. Therefore, rice bran is a functional food that has shown protection against major chronic diseases (e.g., obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer) in animals and humans. These health effects have been associated with bioactive phytochemicals. It contains 453 distinct phytochemicals, 209 classified as amino acids, cofactors & vitamins, and secondary metabolites. This suite of amino acids, cofactors & vitamins, and secondary metabolites comprised 46% of the identified rice bran metabolome, substantially enhancing our knowledge of health-promoting rice bran compounds.

Rice bran amino acid metabolic pathways

The figure below shows the relation of rice bran amino acids to the human metabolic pathways.

Rice Bran Vitamins & cofactors

The figure below shows the relation of rice bran Vitamins & cofactors to the human metabolic pathways.

Analysis and understanding of vitamins & cofactors and phytochemicals with Medicinal and Nutritional Properties demonstrate the importance of rice bran in human health.

Bran and Obesity

A healthy weight sets the stage for bones, muscles, brain, heart, and others to play their parts smoothly and efficiently for many years.

Harvard school of public health report says excess weight, especially obesity, diminishes almost every aspect of health, from reproductive and respiratory function to memory and mood. Obesity increases the risk of several debilitating and deadly diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.

It does this through various pathways, some as straightforward as the mechanical stress of carrying extra pounds and some involving complex changes in hormones and metabolism. Obesity decreases the quality and length of life and increases individual, national, and global healthcare costs. The good news, though, is that weight loss can curtail some obesity-related risks.

Prepared by Srinivasa K. Rao, Ph.D.

Bran modulates lipid metabolism. Animal studies have shown that bran can reduce weight gain and obesity. Substitution of whole grains, including brown rice, for white rice may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

But brown rice (rice with bran) has a short shelf life, and people do not readily accept its cooking and digestibility properties; therefore rice industry offers well-polished rice. The polishing removes bran from rice, generating bran as a by-product.

About 5 million tons of rice bran could be available in the Indian market. The per kilo rate is approximately Rs.36 ( $0.45). Consumption of 10 grams per day is equivalent to consuming brown rice; the cost per month per person could be Rs. 60 ($0.75). In other words, it’s Rs.1 ($0.01) per meal. Thus, rice bran is the most affordable natural health-promoting product with BIG benefits for human health.

Despite the potential for rice bran to improve human health, it’s not used as needed. So, the need of the hour is making rice bran a part of biscuits, cookies, and food supplements that people are already using!

(Author: Dr Srinivasarao K)


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