Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions

Promoting Public Health: Black rice bran may fight inflammation

November 22, 2010



Black rice may help relieve inflammation that occurs
in allergies, asthma, and other diseases.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Summary

Scientists are reporting evidence that black rice — a
little-known variety of the grain that is the staple food for
one-third of the world population — may help soothe the
inflammation involved in allergies, asthma, and other
diseases. Their study appears in ACS’ bi-weekly Journal
of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
.

Summary

Inflammation is one of the most familiar symptoms of allergies and arthritis. Body-wide inflammation also has been linked to heart disease and more serious conditions. A study in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry offers hints from laboratory experiments that black rice — a little-known variety of the grain that is the staple food for one-third of the world population — may help combat inflammation.

Mendel Friedman, Western Regional Research Center Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Albany, Calif., is a co-author of the report. Here, in his words, is Adam Dylewski…

“In previous studies, we found several health benefits from eating black rice bran. Bran is the outer husk of the grain, which is removed during the processing of brown rice to produce the familiar white rice. These rice bran ingredients and dark rice bran reduce cholesterol, prevent ulcers and blood clots and help block the spread of some cancers.”

With this evidence in hand, the team decided to see if the black rice bran had other beneficial effects, namely, in reducing inflammation. Here are more comments from Friedman.

“When we injected the extract into the mice, it reduced skin inflammation by about 32 percent compared to control animals and also decreased production of certain substances known to promote inflammation. There also was a significant reduction of inflammation in the ears of the mice where we spread the bran. Brown rice bran extract did not have these beneficial effects.”

There were more positive results when the researchers fed the black rice bran to the mice.

“When our team fed the mice a diet containing 10 percent black rice bran, it reduced swelling associated with allergic contact dermatitis, a common type of skin irritation. The findings further show the potential value of black rice bran as an anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic food ingredient and possibly also as a therapeutic agent for the treatment and prevention of diseases associated with chronic inflammation.”

Smart Chemists/Innovative Thinking

Smart chemists. Innovative thinking. That’s the key to solving global challenges of the 21st Century. Be sure to check our previous Global Challenges podcast episodes by visiting www.acs.org/globalchallenges. Today’s podcast was written by Michael Bernstein. I’m Adam Dylewski at the American Chemical Society in Washington.