Background/objectives: Khorasan wheat (Kamut) is an ancient grain with widely acclaimed beneficial effects on human health. The objective was to characterise Kamut and to examine the effect of a replacement diet with their products on cardiovascular risk parameters.
Subjects/methods: We conducted a randomized, single-blinded cross-over trial with two intervention phases on 22 healthy subjects (14 females; 8 males). The participants were assigned to consume products (bread, pasta and crackers) made either from Kamut or control semi-whole-grain wheat for 8 weeks in a random order. An 8-week washout period was implemented between the interventions. Laboratory analyses were performed both at the beginning and at the end of each intervention phase.
Results: At a general linear model for repeated measurements adjusted for several confounders, consumption of Kamut products showed a significant reduction of metabolic risk factors such as total cholesterol (mean reduction: -8.46 mg/dl; -4%), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (-9.82 mg/dl; -7.8%) and blood glucose. Similarly, redox status was significantly improved only after the Kamut intervention phase, as measured by a reduction in both thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (-0.17 nmol/ml; -21.5%;) and carbonyl levels (-0.16 nmol/ml; -17.6%). The replacement diet with Kamut products also resulted in a significant increase of serum potassium and magnesium. Circulating levels of key pro-inflammatory cytokines (interleukin (IL)-6, IL-12, tumour necrosis factor-α and vascular endothelial growth factor) were significantly reduced after the consumption of Kamut products.
Conclusions: The present results suggest that a replacement diet with Kamut products could be effective in reducing metabolic risk factors, markers of both oxidative stress and inflammatory status.