Consumption of wheat bran (WB) has been associated with improved gastrointestinal health and a reduced risk for colorectal cancer, cardiovascular diseases and metabolic disorders. These benefits are likely mediated by a combination of mechanisms, including colonic fermentation of the WB fiber, fecal bulking and the prevention of oxidative damage due to its antioxidant capacities. The relative importance of those mechanisms is not known and may differ for each health effect. WB has been modified by reducing particle size, heat treatment or modifying tissue composition to improve its technological properties and facilitate bread making processes. However, the impact of those modifications on human health has not been fully elucidated. Some modifications reinforce whereas others attenuate the health effects of coarse WB. This review summarizes available WB modifications, the mechanisms by which WB induces health benefits, the impact of WB modifications thereon and the available evidence for these effects from in vitro and in vivo studies.
Keywords: Wheat bran modifications; antioxidant capacities; fecal bulking; gut microbiota; short-chain fatty acids.