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Introduction

Nutrim is a product created by the US Drug Administration which consists of an oat bran fiber called ß-glucan.

To make this supplement, manufacturers have to release the oat beta glucan from the bran portion of oats – the outer fibrous layer which is concentrated in fiber.

The product is meant to be a convenient and alternative way to boost daily fiber intake. Simply mix nutrim into drinks or add it to food twice a day.

Nutrim Health Benefits

1. Nutrim May Improve Cholesterol Levels

It is well-documented that fiber can reduce blood cholesterol levels by increasing the amount of cholesterol pulled from the blood and reducing cholesterol synthesis in the liver [1].

As oats are high in fiber, epidemiological, interventional, and lab-based studies have demonstrated the beneficial impact of consuming oat-based products on lowering blood cholesterol levels – a key marker of cardiovascular health [2] [3].

Further, the fiber contained within nutrim called β-glucan seems to have the greatest effect on cholesterol levels out of all other types of dietary fiber [4].

A study analysing nutrim found that individuals on an American Heart Association Step II diet significantly increased their HDL (“good”) cholesterol by ~20% and reduced their LDL (“bad”) levels by ~40% when they ate bread containing 6 grams of Nutrim per slice, compared to wholewheat bread [5].

However, evidence also suggests that oat β-glucan needs to be consumed at a dose of at least 3 grams per day to noticeably reduce cholesterol levels. Provided this intake is achieved, a 5-7% decrease in total and LDL cholesterol can be expected in both healthy and unhealthy individuals [6].

2. Nutrim May Help to Manage Blood Glucose Levels

Glycemic control is very important for improving daily energy levels, reducing inflammation, and preventing diabetes.

Dietary fiber can increase the viscosity of contents in the upper gastrointestinal tract and slow down the digestion and absorption rates of nutrients – known as “gastric emptying”. This has a direct influence on maintaining blood glucose levels, and avoiding fluctuations, by affecting rates of glucose absorption [7].

Oat beta-glucan products – that are very similar to nutrim – have also shown their own benefits to glycaemic control, with each gram of oat β-glucan reducing blood glucose elevations from a meal by ~4%. Researchers also state that the use of oat bran as nutritional preload strategy – consumed before a meal – could assist people trying to manage rapid post-meal spikes and crashes in blood glucose [8].

Based on the composition of nutrim and the research on dietary fiber it can be said that nutrim is definitely part of a class of functional food ingredients that can reduce spikes in blood glucose and insulin responses [9].

Things To Keep in Mind When Using Nutrim

Users should be aware that nutrim should not be used as a direct replacement of dietary fiber intake from whole, natural food sources.

Although modified forms of β-glucan seem to have beneficial effects in both human [10] and animal studies [11], these results are generally more inconsistent and not as significant when compared to oats in their natural form [12].

In particular, highly processed β-glucan sources are less effective at reducing blood cholesterol levels compared to unprocessed β-glucan sources [13] [14].

The reasons for this are not well understood, but it is likely due to the removal of fiber from the structure and complexity of the “oat matrix” – which accounts for the interactions between various nutritional components that control nutrient functionality. Specifically, the modification of β-glucan during the processing of oat-based products can cause depolymerisation of the fiber, thus reducing its molecular weight and ability to increase intestinal viscosity.

Based on this, users may be better off sticking to natural oats to increase their dietary fiber intake. This is especially apparent when considering that one serving of nutrim is ~$0.75-$1.00 and provides just 1 gram of β-glucan. For this money people can buy far more whole oats and get a much higher β-glucan content for the price.

However, nutrim is definitely a viable option if people struggle to consume whole-food sources of fiber.

Nutrim Safety and Side Effects

Nutrim, and other β-glucan supplements, are not known to cause any serious side effects or raise concerns for user safety.

Any potential side effects from nutrim are likely very similar to that seen with high-fiber diets, such as:

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Loose stools or diarrhea.

Any side effects from a higher fiber intake also tend to stop once the gut bacteria has been fully adapted, which takes anywhere from 1-4 weeks.

Conclusion

Nutrim is a supplement which consists of an oat bran fiber called ß-glucan.

Its purpose is to act as a convenient source to increase daily fiber intake, as this is a type of carbohydrate that is insufficient in most peoples diets.

There is good evidence that this type of product is effective for improving cholesterol levels, bowel movements, and glycemic control – although to a lesser extent than dietary fiber in its natural form.

Due to this, it is recommended that people try and stick to natural whole-food sources as much as possible, especially when they are a significantly cheaper source of fiber.

Shaun Ward MSc BSc SENr Anutr
Shaun Ward MSc BSc SENr Anutr
Staff Writer & Fact Checker at DietProbe
Shaun is a registered nutritionist, and sport and exercise nutritionist, with experience in coaching professional endurance and strength athletes.
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This article has been reviewed and fact-checked by a certified nutritionist, and only uses information from credible academic sources.