Research

Our research focus is based on one of the ancient teachings of Hippocrates that “Medicine should be our food and food should be our medicine” and two modern observations.

An ever-increasing number of people can no longer enjoy eating modern wheat as a staple in their diets because of some type of sensitivity or malady.

Since introducing KAMUT® khorasan wheat to the market, many consumers have told us that the problems they experienced after eating modern wheat did not occur when they ate this ancient grain.

We do not believe that we should simply medicate the symptoms of poor health and discomfort created or aggravated by eating modern wheat. Rather, we should look directly to our food for not only the potential cause, but also the potential cure for some of the diseases and problems plaguing society.

Guided by results of early studies, we created a research program to understand why many people with sensitivities to modern wheat report having no difficulty eating KAMUT® brand khorasan wheat and to confirm the health benefits of this ancient grain.
 
In 1991, a study was conducted by the International Food Allergy Association in Illinois, USA over a six month period involving 100 people suffering from significant wheat sensitivities. In results of blood analysis nearly 70% showed less sensitivity to KAMUT® khorasan wheat compared to modern wheat. A subset of 10 out of the 100 who had significant problems eating modern wheat were then given a diet of KAMUT® khorasan wheat products. Seven out of the 10 showed very mild or no sensitivity to KAMUT® khorasan wheat. These results led the study findings author to conclude, “KAMUT (khorasan wheat products) can be an excellent substitution for common (modern) wheat if eaten on a rotational basis”.
In 2009, the profiles of polyphenols in KAMUT® khorasan wheat, other ancient wheat varieties, and modern wheat varieties were studied (read abstract). Polyphenols are secondary metabolites of plants characterized by antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that have an important role in the prevention of chronic disease. The content of polyphenols didn’t differ quantitatively between ancient and modern varieties, but results showed that KAMUT® khorasan wheat contained one of the most diverse profiles of these bioactive compounds. This rich source of biodiversity provides unique nutraceutical value.
A three part study to investigate antioxidant properties of KAMUT® khorasan wheat first focused on analysis of blood markers (results published in 2011, read abstract). Results indicated that consumption of whole grain KAMUT® khorasan bread increased antioxidant protection compared to consumption of modern durum wheat bread. This effect was correlated to the higher content of selenium and polyphenols in the KAMUT® khorasan wheat bread compared to the modern durum wheat bread.
 
The second part of this study investigated both antioxidative stress markers and antioxidant enzymes in the liver (results published in 2012, read abstract). Results indicated that consumption of whole grain KAMUT® khorasan wheat bread resulted in a higher activity of antioxidant enzymes in the liver compared to consumption of modern wheat bread. This result confirmed the results obtained in the first study.
 
The third and last part of this study investigated the effects of consumption of KAMUT® khorasan wheat pasta compared to consumption of modern durum wheat pasta (results published in 2014, read full text article). In addition to confirmation of the already observed antioxidant protection, a significant anti-inflammatory effect was observed from consumption of KAMUT® khorasan wheat pasta. Alternatively, after consumption of modern durum wheat pasta a lower antioxidant protection and a comparatively significant inflammatory effect was observed. These findings gave further indications to why many people suffering from non-celiac wheat sensitivities report having no difficulty with KAMUT® khorasan wheat.

A following study investigated differences between KAMUT® khorasan wheat, “non-KAMUT®” khorasan wheat cultivated in Italy, and modern wheat to assess if health-beneficial properties are attributed only to the wheat variety or also to where it is grown (results published in 2015, read full text article). The richest content of polyphenols and carotenoids and the highest antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects were shown with khorasan flour, particularly when grown in North America under the KAMUT® brand program. Although the use of ancient vs. modern wheat appeared to be the main factor in the observed health-beneficial properties, the growing location of the khorasan wheat also played a key role.

An additional study compared bread made from two ancient grains, two heritage grains, and four modern grains grown in the same agronomic conditions (results published in 2018, read abstract). Each type of bread was digested in vitro and supplemented to liver cells and then assessed for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Even though it was not possible to distinguish the digested bread of the different grains based on chemical composition, clear differences in the effects on the cells were observed that confirmed the potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of ancient grains.
A study was conducted to evaluate the prebiotic potential of soluble fiber extracted from KAMUT® khorasan wheat, other ancient wheat varieties, and modern wheat varieties (results published in 2012, read abstract). Prebiotics are chemicals that can induce growth of healthy gut microorganisms that limit growth of potentially harmful microorganisms. The KAMUT® khorasan wheat soluble fiber demonstrated a prebiotic potential significantly higher compared to the other wheat varieties. This result indicated consumption of KAMUT® khorasan wheat products may enhance gut health.
 
A human clinical trial evaluated the impact of diet on gut microflora and metabolic profile in healthy volunteers (results published in 2014, read abstract). Results demonstrated that consumption of whole  KAMUT® khorasan wheat products compared to consumption of whole modern wheat products was characterized by release in the gut of more Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA) and phenolic compounds, as well as an increase in health-promoting gut bacteria. SCFA play a key role in nutrition, immune system function, metabolism, and gut protection from pathogens.

These results support previous findings related to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of KAMUT® khorasan wheat compared to modern wheat.
A study was conducted to investigate the effects of consumption of KAMUT® khorasan wheat products in people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (results published in 2014, read full text article). Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder with recurrent abdominal discomfort or pain and troublesome bowel movements.
 
After consuming KAMUT® khorasan wheat products, patients experienced a significant improvement in symptoms related to IBS, such as a decrease in the intensity and frequency of abdominal pain, less stomach bloating, less troublesome bowel movements, and less tiredness. The inflammatory profile was also improved with a reduction of cytokines, molecules circulating in the blood that are responsible for inflammatory levels of the body. No significant differences were observed after consuming modern wheat products. This result indicated that KAMUT® khorasan wheat can be a healthy option for those suffering from IBS that have completely eliminated wheat from their diet.
The first study related to cardiovascular health investigated the impact of consumption of KAMUT® khorasan wheat in healthy adults with no prior clinical manifestation of cardiovascular disease, but with risk factors for the disease (results published in 2013, read full text article). Results indicated that consumption of KAMUT® khorasan wheat products can significantly reduce metabolic risk factors in the blood such as total cholesterol, “bad” cholesterol LDL, glucose, and increase mineral levels, particularly potassium and magnesium. Additionally, a decrease in the levels of cytokines, markers of inflammation in the blood, was observed. These results were not observed in the same participants after the consumption of modern wheat products.
 
The positive results of the previous study were confirmed in a later study involving patients with clinical manifestation of cardiovascular disease (results published in 2015, read full text article). Results of this study indicated that for those with clinical manifestation of cardiovascular disease consumption of KAMUT® khorasan wheat products can significantly reduce key factors of cardiovascular risk compared to consumption of modern wheat products. Despite the participants also being under a stringent drug therapy, key factors including total cholesterol, “bad” cholesterol LDL, glucose, and insulin were reduced. A significant decrease of inflammation indicating cytokines was also observed.
An initial study focusing on non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) was conducted involving analysis of peripheral blood mononucleated cells from NCGS patients and healthy subjects exposed to protein extracts of ancient and modern wheat varieties (results published in 2015, read full text article). In blood cells from both NCGS patients and non-NCGS patients, compared to the ancient wheat varieties the modern wheat varieties induced a higher production of inflammation indicating cytokines commonly found in celiac and IBS patients.

The above results were confirmed in another study involving children with NCGS (results published in 2017, read abstract).

These studies demonstrated that compared to ancient wheat varieties inflammatory effects were observed to be much more prominent in the proteins of modern wheat varieties.
A study was conducted focused on consumption of KAMUT® khorasan wheat products and modern wheat products in participants with type 2 diabetes mellitus (results published in 2016, read full text article). Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a chronic condition characterized by excessive glucose levels resulting from insulin resistance and/or decreased insulin secretion. Despite ongoing traditional medicinal therapies with all participants, a positive impact of consuming KAMUT® khorasan wheat products was observed on blood insulin, glucose, and insulin resistance. In addition, there was a significant decrease in risk factors of T2DM patient vascular complications such as total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, inflammation indicating cytokines, and a significant increase of antioxidant effects.

A following study on healthy patients confirmed the results of the previous study as well as provided further evidence of the greater ability of KAMUT® khorasan wheat compared to modern wheat to reduce risk factors associated with development of T2DM, such as insulin and fat mass (results published in 2017, read full text article). 
A study was conducted involving consumption of KAMUT® khorasan wheat products and modern wheat products in patients suffering from Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (results published in 2018, read full text article). Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is an accumulation of fats in the liver of those who do not consume excessive alcohol. Consumption of KAMUT® khorasan wheat products produced a significant improvement in several key markers in the blood, such as total cholesterol and liver function enzymes. Additionally, a significant improvement in markers of inflammation in the blood were observed only in the NAFLD patients that consumed KAMUT® khorasan products. Finally, although both kinds of products demonstrated positive effects on liver steatosis grading, Doppler Perfusion Index values, fat mass, and Reactive Oxygen Species production, the improvements were more evident after consumption of KAMUT® khorasan wheat products.

This is the fourth in a series of human studies on non-infectious chronic diseases that confirms a positive impact of consuming products made with KAMUT® khorasan wheat.