ArticlePDF Available

Influence of Dietary Spices on Protein Digestibility and Absorption in Experimental Rats

Authors:
  • CSIR - Central Food Technological Research Institute

Abstract and Figures

Since spice diets are known to cause significant reduction in food transit time, an animal study was carried out to verify if there is any undesirable compromise with nutrient bioavailability, especially fat and protein digestion and absorption. Young rats were maintained for 6 weeks on diets containing (in gram percent): ginger (0.05), ajowan (0.2), cumin (1.25), and piperine (0.02). Soya protein and casein were incorporated to the basal semisynthetic diets to make up the sole protein source at 9 % protein level (N × 6.25) in an otherwise isocaloric and isonitrogenous diets. Nitrogen content of urine and feces were determined during the last week of feeding regimen. True protein digestibility, biological value, nitrogen balance, and net protein utilization were calculated. Dietary fat absorption was also determined. It was observed that the test spices reduced food transit time, but there was no undesirable compromise with the protein (casein or soya protein) digestion and absorption. All the four test spices in both the test protein groups showed increased protein and fat absorption and utilization. Thus, dietary intake of spices—ginger, ajowan, piperine, and cumin—enhances fat and protein digestion as well as their absorption despite causing a significant reduction in the ororectal food transit time.
Content may be subject to copyright.
1 23
Food Digestion
ISSN 1869-1978
Volume 4
Combined 2-3
Food Dig. (2013) 4:69-75
DOI 10.1007/s13228-013-0031-7
Influence of Dietary Spices on Protein
Digestibility and Absorption in
Experimental Rats
Usha N.S.Prakash & Krishnapura
Srinivasan
1 23
Your article is protected by copyright and all
rights are held exclusively by Springer Science
+Business Media New York. This e-offprint is
for personal use only and shall not be self-
archived in electronic repositories. If you wish
to self-archive your article, please use the
accepted manuscript version for posting on
your own website. You may further deposit
the accepted manuscript version in any
repository, provided it is only made publicly
available 12 months after official publication
or later and provided acknowledgement is
given to the original source of publication
and a link is inserted to the published article
on Springer's website. The link must be
accompanied by the following text: "The final
publication is available at link.springer.com”.
Influence of Dietary Spices on Protein Digestibility
and Absorption in Experimental Rats
Usha N. S. Prakash &Krishnapura Srinivasan
Received: 5 October 2012 /Accepted: 18 March 2013 / Published online: 27 March 2013
#Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013
Abstract Since spice diets are known to cause significant
reduction in food transit time, an animal study was carried
out to verify if there is any undesirable compromise with
nutrient bioavailability, especially fat and protein digestion
and absorption. Young rats were maintained for 6 weeks on
diets containing (in gram percent): ginger (0.05), ajowan
(0.2), cumin (1.25), and piperine (0.02). Soya protein and
casein were incorporated to the basal semisynthetic diets to
make up the sole protein source at 9 % protein level
(N×6.25) in an otherwise isocaloric and isonitrogenous
diets. Nitrogen content of urine and feces were deter-
mined during the last week of feeding regimen. True
protein digestibility, biological value, nitrogen balance,
and net protein utilization were calculated. Dietary fat
absorption was also determined. It was observed that the
test spices reduced food transit time, but there was no
undesirable compromise with the protein (casein or soya
protein) digestion and absorption. All the four test
spices in both the test protein groups showed increased
protein and fat absorption and utilization. Thus, dietary
intake of spicesginger, ajowan, piperine, and cumin
enhances fat and protein digestion as well as their
absorption despite causing a significant reduction in
the ororectal food transit time.
Keywords Dietary spices .Fat absorption .Food transit time
Protein digestibility
Introduction
Spices are used as food adjuncts to enhance the sensory
quality of foods. They impart characteristic flavor, aroma,
taste and color to foods. In addition, spices are also now
understood to possess several valuable medicinal properties.
The health beneficial influences of spices experimentally
documented include digestive stimulant action, cholesterol
lowering effect, antilithogenic potential, anti-diabetic prop-
erty, antioxidant property, anti-inflammatory activity, anti-
mutagenic property, and anti-cancer potential [20].
The beneficial digestive stimulant action of several com-
mon spices is evidenced to be mediated through an appro-
priate stimulation of the activities of pancreatic digestive
enzymes and a stimulation of the liver to produce and
secrete bile enriched in bile acids [14]. Whether such a
digestive stimulant action of spices would also affect the
duration of residence of food in the gastrointestinal tract has
been examined in experimental rats by feeding test spices at
levels similar to those proven to produce digestive stimulant
action [13]. The gastrointestinal food transit time in rats fed
these individual spices has been documented to be signifi-
cantly lower. This reduction was more prominent for ginger
(Zingiber officinale), ajowan (Trachyspermum ammi), cum-
in (Cuminum cyminum), piperine (of black pepperPiper
nigrum), coriander (Coriandrum sativum), and asafetida
(Ferula asafoetida),whichproducedadecreaseinfood
transit time by 2431 %. Capsaicin (of red pepper
Capsicum annuum), mint (Mentha spicata), onion (Allium
cepa), curcumin (of turmericCurcuma longa) and fennel
(Foeniculum vulgare) also decreased the food transit time,
albeit to a lesser extent (1219 %) [13].
U. N. S. Prakash :K. Srinivasan (*)
Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition,
CSIRCentral Food Technological Research Institute,
Mysore 570 020, India
e-mail: ksri.cftri@gmail.com
Food Dig. (2013) 4:6975
DOI 10.1007/s13228-013-0031-7
Author's personal copy
The accelerated food transit time caused by dietary spices is
essentially whole gut transit time (mouth to anus), and hence it
needs to be ensured that this reduced food transit time does not
amount to a compromise on nutrient absorption. The reduc-
tion in the whole gut transit time caused by dietary spices
probably reflects a shorter, post-absorptive colonic phase,
which is the longest phase of food transit, rather than that of
mouth to caecum transit phase. Reduction in colonic transit
time has been implicated in a reduced risk and the incidence of
colon cancer, as evidenced in populations consuming diets
rich in fiber. Thus, by reducing food transit time, spices may
play a role in the prevention of colon cancer besides combat-
ing constipation. The intestinal food transit time of Indians has
been observed to be shorter compared to Europeans on a
comparable fiber intake; and the presence of several spices
in the Indian diet has been speculated to be a factor responsi-
ble for this phenomenon [19].
In view of the significant reduction in food transit time
caused by spice diets, it is desirable to establish that reduced
food transit time would not lead to any undesirable compro-
mise with nutrient bioavailability especially with regard to fat
and protein digestion and absorption. The present animal
study has therefore evaluated the influence of selected dietary
spices on the digestibility and utilization of two proteins, viz.,
casein and soya protein which represent animal and plant
derived proteins. Additionally, the influence of these dietary
spices on dietary fat absorption is also evaluated.
Materials and Methods
Spice principlepiperine was obtained from M/s Fluka
Chemie, Switzerland, while ginger, ajowan and cumin were
procured from local market and milled to fine powder. Corn
starch, sugar powder and refined groundnut oil were purchased
from local market. Salt mixture (BernhartTommarelli modi-
fied) was purchased from SISCO Research Laboratories
(Mumbai, India). Triethanolamine, vitamin E acetate, vitamin
A acetate, cholecalciferol, and ethylene diamine tetraacetic
acid were obtained from Himedia Laboratories (Mumbai,
India). Food grade casein was purchased from Nimesh
Corporation (Mumbai, India). Soya protein concentrate was
procured from Protein Chemistry and Technology Department
of this institute. All other chemicals used were of analytical
grade and solvents were distilled before use.
Animal Treatment Animal experiment was carried out tak-
ing appropriate measures to minimize pain or discomfort in
accordance with the guidelines laid down regarding the care
and use of animals for experimental purpose and with due
clearance from the Institutes Animal Ethics Committee.
Male Wistar rats (5560 g) were maintained on diets
containing spices previously documented to significantly
lower food transit time and housed in individual stainless
steel cages on various experimental diets ad libitum for
6 weeks. The basal semisynthetic diets included one of the
two specific proteinscasein or soya protein. The test pro-
teinssoya protein and casein were incorporated to the
basal semisynthetic diets to make up the sole protein source
at a level of 9 % protein (N×6.25) in an otherwise isocaloric
and isonitrogenous diets. One group was maintained on low
protein diet with a mean protein level of 2.0 % for the
calculation of endogenous fecal nitrogen and metabolic
urinary nitrogen. The basal diet contained (%): cane sugar,
10; protein (casein or soya protein), 9; NRC vitamin mix-
ture, 1; BernhartTommarelli modified NRC salt mixture, 4;
fat soluble vitamins at the recommended levels, refined
peanut oil, 10; and corn starch up to 100 g. The test spices
were incorporated into this basal diet, replacing an equiva-
lent amount of corn starch to give the various experimental
diets containing (in gram percent): piperine (0.02), cumin
(1.25), ajowan (0.2), and ginger (0.05).
The body weights were recorded at weekly intervals.
During the last week of experimental period, urine and fecal
samples were individually collected. Feces were composit-
ed, dried at 50 °C for 48 h, finely ground and stored for
subsequent chemical analysis. Urine collected daily was
composited and the total volume of the 6-day balance period
was recorded. Nitrogen was determined by Kjeldahl method
as described by Barbano et al. [3] for the determination of
total nitrogen content of food samples, feces, and urine.
Protein Quality Indices Protein quality indices, namely,
True protein digestibility, Biological value and Net protein
utilization were calculated according to Eggum [7].
NB ¼IFþUðÞ
AD ¼IFðÞI100=
TD ¼IFFE
ðÞI100
=
BV ¼IFFE
ðÞUMuðÞ½IFFE
ðÞ½100
=
NPU ¼TD BVðÞ100
=
where NB=nitrogen balance, AD=apparent digestibility,
TD=true digestibility, BV= biological value, I=N intake,
F=fecal N, U=urine N, F
E
=fecal endogenous N, M
u
=meta-
bolic urinary N.
Fat digestibility was also determined as described before
in a separate set of animals. Food intake and body weight
gain was monitored throughout the feeding trial. Fat digest-
ibility was determined by the difference between fat intake
and excretion of fecal fat inclusive of soaps.
Evaluation of Dietary Fat Absorption Fecal triglyceride
was estimated according to the method of Fletcher [8]. Fat
absorption was determined as the difference between fat
intake (computed from food intake data) and excretion
through feces.
70 Food Dig. (2013) 4:6975
Author's personal copy
Measurement of Food Transit Time Towards the end of the
feeding trial, food transit time was monitored by including
ferric oxide (0.5 %) in their respective diets as an unabsor
bable marker [18]. In order to ensure that the food consump-
tion habits of these nocturnal animals were not disturbed,
the groups of experimental animals were made to consume
their respective marker-containing diets immediately af-
ter a 6 h abstinence from their normal food (fasting for
6 h) between 11:00 AM and 5:00 PM. The marker-
containing diets were given at 5.00 PM. Time of ap-
pearance of the first colored fecal pellet was recorded
thereafter. This monitoring was done throughout the
night and the next morning until the appearance of the
first colored pellet. In order to facilitate easy identifica-
tion of the red colored feces, white filter paper sheets
were spread underneath the cages.
At the end of the experiment, rats were killed under ether
anesthesia. Weights of rats, weights of liver, kidney, adipose
tissue, and spleen were noted.
Statistical Analysis Results were expressed as mean ± SEM
and comparisons between groups were made by means of
one-way ANOVA [6]. Comparisons among different groups
were made applying Dunnetts test. Differences were con-
sidered significant when P<0.05.
Results and Discussion
The spices particularly studied in this investigation are com-
monly used in Indian culinary. Cumin (C. cyminum)isa
common ingredient of curry powders and is also used for
seasoning. As an ingredient of indigenous medicine, cumin
seeds are digestive stimulant and carminative [5,16]. Anti-
diabetic effect of cumin seed has been recently established
in streptozotocin diabetic rats, which was also effective in
controlling oxidative stress and inhibiting the advanced
glycation end products formation, which are implicated in
the pathogenesis of diabetic microvascular complications
[10]. Ginger (Z. officinale) is used in a variety of foods both
in fresh and dry forms and also in carbonated drinks. It is
used in medicine as a carminative and digestive stimulant
and also for flatulence and colic [16]. There is level II
evidence for the use of ginger in ameliorating arthritic knee
pain [22]. Ajowan (T. ammi), an ingredient of many dishes
and savories, being carminative and stomachic, is also
employed as an ingredient of medicinal preparations against
digestive disorders [1,12]. The biological activity of cumin
and ginger is partly attributable to cuminaldehyde and 6-
gingerol, respectively, while the bioactive compound of
ajowan is not identified. Black pepper (P. nigrum), the
source of the bioactive piperine, is a common ingredient of
curry powders. It is also prescribed for cholera and various
other gastric ailments [5]. The physiological effects of pip-
erine are recently reviewed [21]. In view of the unambigu-
ous nature of piperine responsible for the biological activity
of black pepper, this active compound as such was used in
this study unlike the whole spice in the case of others.
Food transit time in rats fed different spices with two
different protein sources namely, casein and soya protein are
presented in Figs. 1and 2, respectively. In general, all the test
spices produced a significant reduction in food transit time.
The reduction in food transit time produced by test dietary
spices were in the order: ginger> ajowan> piperine>cumin,
which produced a decrease of 19, 16, 8.5, and 8 %, respec-
tively, in rats fed casein as the protein source. Reduction in
food transit time produced by test spices was in the order
ginger>piperine> cumin>ajowan, which produced a decrease
of 10, 9, 8, and 7 %, respectively, in rats fed soya protein as the
protein source.
Spices have been recognized as functional foods with
digestion-enhancing properties [23]. The reduction in food
transit time produced by the dietary spices in the current
study is consistent with their stimulatory influence on
the activities of key digestive enzymes or on bile secre-
tion reported earlier [14], the factors which contribute to
facilitate digestion. Thus, dietary spices which are
known to have either enhanced the activity of digestive
enzymes or caused a higher secretion of bile acids, also
have markedly reduced the food transit time at the same
level of consumption in the present study. This reduc-
tion in food transit time could probably be attributed to
acceleration in the overall digestive process as a result
of increased availability of digestive enzymes and of
Fig. 1 Effect of dietary spices on ororectal food transit time in rats fed
casein as protein source Values are mean±SEM of 6 animals per group.
*Significant decrease from control group (P< 0.05)
Food Dig. (2013) 4:6975 71
Author's personal copy
bile acids that facilitate fat digestion. The present study
which examined the influence of selected dietary spices
on food transit time when the protein concentration in
the diet is 9 % has evidenced similar significant reduc-
tion in the same by the test spices which were earlier
reported to have this effect when casein concentration in
the diet was 18 % [13].
Digestibility of protein in traditional diets from develop-
ing countries which are based on less refined cereals and
grain legumes as major sources of protein, is considerably
lower [9]. Presence of less digestible protein fractions, high
levels of insoluble fiber, and high concentrations of
antinutritional factors in the diets of developing countries,
are responsible for poor digestibility of protein. The influ-
ence of tannin of Phaseolus vulgaris on protein digestibility
and quality has been evaluated using an enzyme-
Tetrahymena thermophila bioassay [2]. In vitro digestibility
and Tetrahymena-based PER were inversely related to tan-
nin content.
Nutrient absorption is believed to be associated with food
residence time in the small intestine, although the degree to
which transit time or contact time normally limits absorption
is not established [17]. Absorption of food generally de-
pends on the length of time nutrients are in contact with
the absorptive epithelium and the acceleration of intestinal
food transit time in humans by the use of laxative
agents has been observed to increase the escape of
otherwise absorbable nutrients [17]. Having ascertained
the reduction in food transit time in these spice treated rats, our
objective was to evaluate protein digestibility and absorption
for any compromise.
Table 1 Effect of dietary spices on protein absorption and utilization in animals fed casein as protein source
Diet group Nitrogen
consumed (g/d)
Fecal
nitrogen
(g/d)
Urine
nitrogen
(g/d)
Nitrogen balance Apparent digestibility % True digestibility % Biological value % Net protein utilization %
Control 1.75± 0.03 0.171± 0.019 0.414 ± 0.019 1.164 ± 0.025 90.2± 1.17 93.2± 1.14 74.7± 0.58 69.6± 0.88
Ginger 1.89± 0.08 0.065± 0.006 0.456 ± 0.031 1.365 ± 0.118* 96.5± 0.91* 99.3± 0.84* 75.1± 2.86 74.7± 3.29*
Ajowan 1.77± 0.03 0.044± 0.006 0.485 ± 0.032 1.242 ± 0.057* 97.5± 0.33* 100.5± 0.36* 72.7± 2.14 73.0± 1.93
Piperine 1.72± 0.05 0.052± 0.008 0.446 ± 0.012 1.228 ± 0.047* 96.9± 0.60* 100.0± 0.52* 74.2± 0.49 74.2± 0.79*
Cumin 1.69 ± 0.04 0.094± 0.012 0.465±0.035 1.129±0.067 94.4 ± 0.71 97.6± 0.71 71.6± 2.48 69.9± 2.88
Values are mean ± SEM of 6 animals per group
*P<0.05; significantly different from control group
Fig. 2 Effect of dietary spices on ororectal food transit time in rats fed
soya protein as protein source Values are mean ± SEM of 6 animals per
group. *Significant decrease from control group (P<0.05)
72 Food Dig. (2013) 4:6975
Author's personal copy
Table 2 Effect of dietary spices on protein absorption and utilization in animals fed soya protein concentrate as protein source
Diet group Nitrogen consumed
(g/d)
Fecal nitrogen
(g/d)
Urine nitrogen
(g/d)
Nitrogen balance Apparent digestibility % True digestibility
%
Biological value % Net protein utilization %
Control 1.74± 0.073 0.092± 0.007 0.507 ± 0.041 1.14± 0.049 94.7± 0.502 97.7± 0.444 70.4± 1.66 68.7±1.31
Ginger 2.11± 0.045 0.093 ±0.009 0.506±0.025 1.50±0.057* 95.6 ± 0.447 98.1 ±0.433 75.4± 1.49* 74.0 ± 1.31*
Ajowan 2.03± 0.019 0.069 ±0.017 0.512±0.036 1.45±0.049* 96.6 ± 0.862 99.2±0.852 74.6± 1.91* 74.0 ± 2.39*
Piperine 2.11± 0.041 0.085 ±0.006 0.514±0.027 1.51±0.026* 96.0 ± 0.299 98.5 ±0.284 75.3± 0.82* 74.2 ± 0.81*
Cumin 1.90 ± 0.049 0.144± 0.013 0.519 ± 0.028 1.24± 0.037 92.5 ±0.631 95.3± 0.641 71.4 ± 1.24 68.0±1.62
Values are mean ± SEM of 6 animals per group
*P<0.05; significantly different from control group
Table 3 Weight of organs in response to dietary spices
Diet group Whole body (g) Liver (g/100 g bw) Kidney (g/100 g bw) Adipose (g/100 g bw) Spleen (g/100 g bw)
ControlCasein 155.6± 4.24 4.855 ± 0.19 0.86± 0.05 0.80± 0.05 0.34± 0.04
Ginger 150.1± 7.07 4.975 ± 0.18 0.91± 0.11 0.89± 0.09 0.36± 0.01
Ajowan 144.1± 6.42 4.92 ± 0.12 0.89± 0.07 0.78± 0.07 0.31± 0.02
Piperine 148.5± 4.41 4.83 ± 0.03 0.92± 0.02 0.69± 0.06 0.36± 0.02
Cumin 145.1 ± 5.09 4.73±0.05 0.82± 0.04 0.61± 0.06 0.32±0.02
ControlSoya protein 146.0 ± 2.51 5.17 ± 0.25 1.11± 0.07 0.69± 0.02 0.34± 0.03
Ginger 126.0± 1.69 4.90 ± 0.18 1.11± 0.05 0.64± 0.09 0.334± 0.03
Ajowan 114.0± 0.61 5.41 ± 0.14 1.13± 0.04 0.54± 0.02 0.353±0.02
Piperine 146.7± 3.45 5.36 ± 0.02 1.06± 0.04 0.74± 0.07 0.358± 0.01
Cumin 123.8 ± 4.42 5.4±0.13 1.24± 0.10 0.49± 0.12 0.328± 0.02
Values are mean ± SEM of 6 animals per group
Food Dig. (2013) 4:6975 73
Author's personal copy
The effect of dietary intake of spices known to reduce food
transit time, viz., ginger, piperine, ajowan, and cumin on
protein quality indicesnitrogen balance, mean apparent di-
gestibility, true protein digestibility, biological value and net
protein utilization of diets containing casein and soy protein
concentrate are presented in Tables 1and 2. The BV of a
protein is the value that measures how well the body can
absorb and utilize a protein. The higher the BV of the protein,
the more nitrogen the body can absorb, use, and retain. In the
case of diet containing soya protein concentrate as the protein
source, there was an increase in the protein indices values.
Nitrogen balance was increased by ginger (31 %), piperine
(32 %), ajowan (27 %), and cumin (8.4 %); biological value
was increased by ginger (7.2 %), piperine (7 %), and ajowan
(6 %); Net protein utilization was also increased by piperine
(7.9 %), ginger, and ajowan (7.7 %); the values for apparent
and true protein digestibilities remained the same for all the test
spice groups as compared to control animals. In the case of diet
containing casein as the protein source, there was a similar
increasing trend in all the protein indices values. Nitrogen
balance was increased by ginger (17 %), ajowan (6.7 %), and
piperine (5.5 %); apparent protein digestibility was increased
by ajowan (8.3 %), piperine (7.7 %), ginger (7.2 %), and cumin
(5 %); True digestibility was increased by ajowan (7.8 %),
piperine (7.3 %), ginger (6.5 %), and cumin(4.7 %); net protein
utilization was also increased by ginger (7.3 %) and piperine
(6.6 %). There was no significant difference in the biological
values of tested spice groups. Biological value of test spice
groups were retained as compared to control animals.
The mean metabolic fecal nitrogen derived from rats fed
a low protein diet (2 %) amounted to 0.2 g/100 g diet. The
quantitative estimate of endogenous urinary excretion aver-
aged 1 mg/100 g food consumed. From the digestibility
studies, it is understood that in both casein and soya
protein-fed animals along with test spices which are known
to reduce food transit time, there was no undesirable com-
promise with the protein digestion and absorption. Unlike
the reduction in apparent protein digestibility caused due to
increased fiber ingestion, which can result in a reduction in
food transit time, more rapid transit of residues through the
colon may also contribute to a failure to reabsorb endoge-
nous intestinal nitrogen, or nitrogenous materials may sim-
ply be trapped in the fecal mass [4].
The effect of dietary intake of these test spices previously
documented to significantly lower food transit time on the
weights of liver, kidney, adipose and spleen in both casein
and soya protein concentrate (as the protein source) fed rats
Table 4 Effect of dietary spices on dietary triglyceride absorption
Diet group Triglyceride intake (g/day) Triglyceride excreted (g/day) Triglyceride absorbed (g/day)
ControlCasein 2.019± 0.024 0.089± 0.013 1.929±0.012
Ginger 2.200± 0.112 0.026± 0.003 2.174 ± 0.092*
Ajowan 2.065 ± 0.038 0.084 ± 0.015 1.981 ± 0.039
Piperine 2.133± 0.066 0.039± 0.002 2.09± 0.066*
Cumin 2.031 ± 0.050 0.051 ± 0.008 1.975 ± 0.051
ControlSoya protein 2.180± 0.092 0.0588± 0.007 2.121± 0.087
Ginger 2.570± 0.056 0.0408 ± 0.007 2.529 ±0.059*
Ajowan 2.541±0.025 0.0444±0.006 2.496 ± 0.028*
Piperine 2.587± 0.029 0.0419 ± 0.002 2.547 ±0.031*
Cumin 2.387 ± 0.06 0.051±0.007 2.336± 0.054*
Values are mean ± SEM of 6 animals per group
*P<0.05; significantly different from control group
Fig. 3 Influence of dietary spices on triglyceride absorption. Values
are mean±SEM of 6 animals per group
74 Food Dig. (2013) 4:6975
Author's personal copy
is presented in Table 3. It is evident that dietary intake of test
spices has retained the weights of organs compared to nor-
mal rats in both casein and soya protein (as the protein
source) fed rats. This is also suggestive of the inference that
there is no undesirable compromise with the nutrient ab-
sorption in these spice-fed animals.
The effect of dietary spices on fat absorption in both casein
and soya protein (as a protein source) fed rats is shown in
Tab le 4and Fig. 3. Dietary fat absorption was determined as
the difference between fat intake (computed from food intake)
and fecal triglyceride excretion. Dietary ginger produced a
significant increase in the intake of dietary triglycerides (9 %)
when compared to casein-fed control animals. Dietary piper-
ine produced maximum increase in the intake of dietary tri-
glycerides (19 %), followed by ginger (18 %), ajowan
(16.5 %), and cumin (9.5 %) when compared to soya fed
control rats. Among the test spices, dietary ginger produced
highest increase in dietary triglyceride absorption (13 %),
followed by piperine (9 %) when compared to casein-fed
control animals. Dietary piperine produced highest increase
in the absorption of dietary triglyceride (20 %), followed by
ginger (19.2 %), ajowan (17.7 %) and cumin (10 %) when
compared to soya protein-fed control rats. From these data, it
is evident that dietary intake of spices enhances the fat diges-
tion as well as its absorption even in spite of reducing the
ororectal food transit time.
The sensory properties of foods are the primary drivers of
food choice. Spices contribute to flavor and influence food
choice and metabolism. Evidence for flavor manipulation to
enhance energy intake and body weight is limited while
evidence for flavor manipulation to moderate energy intake
and body weight is mixed [11]. We have recently reported
that dietary intake of spicesginger, piperine, capsaicin,
and curcuminalong with high-fat enhanced dietary fat
absorption in rats [15]. These dietary spices enhanced bile
secretion with higher bile acid content in these animals.
Activities of key lipogenic enzymes in liver were reduced
while lipid mobilization from adipose was stimulated by
these spices in high-fat fed rats, which was accompanied
by an increased activity of hormone-sensitive lipase. It was
suggested that dietary ginger and other spice compounds
enhance fat digestion and absorption in high-fat fed situa-
tion through enhanced secretion of bile salts and a stimula-
tion of the activity pancreatic lipase.
Thus, the present animal study has evidenced that dietary
intake of spicesginger, ajowan, piperine, and cumin
enhances fat and protein digestion as well as their absorption
despite causing a significant reduction in the ororectal food
transit time.
Acknowledgments The first author is thankful to the Indian Council
of Medical Research, New Delhi for the award of Senior Research
Fellowship.
References
1. Atal CK, Kapur BM (1987) Cultivation and utilization of medic-
inal plants. Regional Research Laboratory, Jammu Tawi, p 115
2. Aw T-L, Swanson BG (1985) Influence of tannin on Phaseolus
vulgaris protein digestibility and quality. J Food Sci 50:67
3. Barbano DM, Clark JL, Dunham CE, Fleming JR (1990) Kjeldahl
method for determination of total nitrogen content of milk: collab-
orative study. J Assoc Off Anal Chem 73:849
4. Calloway DH, Kretsch MJ (1978) Protein and energy utilization in
men given a rural Guatemalan diet and egg formulas with and
without added oat bran. Am J Clin Nutr 31:1118
5. Chopra RN, Chopra IC, Handa KL, Kapur LD (1958) Indigenous
Drugs of India, 2nd edn. Dhur, Calcutta
6. Dowdy S, Weardew S (1983) Statistics for Research. Wiley, New York
7. Eggum B O, A study of certain factors influencing protein utiliza-
tion in rats and pigs, PhD thesis, National Institute of Animal
Science, Copenhagen (1973)
8. Fletcher MJ (1968) A colorimetric method for estimating serum
triglycerides. Clin Chim Acta 22:303
9. Gilani GS, Cockell KA, Sepehr E (2005) Effects of antinutritional
factors on protein digestibility and amino acid availability in foods.
J AOAC Int 88:967
10. Jagtap AG, Patil PB (2010) Antihyperglycemic activity and inhibition
of advanced glycation end product formation by Cuminum cyminum in
streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. Food Chem Toxicol 48:2030
11. Mattes RD (2012) Physiol Behav 107:584
12. Nadkarni AK (1976) Indian Materia Medica. Popular Prakashan
Pvt. Ltd, Bombay, p 961
13. Platel K, Srinivasan K (2001) Studies on the influence of dietary
spices on food transit time in experimental rats. Nutr Res 21:1309
14. Platel K, Srinivasan K (2004) Digestive stimulant action of spices:
a myth or reality? Indian J Med Res 119:167
15. Prakash UNS, Srinivasan K (2011) Fat digestion and absorption in
spice pretreated rats. J Sci Food Agric 92:503
16. Ramachandran K, Ambasta SP (1986) The useful plants of India.
Publication and Information Directorate, Council of Scientific and
Industrial Research, New Delhi
17. Read NW (1986) Dietary fibre and bowel transit. In: Vahouny GV,
Kritchevsky D (eds) Dietary fibrebasic and chemical aspects.
Plenum, New York, p 81
18. Saraswathi G, Sundaravalli OE, Shurapalekar KS (1983) Physio-
logical effects of dietary fibre of some Indian foods in rats. Plant
Food Human Nutr 33:243
19. Shetty PS, Kurpad AV (1984) Intestinal transit time of South
Indian subjects. Indian J Med Res 80:693
20. Srinivasan K (2005) Role of spices beyond food flavouring:
Nutraceuticals with multiple health effects. Food Rev Int 21:167
21. Srinivasan K (2007) Black pepper and its pungent principle
piperine: a review of diverse physiological effects. Crit Rev Food
Sci Nutr 47:735
22. Tapsell LC et al (2006) Health benefits of herbs and spices: the
past, the present, the future. Med J Aust 185(4 Suppl):S4S24
23. Valussi M (2012) Functional foods with digestion-enhancing prop-
erties. Int J Food Sci Nutr 63(Suppl.1):82
Food Dig. (2013) 4:6975 75
Author's personal copy
... An increase in fat and protein digestion was observed in rats ingesting high quantities of spices. 8 Not only was bile acid secretion increased, the mobilization of lipid from adipose tissue was also augmented due to an increase in the activity of hormone sensitive lipase. Additionally, enhanced secretion of bile and pancreatic lipase has been demonstrated in rats with high dietary ginger intake. ...
... 20 In the South Asian population, it is commonly believed that dietary spices exert a simulant effect on the digestive system and enhance the absorption of nutrients. 22,8 This effect has been demonstrated in an experimental study conducted on rats in India. Although an increase in the activity of pancreatic amylase, lipase and chymotrypsin was seen in the experimental subjects with a high dietary intake of spices, the effect on phosphatases was not studied. ...
Research
Full-text available
Background: Southeast Asian recipes for everyday meals incorporate the use of several spices such as onions, red chillies, turmeric, coriander, cumin, black pepper, garlic and ginger, while cardamom, cinnamon , aniseed, caraway, clove etc are added when preparing festive dishes. The regular use of seasoning spices raises the question of how they may interact and influence the digestive process. The objective of this study was to find out the effect of fourteen seasonal spices on the three intestinal phosphatases: alkaline phosphatase (AlkPase), adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase), and acid phosphatase.
Article
Iron and zinc deficiencies have emerged as controllable nutritional problems of concern all over the globe with varying intensities in all age groups. Additionally, the micronutrients especially zinc is associated with maintaining a sound immune system and hence enhancing the bioavailability of minerals to be an ideal strategy for alleviation of deficiencies. The investigation was undertaken to study the effect of spices on the digestibility of proteins and bioaccessibility of iron and zinc in complementary food mixes (CFM) and Indian flatbread mixes (IFBM). CFM and IFBMs were formulated and spices were added at 1 and 2% to the matrices and their effect on protein, iron and zinc bioaccessibility was determined. In CFMs, spices enhanced the bioaccessible iron by 3-6 fold and 1.7-2.5 fold in IFBMs and zinc bioaccessibility by 1.2-2.0 fold at 2% level in both the mixes. Thermal treatments showed further enhancement in nutrient digestibility at sensorial acceptable levels. To the best of our knowledge this is the first report demonstrating the beneficial role of spices on mineral bioaccessibility in CFM’s and IFB’s. Spices in addition to enhancing the mineral bioaccessibility is also known to boost immunity which is the need of the hour.
Article
Full-text available
Spices are esoteric food adjuncts that have been used as flavoring and coloring agents, and as preservatives for thousands of years. Spices have also been recognized to possess medicinal properties and their use in traditional systems of medicine has been on record for a long time. With the advancement in the technology of spices and on knowledge of the chemistry and pharmacology of their active principles, their health benefit effects were investigated more thoroughly in recent decades. Many health benefit attributes of these common food adjuncts have been recognized in the past few decades by pioneering experimental research involving both animal studies and human trials. These studies documented digestive stimulant action, hypolipidemic effect, antidiabetic influence, antilithogenic property, antioxidant potential, anti-inflammatory property, antimutagenic, and anticarcinogenic potential of spices. Among these, the hypocholesterolemic and antioxidant properties of a few specific spices have far-reaching nutraceutical value. These beneficial physiological effects also have the potential of possible therapeutic application in a variety of disease conditions. This review presents an overview of experimental evidence for the nutraceutical potential of spices.
A macro-KJeldahl procedure using a copper catalyst for determination of milk total nitrogen was developed for both traditional and block dlgestor/steam distiller equipment, and the performance was evaluated by collaborative study. In the first trial of the collaborative study, 9 pairs of blind duplicate milk samples were analyzed for total nitrogen and total nitrogen was converted to "protein" by using a factor of 6.38. Protein content of milk samples ranged from 3.086 to 3.610%. In the first trial, sR and R values for the block dlgestors were influenced significantly by protein concentration; 8R and R values were not Influenced by protein concentration for traditional equipment. It was hypothesized that total digestion time for some block dlgestors In the first trial was not sufficient for high protein milk samples. Thus, a second trial was undertaken with boiling time after clearing Increased by 0.5 h. In the second trial, none of the parameters for reproducibility with either type of equipment were Influenced by protein concentration. It was concluded that laboratory-to-laboratory differences In line voltage may require different total digestion times in different laboratories, particularly those using block dlgestors. The Kjeldahl method using a copper catalyst and either traditional or block digestor equipment for determination of milk total nitrogen has been adopted official first action by AOAC to replace method 920.105.
Article
In an animal experiment, the influence of several spices included in the diet, on food transit time was examined. Groups of adult female Wistar rats were maintained for 6 weeks on diets containing (g%): Curcumin (0.5), Capsaicin (0.015), Piperine (0.02), Ginger (0.05), Cumin (1.25), Fenugreek (2.0), Mustard (0.25), Asafoetida (0.25), Ajowan (0.2), Fennel (0.5), Coriander (2.0), Mint (1.0), Garlic (0.5), and Onion (2.0). On the last day, food transit time was monitored by including ferric oxide (0.5%) in the diet as an un-absorbable marker. Time of excretion of colored faeces was noted following time of consumption of the diet with the marker. In general, all the test spices except fenugreek and mustard produced a significant shortening of the food transit time. This influence was more prominent in the case of spices - ginger, ajowan, cumin, piperine coriander and capsaicin.