Diet-NutritionE. DIETARYFiberHeart Disease

Unraveling the mysteries of the subaleurone layer in rice

There’s an ingredient in rice that may help control blood pressure and explain the lower risk of cardiovascular disease in Japan.

Researchers at Temple University, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, presented the results of their laboratory study during the annual 2010 Experimental Biology conference.

First, some background.

  • The subaleurone layer of Japanese rice (between the white center and brown fibrous outer layer) contains oligosaccharides (sugars) and dietary fibers, which provide nutritional benefits.
  • Polishing to make white rice removes the subaleurone layer.

And, the results.

  • In the laboratory, some of the subaleurone components inhibited angiotensin II activity in cultured vascular smooth muscle cells.

The bottom line?

This finding suggests that something in the subaleurone layer of rice — possibly a statin — might protect against high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. It could also help explain why fewer people die of cardiovascular disease in Japan, where most people eat at least one rice-based dish per day, than in the US, where rice is not a primary component of daily nutrition.

This “ingredient in rice… may be a good starting point for looking into preventive medicine for cardiovascular diseases,” concluded the authors.

4/28/10 14:39 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.