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Rice Bran

What is Rice Bran?

Rice bran comes from the outer layer of rice (Oryza sativa). Rice bran is one of the main by-products in the process of rice milling. It is the outer brown layer of brown rice and is separated during the milling process[i].

The bran found in rice grains contains the nutrients required for the rice to germinate. Rice bran solubles are the most concentrated and easily assimilated form of nutrients derived from rice, without the carbohydrate content (i.e., the white part of the rice grain).

What are the benefits of rice bran?

Antioxidant properties

Rice bran oil has been found to contain the phytochemical γ-oryzanol, with antioxidant properties. Antioxidants may boost the immune system and help protect against various diseases. Additionally, these compounds can scavenge free radicals in the body that can contribute to the development of chronic disease. Rice bran oil may also aid in weight loss due to its content of oleic acid and linoleic acid, which can promote weight management[ii]. The vitamin E present in rice bran oil may also have a positive impact on brain function and endocrine hormone balance. However, further investigation is required to fully understand the antioxidant potential of rice bran oil[iii].

Cholesterol and heart health

Rice bran contains phytosterols (with ‘phyto’ referring to plant). Phytosterols are a class of plant compounds that have a structural similarity to cholesterol in the body. These compounds are known to have cholesterol-lowering effects and may also have anti-inflammatory properties. Rice bran is a particularly abundant source of a phytosterol called beta-sitosterol, which has demonstrated effectiveness in reducing blood cholesterol levels and lowering the risk of heart disease[iv].


Rice bran oil has been found to possess blood sugar-lowering properties. Results from a study suggested that combining rice bran oil with sesame oil as cooking oil may help to lower plasma glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. This anti-diabetic effect of rice bran oil may be attributed to its high content of γ-oryzanol, which can stimulate insulin production and regulate blood glucose levels by activating liver enzymes that lower blood glucose levels[v].


Heavy metals

Rice bran may contain trace amounts of heavy metals, such as arsenic and lead, which can be harmful to health in high doses. It is important to choose high-quality rice bran products and consume them in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Interactions with medications

Rice bran may interfere with the absorption of certain medications, such as thyroid hormone replacement therapy and certain antibiotics. If you are taking medication, particularly on a regular basis, consult with your healthcare provider before using rice bran or any other new supplement or food.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

There is limited information on the safety of rice bran supplementation during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Therefore, it is best to consult with a healthcare provider before using rice bran if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

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