Evaluation of the Effects of Instant Cascara Beverage on the Brain-Gut Axis of Healthy Male and Female Rats.
Instant cascara (IC) is a sustainable beverage obtained from dried coffee cherry pulp, rich in nutrients and bioactive compounds. The present research aimed to determine the effects of IC on general health and brain-gut axis parameters of healthy female and male rats. Wistar rats were exposed to IC (10 mg/mL) in their drinking water for 3 weeks. Body weight and solid and liquid intakes were monitored as indicators of food safety. Gastrointestinal transit was radiographically evaluated one day (acute) and 3 weeks (chronic) after the start of IC exposure. Locomotor activity, anxiety, and anhedonia of the animals after 3 weeks of treatment was also studied. Overall, compared to water-exposed animals, IC significantly increased food intake in males (p < 0.0001) and liquid intake in females (p < 0.05) without changes in body weight in either case. IC did not significantly modify gastrointestinal motility parameters after its acute or repeated intake and did not cause any significant behavioral alterations in males or females (p > 0.05). In conclusion, repeated intake of IC at the studied concentration did not negatively affect brain-gut axis functions of healthy male and female rats. Anxiety behavior, diarrhea, constipation, abnormal weight modifications, or other typical effects of toxicity were not observed in animals treated with the new powdered beverage, suggesting its food safety under the studied conditions.
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