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HealthFerm study´s Profile image

HealthFerm study

Research group
24.10.2023 -
Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences


Welcome to the study!

Fermentation = microbial-driven process that influences the taste, texture, and nutritional characteristics of the food. It has been used for thousands of years to prepare and preserve food.

Study design

In this study, participants consume both fermented and non-fermented oat-based products over 12 weeks, divided into four three-week phases:

  1. First period: Participants maintain their habitual diet.
  2. Second period: Participants include study product 1 into their diet.
  3. Third period: Participants return to their habitual diet.
  4. Fourth period: Participants include study product 2 into their diet.

During periods involving research products, there’s a slight restriction on the consumption of dairy products or plant-based alternatives. Additionally, the intake of fiber from other sources, such as bread and porridge, is moderately limited to prevent stomach symptoms.

Throughout the study, various data are collected, including blood, faeces, and urine samples. Questionnaires are used to assess food intake, stomach symptoms, perceived health, and values and attitudes. The study visits take place on weekday mornings and last 1-1.5 hours (except the screening visit, which lasts for 30 minutes). At the end of the study, participants receive feedback on their habitual diet and the results of laboratory tests with reference values.

This study will provide new information on the importance of fermented plant-based products for human health, as the topic has been relatively under-researched. The knowledge gained from the study can also be utilized, among other things, in the development of fermented plant-based foods. Additionally, the results may encourage the incorporation of fermented plant-based products as part of a health-supporting diet.


People from Kuopio and the surrounding area will be included in the study. Participants will be recruited for the study for both spring and autumn 2024.

The following criteria have been defined for participants:

Inclusion criteria:

  • 30–65 years
  • BMI 27-35 OR waist circumference >90 cm (women) or >100 cm (men)
  • At least one of the following:
    • Raised blood sugar:
      • >5.6 mmol/l
    • Raised triglyceride or reduced HDL cholesterol:
      • triglyseridit >1,7 mmol/l
      • HDL <1.0 (men) or <1.3 (women) mmol/l
    • Hypertension:
      • systolic: >130 mmHg
      • diastolic: >85 mmHg
      • or both
    • Use of cereal and dairy products or their plant-based alternatives as part of a habitual diet
    • Willingness to follow the intervention diets for the whole study

Exclusion criteria:

  • Certain conditions requiring regular medication (e.g., type 2 diabetes, chronic liver, kidney, thyroid or gastrointestinal disease)
  • Pregnancy or lactation
  • Gluten-free or vegan diet
  • Recent use of antibiotics (within 3 months)
  • Gastrointestinal surgery (within 6 months)
  • Alcohol abuse

Suitability for the study is confirmed by screening blood tests and other measurements.

More info on

Doctoral researcher Vilma Liikonen

tel. 050 4776241


Research nurse Eeva Lajunen

tel. 040 355 2018 (Mon-Thu 12–15)

Authors of the study

The study is carried out by the University of Eastern Finland and is researcher-driven.

The study is part of the international HealthFerm project, which investigates the health effects of fermented foods and aims to develop new plant-based foods. Collaborating institutions include the University of Turku, Catholic University of Leuven, Umeå University, and Zurich Institute of Technology.

The Medical Regional Research Ethics Committee of the North Savo Hospital District has reviewed and approved the research plan.

The primary funding for the study comes from the European Union’s Horizon Europe programme.