Mice fed a high fat diet supplemented with chitin-glucan– commercially available as Artinia – had lower body weight gain, less fat mass development, and lower increases in cholesterol, compared to animals fed only the high fat diet, according to findings published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
In addition, selective changes in gut microflora populations were different from those previously observed for other prebiotic fibers, like inulin, indicating that “all fermentable carbohydrates that differently modify the gut microbiota can exert interesting physiological effects, by various mechanisms,” according to researchers from the Université catholique de Louvain and Ghent University in Belgium.
The Artinia-branded ingredient is extracted from the Aspergillus niger fungus and is the property of a joint venture between Belgian firm KitoZyme and Missouri-based Stratum Nutrition, a division of Novus International.
With the World Health Organization estimating that by 2015 there will be more than 1.5 billion overweight consumers, incurring health costs beyond $117 billion per year in the US alone, the opportunities for a scientifically-substantiated weight management food product are impressive.
The first link between gut microflora and weight was presented in a breakthrough paper published in Nature in December 2006 (Vol. 444, pp. 1022-1023, 1027-1031) by Jeffrey Gordon’s group at the University of Washington in St Louis reported that microbial populations in the gut are different between obese and lean people, and that when the obese people lost weight their microflora reverted back to that observed in a lean person, suggesting that obesity may have a microbial component.
“Recently, it has been proposed that alterations in the composition of the gut microbiota –known as dysbiosis – participate in the development of obesity,” wrote the researchers, led by Louvain’s Nathalie Delzenne.
“In the present study, we have demonstrated for the first time that fungal chitin-glucan modulates bacterial populations in the caecal content, as characterised by a marked increase in gram-positive bacteria from clostridial cluster XIVa including Roseburia spp.
“[…] our findings support the view that chronic consumption of chitin-glucan has potential beneficial effects with respect to the development of obesity and associated metabolic disorders such as diabetes and [fatty liver],” they added.
The Belgium-based researchers divided 24 mice into three groups: One group was fed a normal/control diet; the second group was fed a high-fat diet to induce obesity; and the third group was fed the high-fat diet supplemented with chitin-glucan.
After three weeks of feeding, the researchers found that the Artinia-fed animals showed a restoration in certain bacteria like Roseburia spp., which were decreased in animals fed the high-fat diet only.
In addition, the chitin-glucan fed animals gained 28 percent less body weight than the high-fat diet animals, and this was accompanied by less fat accumulation, said the researchers.
“Chitin-glucan fiber has metabolic interest that could be dependent on specific changes in microbiota such as the increase in clostridial cluster XIVa bacteria,” said the researchers. “The possibility to treat animals with selected Roseburia as oral probiotics could constitute one interesting perspective to investigate further on the role of this specific gut bacteria in HF diet-induced obesity.”
The results of the study were welcomed by Joseph Evans, PhD, manager of pharmacology at Stratum Nutrition. "In addition to Artinia’s positive effects on heart health, specifically its ability to reduce levels of oxidized LDL, we now see evidence that Artinia offers significant benefits for weight management in a widely used animal model of diet-induced obesity," he said.
"We will continue to evaluate Artinia’s potential for use in weight management and glucose control in future research,” he added.
Source: The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2010.10.008
“Dietary modulation of clostridial cluster XIVa gut bacteria (Roseburia spp.) by chitin–glucan fiber improves host metabolic alterations induced by high-fat diet in mice “
Authors: A.M. Neyrinck, S. Possemiers, W. Verstraete, F. De Backer, P.D. Cani, N.M. Delzenne