Trial extends study of chitin‐glucan benefits to subjects at cardiometabolic risk

By Asia Sherman

- Last updated on GMT

© JONGHO SHIN / Getty Images
© JONGHO SHIN / Getty Images

Related tags chitin glucan chitin-glucan cardiometabolic health

Chitin-glucan, an insoluble dietary fiber extracted from the cell walls of fungi, may benefit subjects at cardiometabolic risk, according to a recent study published in Nature.

“We showed that chitin-glucan supplementation modified the gut microbiota composition and improved postprandial glycemic response, an early determinant of cardiometabolic risk,” ​the authors of the study stated.

In its natural form, chitin-glucan provides rigidity and strength to the cell walls of Aspergillus niger​, a fungus that causes black mold on the outside of foods like onions, grapes and apricots. It is also found in the exoskeletons of the crustaceans, crab, and shrimp.

In the medical devices and nutraceutical supplements space, Belgian biotech firm KitoZyme owns the patent for the fungi-derived bio-copolymer, sold under its brand name KiOtransine. It contributed to the design and development of the study as part of the wider FiberTAG project, which brings together a consortium of academics and industrial partners to explore the novel biological effects of dietary fiber intake on gut microbiota.

Study details

Previous research demonstrates the potential health benefits of chitin-glucan in animal models, including the reduction of aortic fatty streak accumulation in high-fat fed hamsters and improved cardiometabolic function in obese mice​. More recently, studies have sought to emphasize chitin-glucan’s prebiotic potential by exploring its effects on gut microbiota and bacterial metabolites in healthy subjects.

“Together, these results suggest that it would be of interest to study the effects of chitin-glucan in subjects at cardiometabolic risk who may benefit more distinctly than healthy individuals from such intervention,” ​the researchers explained.

Over a three-week test period, a double-blind, randomized, cross-over study administered 4.5 g of chitin-glucan daily or a maltodextrin as control to 15 overweight or obese participants with high waist circumferences.

Before and after the interventions, the trial evaluated post-meal metabolic parameters, as well as exhaled hydrogen and methane gases. Gut microbiota composition, fecal concentrations of bile acids, long- and short-chain fatty acids, zonulin, calprotectin and lipopolysaccharide binding protein were also analyzed.


Compared to control, chitin-glucan altered several bacteria in the gut, but the study found no difference in fecal metabolites, inflammatory and intestinal permeability markers between groups.  

Researchers, however, did note an increase in exhaled hydrogen following the intake of a fiber-enriched breakfast. This suggested the ability of chitin-glucan to induce a higher fermentation in response to the dietary fiber intake.

“For the first time, we identified an interesting non-invasive biomarker: exhaled H2 following a lactulose breath test, which could be of interest to evaluate dietary fiber impact on postprandial glucose metabolism,” ​the researchers said of the novel finding, adding that the decrease in post-meal glycemia was only observed in subjects with higher exhaled hydrogen.

Looking forward, the study calls for further investigations to confirm these observations and explore the underlying mechanisms of chitin-glucan on cardiometabolic profile in subjects at cardiometabolic risk.

Source: Nature
2022, 12​:8830 doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-12920-z
“Chitin‐glucan supplementation improved postprandial metabolism and altered gut microbiota
in subjects at cardiometabolic risk in a randomized trial”
Authors: H. Ranaivo, et. al.


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