Prebiotic blend shows weight management potential: RCT

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Anchiy / Getty Images
© Anchiy / Getty Images

Related tags Prebiotic Gut health microbiome Inulin Arabinoxylans Herbalife Energy intake

A 50/50 blend of inulin and arabinoxylan may decrease energy intake during a meal, according to a new double-blind, randomised, acute-within-chronic, crossover feeding trial.

Data published in the European Journal of Nutrition​ indicated that 21 days of consuming the prebiotic blend was associated with an average 185 kcal reduction in energy intake during an ad libitum​ meal, compared to the control group.

Scientists from the University of Reading, Herbalife Nutrition, and Northumbria University also report that the blend of inulin and arabinoxylan led to increases in faecal levels of beneficial short chain fatty acids (SCFA), and increased levels of “Bifidobacteria, Lactobacilli​, and other microbial genera associated with health”.

On the other hand, the researchers did not find any impact on perceived satiety and appetite.

“This work indicates prebiotic functionality for a blend of inulin and arabinoxylan; however, further studies are needed to confirm that the observed change in microbial composition and activity influences host health,” they wrote. “This study adds to the growing body of evidence linking non-digestible carbohydrates to appetite regulation.”

The ingredients used in the blend were Frutafit IQ inulin (Chimab, Italy) and Naxus arabinoxylan (BioActor, The Netherlands). The arabinoxylan is derived from wheat endosperm.

Study details

The MIXSAT​ trial (full title: “Effects of Inulin and Arabinoxylan on Satiety, Energy/Food Intake and Changes in the Human Gut Microbiota”) included 20 healthy adult men who were randomly assigned to received either eight grams per day of the inulin and arabinoxylan blend or weight weight-matched maltodextrin (control) for 21 days. On the 21st​ day of the study the participants were fed an “all you can eat” meal.

This was followed by a 14-day wash-out period, after which participants switched to the other group for another 21 days.

While the researchers did not observe a significant impact on the trial’s primary outcomes of perceived satiety and appetite, a significant reduction in energy intake was recorded for the ad libitum meal on day 21 (a secondary outcome).

Consumption of the prebiotics was also associated with significant increases in the abundance of Bifidobacteria​, Lactobacilli​, and Propionibacteria​, said the researchers.

In terms of the possible mechanism(s) of action, the Naxus arabinoxylan has previously been reported to improve glycaemic control by inducing GPR43 signalling which leads to reduced glucose peaks and improved insulin sensitivity. Activation of GPR43 also leads to a cascade of signals eventually triggering the production of GLP-1 and PYY, two hormones involved in inducing satiety.

The researchers called for more research to fully elucidate the mechanisms of action.

“Future studies might also seek to optimise, and perhaps personalise functional food preparations in the context of satiation and ultimately body weight control,” they concluded.

Source: European Journal of Nutrition
2023, Volume 62, Issue 5, Pages 2205-2215. doi: 10.1007/s00394-023-03136-6
“Chronic consumption of a blend of inulin and arabinoxylan reduces energy intake in an ad libitum meal but does not influence perceptions of appetite and satiety: a randomised control-controlled crossover trial”
Authors: S.M. Collins et al.

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