Prebiotic supplements were associated with increases in the abundance of Bifidobacteria in the guts of overweight and obese kids, and a trend to reduced trunk body fat compared to placebo was observed, according to data presented at the American Society for Nutrition’s Scientific Sessions at Experimental Biology 2015 and published in the FASEB Journal.
Reductions were also observed in waist circumference and insulin levels, reported the researchers, but the results did not reach statistical significance.
Commenting on the findings, Anke Sentko, VP of regulatory affairs and nutrition communication at Beneo said: “We know that chicory root fibers help people eat less. It is great to see that OraftiSynergy1 has the potential to contribute to the obesity fight – for adults and in particular, for children.
“Because the taste of chicory fiber is pleasant and can be easily integrated into daily eating, we feel that it is a good option to support healthy weight management.”
Gut health and weight
The study adds to emerging body of science supporting the effects of gut microflora on metabolic factors and obesity.
Earlier studies have elucidated 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 (Nature, Vol. 444, pp. 1022-1023, 1027-1031).
Therefore, by modifying the gut microbiota using prebiotics or probiotics may offer consumers an option to manage their weight and waist size.
The new study, led by Prof Raylene Reimer, involved 42 overweight and obese children between the ages of 7 to 12 years. The children were randomly assigned to receive either 8 g daily of OraftiSynergy1 supplementation or placebo for 16 weeks.
Results showed that the prebiotic group displayed significantly higher ratings in their feeling of fullness and satisfaction and lower prospective food consumption, compared to placebo. The researchers also found that satiety was significantly higher with the fiber supplementation.
In addition, BMI z-scores were significantly reduced in the prebiotic chicory fiber group, but not in the placebo group, said the researchers.
The potential mechanism of action involves the fiber’s specific fermentation properties and the cross-talk with the brain via the gut-brain axis. Short chain fatty acids formed during fermentation positively influence satiety regulation in the brain, reducing appetite and subsequent food intake.
Data from an earlier study in children indicated that the inulin prebiotic may help avoid undesirable weight gain during pubertal growth. This one-year study was conducted by the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center, and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and found that children between the ages of 9 to 13 years who received 8 g daily of prebiotic (OraftiSynergy1) showed a less excessive body weight development and less body fat, in comparison with children in the control group receiving maltodextrin (a sweet starch-type product).
The study was funded by a grant from the BMO Financial Group, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
Sources: FASEB Journal
April 2015, Volume 29:276.6
“Effect of Prebiotic Fiber-Induced Changes in Gut Microbiota on Adiposity in Obese and Overweight Children”
Authors: A. Nicolucci, M. Hume, R. Reimer
April 2015, Volume 29:597.3
“Prebiotic Fiber Consumption Decreases Energy Intake in Overweight and Obese Children”
Authors: M. Hume, A. Nicolucci, R. Reimer