Fiber mixture-specific effect on distal colonic fermentation and metabolic health in lean but not in prediabetic men

Emanuel E. Canfora*, Gerben D.A. Hermes, Mattea Müller, Jacco Bastings, Elaine E. Vaughan, Marco A. van Den Berg, Jens J. Holst, Koen Venema, Erwin G. Zoetendal, Ellen E. Blaak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Infusions of the short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) acetate in the distal colon improved metabolic parameters in men. Here, we hypothesized that combining rapidly and slowly fermentable fibers will enhance distal colonic acetate production and improve metabolic health. In vitro cultivation studies in a validated model of the colon were used to identify fiber mixtures that yielded high distal colonic acetate production. Subsequently, in two randomized crossover studies, lean and prediabetic overweight/obese men were included. In one study, participants received supplements of either long-chain inulin+resistant starch (INU+RS), INU or maltodextrin (PLA) the day prior to a clinical investigation day (CID). The second trial studied beta glucan+RS (BG+RS) versus BG and PLA. During each CID, breath hydrogen, indirect calorimetry, plasma metabolites/hormones were assessed during fasting and postprandial conditions. Additionally, fecal microbiota composition and SCFA were determined. In prediabetic men, INU+RS increased plasma acetate compared to INU or PLA (P < .05), but did not affect metabolic parameters. In lean men, INU+RS increased breath hydrogen and fasting plasma butyrate, which was accompanied by increased energy expenditure, carbohydrate oxidation and PYY and decreased postprandial glucose concentrations (all P < .05) compared to PLA. BG+RS increased plasma butyrate compared to PLA (P < .05) in prediabetic individuals, but did not affect other fermentation/metabolic markers in both phenotypes. Fiber-induced shifts in fecal microbiota were individual-specific and more pronounced with INU+RS versus BG+RS. Administration of INU+RS (not BG+RS) the day prior to investigation improved metabolic parameters in lean but not in prediabetic individuals, demonstrating that effects were phenotype- and fiber-specific. Further research should study whether longer-term supplementation periods are required to elicit beneficial metabolic health in prediabetic individuals. Trial registration numbers: Clinical trial No. NCT03711383 (Inulin study) and Clinical trial No. NCT03714646 (Beta glucan study).

Original languageEnglish
Article number2009297
JournalGut Microbes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • dietary fibers
  • gut microbiota
  • Short-chain fatty acids
  • substrate metabolism
  • PRJEB47404
  • ERP131676


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