Effect of Postprandial Posture on Digestion and Absorption of Dietary Carbohydrate

J Physiol Anthropol Appl Human Sci. 2002 Jan;21(1):45-50. doi: 10.2114/jpa.21.45.


The effect of postprandial body posture on digestion and absorption of dietary carbohydrate were examined through breath hydrogen test on 6 female subjects. During the experiment, the participants either sat on a chair or lay on their backs for the first 4 hr (from 08:00 to 12:00) after eating the test breakfast meal. They then remained sedentary on a sofa for 6 hr (12:00 to 18:00). Participants' end alveolar breath samples were collected for 10 hr (every 15 min from 08:00 to 12:30, and then every 30 min until 18:00). The experiment was conducted on two consecutive days using a randomized, crossover study design. The results demonstrated that in the supine position orocecal transit time of the test meal was significantly slower than in the sitting position (260 +/- 21 min and 238 +/- 20 min, respectively, p < 0.01). In addition, afternoon breath hydrogen excretion due to a partial malabsorption of dietary carbohydrate and its fermentation in the colon was significantly larger in the sitting position (144.0 +/- 24.1 ppm.hr) than in the supine position (110.0 +/- 26.1 ppm.hr, p < 0.05). These results support the hypothesis that there was a marked effect of postprandial body posture on the function of the digestive system. The present findings suggest that the postprandial supine position is preferable to the sitting position for the digestion and absorption of dietary carbohydrate.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Adult
  • Area Under Curve
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / pharmacokinetics*
  • Digestion / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Transit / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen / analysis
  • Hydrogen / metabolism
  • Postprandial Period / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology*


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Hydrogen