Background and purpose: A commonplace explanation for postprandial fatigue is the assumption of the redistribution of perfusion from the cerebral to the mesenterial territory. However, this assumption has never been scientifically proven.
Methods: Because approximately 70% of the blood flow in the common carotid artery (CCA) is directed to the internal carotid artery, this vessel can be seen as a major brain-supplying artery. Flow volume in the CCA can be measured by color M-mode duplex sonography. The authors investigated the flow volume rate in 20 healthy volunteers before and after the intake of a high-energy meal. Heart rate, blood pressure, and expiratory CO2 were also measured at both times.
Results: There was a significant (P = .001) increase in right, left, and net CCA flow volume postprandially (right: from 362.0 [interquartile range 315.5-410.5] to 401.5 [322.1-486.4] mL/min; left: from 384.5 [345.5-439.0] to 414.5 [357.9-527.7] mL/min; net: from 756.0 [683.0-822.5] to 832.4 [713.7-967.26] mL/min). This increase was paralleled by a statistically significant increase in heart rate from 66 (58-70) to 76 (63-84) bpm, but without substantial correlation (r = 0.28) with the volume flow changes. There was no correlation with any other tested parameter.
Conclusions: The authors conclude that the assumption of global brain hypoperfusion in the postprandial state cannot serve as an explanation for postprandial fatigue.