Thylakoids promote release of the satiety hormone cholecystokinin while reducing insulin in healthy humans

Scand J Gastroenterol. 2009;44(6):712-9. doi: 10.1080/00365520902803499.


Objective: The effects of a promising new appetite suppressor named "thylakoids" (membrane proteins derived from spinach leaves) were examined in a single meal in man. Thylakoids inhibit the lipase/colipase hydrolysis of triacylglycerols in vitro and suppress food intake, decrease body-weight gain and raise the satiety hormone cholecystokinin (CCK) in rats, but their effects in man remain unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate whether thylakoids, when added to a test meal, affect appetite regulation and blood parameters in healthy individuals.

Material and methods: In an intervention crossover study, healthy individuals of normal weight (n=11) were offered a high-fat meal with and without the addition of thylakoids. Blood samples were taken 0 (prior to meal), 30, 60, 120, 180, 240, 300 and 360 min after the start of the meal. Blood samples were analysed for satiety and hunger hormones (CCK, leptin and ghrelin), insulin and blood metabolites (glucose and free fatty acids).

Results: The CCK level increased, in particular between the 120 min time-point and onwards, the ghrelin level was reduced at 120 min and leptin level increased at 360 min after intake of the thylakoid-enriched meal. The insulin level was reduced, whereas glucose concentrations were unchanged. Free fatty acids were reduced between time-point 120 min and onwards after the thylakoid meal.

Conclusions: The addition of thylakoids to energy-dense food promotes satiety signals and reduces insulin response during a single meal in man.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cholecystokinin / blood*
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Male
  • Satiety Response / physiology*
  • Thylakoids / enzymology*


  • Insulin
  • Cholecystokinin