Gut microbiota fermentation of prebiotics increases satietogenic and incretin gut peptide production with consequences for appetite sensation and glucose response after a meal

Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Nov;90(5):1236-43. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28095. Epub 2009 Sep 23.


Background: We have previously shown that gut microbial fermentation of prebiotics promotes satiety and lowers hunger and energy intake in humans. In rodents, these effects are associated with an increase in plasma gut peptide concentrations, which are involved in appetite regulation and glucose homeostasis.

Objective: Our aim was to examine the effects of prebiotic supplementation on satiety and related hormones during a test meal for human volunteers by using a noninvasive micromethod for blood sampling to measure plasma gut peptide concentrations.

Design: This study was a randomized, double-blind, parallel, placebo-controlled trial. A total of 10 healthy adults (5 men and 5 women) were randomly assigned to groups that received either 16 g prebiotics/d or 16 g dextrin maltose/d for 2 wk. Meal tolerance tests were performed in the morning to measure the following: hydrogen breath test, satiety, glucose homeostasis, and related hormone response.

Results: We show that the prebiotic treatment increased breath-hydrogen excretion (a marker of gut microbiota fermentation) by approximately 3-fold and lowered hunger rates. Prebiotics increased plasma glucagon-like peptide 1 and peptide YY concentrations, whereas postprandial plasma glucose responses decreased after the standardized meal. The areas under the curve for plasma glucagon-like peptide 1 and breath-hydrogen excretion measured after the meal (0-60 min) were significantly correlated (r = 0.85, P = 0.007). The glucose response was inversely correlated with the breath-hydrogen excretion areas under the curve (0-180 min; r = -0.73, P = 0.02).

Conclusion: Prebiotic supplementation was associated with an increase in plasma gut peptide concentrations (glucagon-like peptide 1 and peptide YY), which may contribute in part to changes in appetite sensation and glucose excursion responses after a meal in healthy subjects.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Appetite / drug effects
  • Appetite / physiology*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Breath Tests
  • Dietary Fiber / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Female
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / blood
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen / analysis
  • Incretins / biosynthesis*
  • Male
  • Pancreatic Polypeptide / blood
  • Peptide YY / blood
  • Satiety Response / physiology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Incretins
  • Peptide YY
  • Pancreatic Polypeptide
  • Hydrogen
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1