The contribution of the large intestine to energy supplies in man

Am J Clin Nutr. 1984 Feb;39(2):338-42. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/39.2.338.


Herbivores obtain a considerable proportion of energy requirements from carbohydrate by the chain of anaerobic carbohydrate fermentation producing short-chain fatty acids that are absorbed then metabolized. The evidence for this sequence occurring in the large intestine of man is reviewed and estimated to produce 5 to 10% of human energy requirements. Further small amounts of energy may come from large intestinal absorption of fat and the bacterial breakdown products of protein.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • Dietary Fiber / metabolism
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / metabolism*
  • Fermentation
  • Horses
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Intestine, Large / metabolism*
  • Intestine, Large / microbiology
  • Rabbits
  • Sheep
  • Swine


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile