Inulin Increases Short-Term Markers for Colonic Fermentation Similarly in Healthy and Hyperinsulinemic Humans
Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 December ; 65(12): 1279–1286.
Fernandes J, Vogt J, Wolever TMS.
Colonic fermentation of dietary fibre produces short-chain fattyacids
(SCFA) acetate, propionate and butyrate, which may protect against type 2 diabetes by
reducing serum free-fatty acids (FFA). Since hyperinsulinemia is associated with insulin
resistance and increased diabetes risk, the main objective was to compare markers of colonic
fermentation after acute inulin ingestion in subjects with normal ( 40pmol/L, NI) and high (≥
40pmol/L, HI) plasma-insulin.
Overnight fasted NI (n = 9) and HI (n = 9) subjects were studied for 4 h on
2 separate days after consuming 300 ml drinks containing 75 g glucose (Glucose) or 75 g glucose
plus 24 g inulin (Inulin) using a randomized, single-blind, cross-over design.
Inulin elicited a higher breath hydrogen and methane AUC but the increases in SCFA
responses were not statistically significant. Overall mean serum-acetate over the 4 h study period
was higher in NI than HI subjects (44.3±6.9 vs 22.5±3.7 μmol/L, p = 0.001). The rate of rebound
of FFA was reduced by Inulin, with FFA at 4hr being less after Inulin than Glucose, regardless of
insulin status (0.310±0.028 vs 0.432±0.042 mEq/L, p = 0.008).
This suggests that inulin increases short-term markers for colonic fermentation
but a longer study period may be necessary to observe differences in SCFA production. The
reason for the lower serum-acetate in HI is unclear but may be due to reduced absorption,
increased clearance or decreased endogenous production. This suggests the need to compare
acetate kinetics in normal and hyperinsulinemic subjects.