Clinical Study

Faecal short chain fatty acids in healthy subjects participating in a randomised controlled trial examining a soluble highly viscous polysaccharide versus control


Short chain fatty acids (SCFA) are produced by the bacterial fermentation of dietary fibre and have been linked with intestinal health. The present study examined faecal SCFA concentrations in subjects consuming anovel soluble highly viscous polysaccharide (HVP) or control for 3 weeks. A total of 54 healthy adults participated in a randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled study.


Subjects were randomised to consume HVP or control (skim milk powder). A dose of 5 g day)1 was consumed in the first week, followed by10 g day)1 in the second and third weeks (n = 27 per group). The primaryoutcome was SCFA concentrations in faecal samples collected at baseline (visit1, V1), at 1 week (V2) and at 3 week (V3).


The reduction in faecal acetate from V1 to V3 in control subjects was not observed in subjects consuming HVP. There were no differences in propionate, butyrate, valerate or caproate concentrations. There was a significant treatment effect (P = 0.03) for total SCFA, with higher concentrations observed in subjects consuming HVP versus control.


HVP is a viscous functional fibre that may influence gut microbial fermentation. Further work is warranted to examine the fermentative properties
of HVP and possible links with appetite regulation and reduced serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations.

Reimer RA, Pelletier X, Carabin IG, Lyon MR, Gahler RJ & Wood S. J Hum Nutr Diet. 25(4):373-7, 2012. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-277X.2012.01230.x. [Epub 2012 Feb 9]

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