An academic study, Cross-talk between Akkermansia muciniphila and intestinal epitheliu..., used a fiber to reduce fat in obese mice.

Basically, when mice or people become obese the normal population of a mucin-degrading bacterium in their colon, A. muciniphila, plummets. Bad things happen, the gut becomes more permeable and inflammation increases.

Obesity and type 2 diabetes are characterized by altered gut microbiota (1), inflammation (2), and gut barrier disruption (35). We recently demonstrated an association of obesity and type 2 diabetes with increased gut permeability, which induced metabolic endotoxemia and metabolic inflammation (35). Unequivocal evidence demonstrates that gut microbiota influence whole-body metabolism (1, 6) by affecting the energy balance (6), gut permeability (4, 5), serum lipopolysaccharides [i.e., metabolic endotoxemia (7)], and metabolic inflammation (35, 7) that are associated with obesity and associated disorders. However, the microbial composition and the exact mechanisms of interaction between these two partners that affect host–gut barrier function and metabolism remain unclear.


Oligofructose, also called fructo-oligosaccharide, is a sweet tasting fiber that ferments in the colon. It's the main source of energy for this bacterium. In the 1980s oligofructose was popular as an alternative sweetener. The researchers fed olilgofructose to obese diabetic mice, and their A. muciniphila returned to normal levels. As a result their fat pads decreased, their gut barrier returned to normal thickness, and inflammation decreased.

In the present study, we investigated the direct impact of A. muciniphila. We reversed the pathological phenotype by restoring the physiological abundance of this strain in obese and diabetic mice. These results demonstrated the key role of A. muciniphila in the physiopathology of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic inflammation. These experiments clearly demonstrate that viable A. muciniphila controls gut barrier function, fat mass storage, and glucose homeostasis in obese and type 2 diabetic mice via several mechanisms. [emphasis mine]

Since I'm an obese diabetic, I'm going to try this fiber sweetener. It's not supposed to have serious side effects, just "... increased flatulence and intestinal discomfort when consumed in large amounts..." I'll put up with flatulence and intestinal discomfort if it'll help me lose weight. I ordered it from a Chinese vendor before discovering it's available domestically.

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Replies to This Discussion

You might check out The Probiotics Revolution by Gary Huffnagle. 

It's about eating and supplements to encourage good gut flora. 

A lot of it is about chronic inflammatory diseases like asthma, autoimmune disease and allergies. 

But there's also something on obesity I think.  That also involves low-level chronic inflammation. 

His recommended diet is healthy and likely to promote weight loss. 

Thanks for the recommendation, but a 2007 book is likely to be outdated by now.

I'm thinking of it as an overview of the subject.  And Gary Huffnagle's advice is still good and true. FOS is just one kind of fiber, it's just a snippet of info. 

Inulin is a prebiotic for example, so is spirulina, etc. etc. 

Gary Huffnagle actually gives a lot of not generally known info in his book.

ps Xylitol is a prebiotic sugar substitute.

Erythritol might be a prebiotic too, and it's less farty :)  

Unfortunately those polyols are made from foods I'm allergic to, so I can't use them.

Sugar alcohols give me bowel problems.

Xylitol definition, a naturally occurring pentose sugar alcohol, C5H12O5, used as a sugar substitute. [emphasis mine] from

Definition of ERYTHRITOL a sweet crystalline alcohol C4H10O4...

[emphasis mine]

That being said, the oligofructose, which I started using today, does too. It caused so much flatulence. My husband looked it up and said, "Oligofructose is the part of beans that cause gas." Oh-oh! If I've lost weight from all of these side effects, that would be the only reason to continue. Didn't have much appetite. I did read that it was associated with satiety, but I'm thinking the mice probably lost weight because they were too busy groaning, pooping, and farting to feel like eating.

Compared to the stevia glycerite I usually use the oligofructose didn't taste sweet at all. I put a lot in my tea and just tasted the tea bitterness.

When compared with other sugar alcohols,[erythritol]  is also much more difficult for intestinal bacteria to digest, so is less likely to cause gas or bloating than other polyols, 

see the wikipedia article.  I gave you good info. 

Apparently it's fiber even for bacteria!

My husband tried oligofructose in tablet form for over a week and had serious bowel problems. He had to stop too.

I found erythritol crystals in the "natural sweetener" section of a supermarket.  Erythritol is supposed to have a good sweetness to tolerability ratio (if your body is ok with corn products).

I don't know whether erythritol is useful as a prebiotic in this regard.

I sweetened my morning caffeine with inulin, this morning :)

Prebiotics might be more important than probiotics.  Gary Huffnagle writes a lot about prebiotic foods, in The Probiotic Revolution

Also inulin is a prebiotic, although I don't know if it's considered a FOS.  It does taste faintly sweet.  I got inulin powder, as "Metamucil clear and natural". 

I never knew that inulin was like Metamucil in effect. I've seen in as an ingredient. Thanks for the info.




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