May 21, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

Study Shows Fiber Supplement Changes Gut Bacteria, Helping Children with Obesity

Jun 08, 2017 02:07 PM EDT

Researchers from the University of Calgary has shown that a dietary fiber supplement is effective to help children with overweight or obesity. The regular intake of fiber supplement is able to maintain the stability of the children's intestinal bacteria.

The study has been published in the Gastroenterology Journal with the lead author a Research Associate in Nutrition, Metabolism, and Genetics at the University of Calgary, Alissa Nicolucci.

The research was conducted in two separate groups. The research was led by a professor of Kinesiology Faculty at the University of Calgary, Raylene Reimer, Ph.D. One of the groups was given a daily dose of fiber supplement, oligofructose-enriched inulin, while the other one was given the maltodextrin placebo. The researchers monitored the children's fat mass, body mass and blood samples for 16 weeks.

After 16 weeks, the overweight children who were given the fiber supplement showed a significant reduction in their body weight by 3.1 percent. They also have a decrease in body fat by 2.4 percent. On the contrary, the overweight children who were given placebo showed an increase of 0.5 percent in both body weight and body fat.

"What is so meaningful about this study is you can stop this trajectory of continuing to gain more and more weight," Professor Reimer commented on the fiber supplement to reduce the weight. "This study, literally, allowed these kids to meet what would be considered normal growth rates for their age.”

Further result of the PCR also showed a significant increase in Bifidobacterium spp. bacteria in the group that was given the fiber supplement. The children in the group also showed a 19 percent decrease of their serum triglycerides.

In general, children who have overweight tend to persist to their teenage years and continue until they become the adult. The result showed that fiber supplement is able to cut the cycle of overweight in the children. This result is a good news for Canada which has been troubled with child obesity.

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