(Natural News) It can be difficult for some people to lose weight, but according to an animal study published in the journal Nutrients, extracts from agave may boost the diversity of the gut microbiota and help promote weight loss.
The study was conducted by researchers from the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (CINVESTAV) in Mexico and Sejong University in Seoul, Korea.
During the course of the study, the research team found that supplementing a high-fat diet with agavins — branched neo-fructans derived from Agave tequilana — normalized the ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes bacteria in the gut.
According to research, this is significant because the Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio is considered a good biomarker for obesity. Findings from a 2005 study suggest that obese mice had lower levels of Bacteroidetes and higher levels of Firmicutes compared with lean mice.
The CINVESTAV/Sejong University study also suggests that agavin supplementation was linked to weight loss and an increase in the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) at the cecum, the beginning of the large intestine.
“These results could provide novel insight to develop a new supplementary strategy using agavins to modulate gut microbiota in overweight or obese individuals, which might have positive consequences on body weight loss,” wrote the research team. (Related: Agave fiber found to improve gut health, help maintain healthy weight.)
Prebiotic effects of agave fiber
Earlier studies have discussed the benefits of consuming agave fructans for gut health. To date, prebiotic ingredients based on agave are commercially available from several companies.
According to a 2010 study by researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the University of Reading in the U.K., inulin extracted from Agave tequilana boosts bifidobacteria and lactobacilli populations to an extent similar to other commercial inulins.
Plants naturally produce inulin and use it as an energy source. It is often added to various food products, such as margarine and salad dressings, because of its benefits and adaptability.
A type of dietary fiber, inulin dissolves in the stomach and forms a gelatinous substance that slows digestion and promotes satiety. Inulin also helps reduce cholesterol absorption as it passes through the digestive tract.
Benefits of supplementing with agavins
For the study, researchers divided lab mice into two groups for five weeks: One group was given a standard lab mouse diet and the second group consumed a high-fat diet.
The overweight mice from the high-fat group were also divided into three groups. The first group was shifted back to the standard diet, while the other groups were kept on high-fat diets and supplemented with either agavins or oligofructose for five more weeks.
Results revealed that the mice fed the high-fat diet for the first five weeks displayed a significant decrease in the diversity of the microbiota in the large intestine, with an increased Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio and lower SCFA levels. Data also showed that shifting the mice back to the standard diet reversed these changes, with diversity and SCFA levels increasing.
The mice kept on the high-fat diet and supplemented with agavins or oligofructose showed a partial restoration in gut microbiota composition, reported the researchers. Additionally, the Firmicutes/Bacteroides ratio was normalized, while SCFA levels also increased.
Supplementation with agavins led to increases in Klebsiella and Citrobacter, which are members of the Enterobacteriaceae family. The researchers observed an increase in the number of Enterobacteriaceae bacteria during weight loss in obese mice and humans.
“The enrichment of members of Enterobacteriaceae has not been reported previously under a prebiotic supplement, which opens opportunities to explore new probiotics,” concluded the researchers.
To improve your gut health and promote weight loss, follow a balanced diet, exercise regularly and consider supplementing with agavins.
Watch this video to know another way to boost your gut health.
This video is from the Natural News channel on Brighteon.com.
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