Weston A. Price wrote extensively on the amazing dental health of indigenous peoples worldwide. He attributed this in part to the fermented foods each culture had developed and eaten.
Today researchers are experimenting with the ferment process in foods such as apple cider vinegar and more. In fact, so much study has been done on the process of ferment in foods that there has even been a “look-alike” “fast-acting” fermented ingredient manufactured!
This ingredient used in studies; propionate, written chemically as C2H5COO− (propanoic acid minus one hydrogen ion) is naturally produced in the gut by fermented fiber, and can now be imitated. Its simulation as an inulin-propionate ester (IPE) provides much larger amounts of propionate than people can generate in a normal diet. IPE makes one feel full and may help control appetite.
“Molecules like propionate fuel the release of gut hormones that control appetite, but you need to eat enormous quantities of fiber to attain a strong effect,” said Gary Frost of Imperial’s department of medicine, who led the study.
“We wanted to find a more effectual method to transport propionate to the gut.”
In a study published in the journal Gut, Frost’s team gave 20 volunteers either IPE or inulin, a dietary fiber, and then allowed them to eat as much as they liked from a buffet.
The team found that those given IPE ate 14 percent less on average and had higher concentrations of appetite-reducing hormones in their blood.
In a second phase, 60 overweight volunteers took part in a 24-week study in which half were given IPE powder to add to their food and half given inulin.
Only one out of 25 volunteers given IPE who completed the study gained more than 3.0 percent of their body weight, compared with six out of 24 given inulin. None of the IPE group gained more than 5.0 percent of their body weight, compared with four in the inulin group.
After 24 weeks, the IPE group also had less fat in their abdomens and livers compared with the inulin group.
Frost said that while the findings were only from a small, early-stage study, they offered “encouraging signs” that IPE might help prevent weight gain in overweight people.
He and his team are working with Imperial Innovations, a technology commercialization company focused on developing promising British academic research, on taking IPE to market.