A New Zealand-produced bitter plant extract was shown to stimulate the secretion of gut peptide hormones and regulate appetite in men, according to findings from a randomized controlled trial presented at the European Obesity Summit in Gothenburg, Sweden.
The researchers screened more than 900 plant extracts for their ability to stimulate enteroendocrine hormone release before identifying what they have trademarked as Amarasate extract, described as a “non-nutritive modifier of food intake and gut peptide hormone release.”
The extract, researchers said, was shown to trigger an increase in the gut hormones cholecystokinin (CCK), glucagon-like peptide-1 and PYY, a mechanism they dubbed the “bitter brake.”
“Activation of the ‘bitter brake’ mechanism appears to be a promising mechanism to enhance satiety,” John Ingram, PhD, senior scientist at the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited, told Endocrine Today. “Functional foods that enhance satiety may play an important role in increasing compliance during dieting and thereby promoting successful weight management.”
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over study, Ingram and colleagues analyzed data from 20 men who received a standardized, 578-calorie breakfast at 9 a.m. following an overnight fast on three separate treatment days (mean BMI, 23.4 kg/m²). All men were randomly assigned 500 mg Amarasate extract in either a gastric pH-resistant capsule for targeted duodenal release (11 a.m.), or a standard capsule for targeted gastric release (11:30 a.m.), or placebo, with a minimum 1-week washout period between treatments.
Participants were instructed to eat until feeling full during a provided lunch (12 p.m.) and snack period (2 p.m.). Men provided blood samples and subjective appetite ratings throughout the day.
Researchers found that both the gastric and duodenal delivery of the extract stimulated increases in CCK, GLP-1 and PYY while reducing total meal energy intake by 218 calories and 226 calories, respectively. Researchers did not observe treatment effects for subjective appetite ratings or nausea.
Ingram said he and his colleagues are conducting research to determine a dosage for the extract and are working with industry partners to develop the product as a supplement.
“Though we believe that functional foods that enhance satiety may play an important role in increasing compliance during dieting and thereby promoting successful weight management, we have yet to conduct the longer-term human clinical studies required to demonstrate this effect with the Amarasate extract,” Ingram said.