Short-chain fatty acids stimulate the burning of fat and can be used to treat and prevent obesity and diabetes.This has been shown by research conducted by molecular biologist Gijs den Besten at UMCG, who will be awarded his PhD by the University of Groningen on 23 June. The results of his research support the idea of using short-chain fatty acids to help prevent and treat obesity and diabetes.
Changes in eating habits and a general lack of exercise are causing a rise in the number of people with obesity and diabetes. Although earlier research has shown that dietary fibre can have a positive effect on factors such as energy intake, body weight and insulin sensitivity, the underlying mechanism was still unknown. For his PhD project Den Besten investigated how short-chain fatty acids might be involved.
The bacteria in the gut transform dietary fibre in foods such as wholemeal bread, fruit and vegetables into short-chain fatty acids. Den Besten used mice to study the mechanism of action of dietary fibre in the form of guar gum and of individual short-chain fatty acids. His research showed that the positive effect of dietary fibre is strongly associated with the absorption of short-chain fatty acids. These positive effects are seen mainly in the liver and in fat tissue. Short-chain fatty acids encourage these tissues to start burning fat rather than producing it, which means that the body stores less fat.
Short-chain fatty acids thus help to prevent obesity and diabetes. His research also shows that short-chain fatty acids not only have a preventive effect but may also help people who already have obesity and diabetes. The results of Den Besten’s research indicate that the addition of short-chain fatty acids to the diet has great potential in the prevention or treatment of obesity and diabetes. For this reason he recommends that a clinical trial be conducted to investigate this further.
Gijs den Besten (Zeist, 1986) studied molecular biology and biotechnology at the University of Groningen. He conducted his PhD research at the UMCG under the supervision of Prof. Dirk Jan Reijngoud, professor of laboratory medicine, and Prof. Barbara Bakker, professor of medical systems biology. His thesis is entitled ‘Elucidating the mechanisms of actions of short-chain fatty acids’. Den Besten conducted his research at the UMCG’s department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. His research received financial support from the Netherlands Consortium for System Biology. After receiving his PhD, Den Besten will be working as a clinical research associate at GlaxoSmithKline.
De NWO heeft aan 37 out-of-the-box onderzoeksideeën financiering toegekend vanuit de Ideeëngenerator. Een belangrijk kenmerk van de projecten is een mogelijke maatschappelijke impact. Elk van de onderzoekers krijgt 50.000 euro beschikbaar om met samen...
Out of the 25 entries for the Dutch Huibregtsen Prize, the jury has nominated six scientific research projects. UG professor Pauline Westerman and Cisca Wijmenga, Rector Magnificus of the UG as of 1 September 2019, are two of the six nominees for the...
More than 200 researchers and their teams can begin to work on social and scientific issues in close collaboration with public and private parties. This close collaboration will take place in 17 research projects.