Supplementation with dairy calcium and/or flaxseed fibers in conjunction with orlistat augments fecal fat excretion without altering ratings of gastrointestinal comfort

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  • Mette Bredal Kristensen
  • Signe Rømer Juul
  • Karina Vejrum Sørensen
  • Janne Kunchel Lorenzen
  • Astrup, Arne

BACKGROUND: Orlistat is a lipase inhibitor which reduced absorption of dietary fat by ~30% thereby inducing a weight loss; however, side effects occur as a consequence of increased colonic fat content. To test the hypothesis that most gastrointestinal side events induced by treatment with orlistat could be prevented/ameliorated by concomitant use of natural dietary components, flaxseed fiber (FF) and/or dairy calcium (Ca), binding liquid fats to more solid complexes.

METHODS: A randomized controlled dietary intervention study. Thirty-eight obese adults completed a 1-week run-in period, where all participants were treated with orlistat (60 mg t.i.d) and were hereafter randomized to 12 weeks dietary supplementation with/without 5 g FF (FF+/FF-) and/or 1200 mg dairy calcium (Ca+/Ca-) in conjunction with orlistat. All feces were collected for 3 days, and diet was recorded for 5 days, during run-in and week 4. The primary end-point, gastrointestinal symptoms, was assessed biweekly. At baseline and after 12 weeks, cardiometabolic risk markers and anthropometrics were evaluated as secondary end-points.

RESULTS: Both FF and Ca increased fecal fat excretion (P = 0.02 and P = 0.04, respectively). Although fecal fat excretion increased by ~100% in the FF+/Ca + group, and only by ~12% in the FF-/Ca + group, no interaction between FF and Ca was present, suggesting an additive effect. The fecal fat excretion was ~10 g/d higher with FF and Ca (~25 g/d) compared to fecal fat excretion with orlistat alone (~15 g/d). Mean ratings of severity of diarrhea tended to increase with Ca (P = 0.03) but not with FF. No other gastrointestinal symptoms, or a composite score of symptoms, were affected by the dietary supplements. Body weight was reduced in all groups but did not differ between groups, whereas waist circumference was most reduced in the FF+/Ca + group. No effects of dietary supplements on cardiometabolic risk factors were observed, except a slight increase in diastolic blood pressure (P = 0.03) with FF, but not Ca.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results do not support an improvement in orlistat-induced gastrointestinal side effects by concomitant use of FF and Ca. However, fecal fat excretion was increased with both FF and Ca in the absence of a worsening of symptoms, warranting further studies powered to detect potential additive weight loss effects.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Ethical Committee of the Capital Region of Denmark reg. no. H-1-2010-110, 02-11-2010 database no. NCT01320228, 21-03-2011.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13
JournalNutrition & Metabolism
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • Orlistat, Flaxseed, Calcium, Side effects, Weight loss, Obesity

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