Banana Resistant Starch Effects on Gut Microbiome, Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

Exercise Physiology Brisbane - 13 October 2022

Gut microbiome: influencing factors

Did you know that close to 1.5kg of bacteria (microbiome) exists in our gut? The composition of the gut microbiome is closely related to the health of its host. For example, obesity is related to gut microbiome dysfunction, in other words, with extra weight, the gut microbiome changes in structure and function.

Our gut microbiome is influenced by age, the environment in which we live and lifestyle habits. Factors such as poor nutrition, medications, stress and physical inactivity can negatively impact the gut microbiome. However, we can positively influence the gut microbiome composition through healthy nutrition, including resistance starch.

Resistance Starch

Resistance starch is the sum of products resulting from starch degradation that are not absorbed in the small intestine. It is considered a prebiotic; these prebiotics then feed probiotics. Once such example is banana resistance starch (BRS) found in green bananas.

What does the research say?

Rats fed 2.5g/kg of BRS for 6 weeks decreased their body weight by an average of 9%. These rats did not change their food intake; BRS supplementation was the only difference between study groups pre and post intervention.

In rats fed a high fat diet, those who took BRS improved their gut diversity and structure, by upregulating Bacteroides/Firmicutes ratio and other gut species associated with reducing levels of glucose, triglycerides, LDL-C (bad cholesterol) and insulin. Furthermore, BRS improved functioning of hormones associated with food intake and control (i.e., ghrelin and leptin).

Where to from here?

Need to test in humans! In the interim, eat more green bananas or add some green banana flour to your recipes. Check out this recipe for a start: