Acute ketosis inhibits appetite and decreases plasma concentrations of acyl ghrelin in healthy humans

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CONTEXT: Ketosis appears to decrease appetite and facilitate weight loss. Potential underlying mechanisms include decreases in plasma levels of the orexigenic hormone ghrelin and increases in appetite-inhibiting glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) levels. The effect of acute ketosis as compared to an isocaloric and isovolumetric beverage on both acyl ghrelin and total GLP-1 plasma concentrations has not been previously measured.

OBJECTIVE: We aimed to investigate the acute effect of ketone ester (KE) ingestion on appetite and plasma concentrations of acyl ghrelin (AG), unacylated ghrelin (UAG), and GLP-1 secretion and to compare responses to those elicited by isocaloric glucose administration.

METHODS: We examined ten healthy young males on three separate occasions using a placebo-controlled crossover design.

INTERVENTIONS AND MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: A KE vs. taste-matched isovolumetric and isocaloric 50% glucose (GLU) and taste-matched isovolumetric placebo vehicle (PBO) was orally administered. Our main outcome measures were plasma concentrations of AG, UAG, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), and GLP-1 along with appetite sensation scores assessed by visual analogue scale .

RESULTS: KE ingestion resulted in an average peak ꞵ-hydroxybutyrate concentration of 5.5 mM. AG and UAG were lowered by ~25% following both KE and GLU intake, compared with PBO. In the case of AG, the differences were - 52.1 [-79.4-24.8] for KE and - 48.4 [-75.4, -21.5] pg/mL for GLU intake, p < 0.01. Concentrations of AG remained lower with KE, but returned to baseline and were comparable with PBO levels after GLU intake. Neither GLP-1, GIP, gastrin or cholecystokinin were affected by KE ingestion.

DISCUSSION: Our results suggest that the suppressive effects on appetite sensation scores associated with hyperketonemia are more likely to be mediated through reduced ghrelin concentrations than by increased activity of cholecystokinin, gastrin, GIP, or GLP-1. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDiabetes, Obesity and Metabolism
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)1834-1842
Publication statusPublished - 2021

ID: 260351176