Acute effects of an oral supplement of (−)-epicatechin on postprandial fat and carbohydrate metabolism in normal and overweight subjects
Postprandial hyperglycemia, in particular when accompanied by excessive hypertriglyceridemia, is associated with increased cardiovascular risk, mainly in overweight or obese subjects, as it favors oxidative stress, systemic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction. Thus, treatments that favorably modulate metabolism by reducing steep increases in postprandial serum glucose and triglycerides, are of considerable interest. Evidence suggests that (−)-epicatechin (EPI) is responsible for reductions in cardiometabolic risk associated with chocolate consumption; these effects may be associated with favorable effects of EPI on postprandial metabolism. The aims of this study were to assess the effects of EPI on postprandial metabolism in normal-weight and overweight/obese subjects. Twenty adult volunteers (normal and overweight) underwent oral metabolic tolerance tests in the absence and presence of oral EPI (1 mg kg−1). Metabolic responses were examined using indirect calorimetry and determining blood glucose and triglycerides at 0, 2 and 4 hours after metabolic load ingestion. Results show that EPI increased postprandial lipid catabolism, as evidenced by a significant decrease in the respiratory quotient, which implies an increase in fat oxidation. The effect was associated with significantly lower postprandial plasma glucose and triglycerides concentrations. The effects were more prominent in overweight subjects. In conclusion, EPI modulates postprandial metabolism by enhancing lipid oxidation accompanied by reductions in glycemia and triglyceridemia.