Effects of cactus fiber on the excretion of dietary fat in healthy subjects: a double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover clinical investigation.
Cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) fiber was shown to promote weight loss in a 3-month clinical investigation. As demonstrated by in vitro studies, cactus fiber binds to dietary fat and its use results in reduced absorption, which in turn leads to reduced energy absorption and ultimately the reduction of body weight.The objective of our study was to elucidate the dietary fat binding capacity of cactus fiber through determination of fecal fat excretion in healthy volunteers.This clinical investigation was performed as a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover study in healthy subjects for a period of approximately 45 days. Twenty healthy volunteer subjects were randomized to receive cactus fiber or placebo, 2 tablets thrice daily with main meals. All subjects were provided with meals during the study period (except washout) according to a standardized meal plan, with 35% of daily energy need coming from fat. Two 24-hour feces samples were collected during both the baseline and treatment periods foranalysis of the fat content.Cactus fiber showed an increased fecal fat excretion compared with placebo (mean [SD] = 15.79% [5.79%] vs 4.56% [3.09%]; P< 0.001). No adverse events were reported throughout the study period.Cactus fiber has been shown to significantly promote fecal fat excretion in healthy adults. The results of our study support the hypothesis that cactus fiber helps in reducing body weight by binding to dietary fat and increasing its excretion, thus reducing dietary fat available for absorption. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01590667.