How epilactose, a lactose derivative boosts thermogenesis and fat reduction

  • Epilactose is a non-digestible lactose derivative that is formed in small quantities when heating milk. It possesses prebiotic properties, i.e. it helps the growth and function of beneficial (probiotic) bacteria in the gut.
  • In a recent study it has been found that epilactose prevents fat cell size increase, fat accumulation and weight gain caused  by a high fat diet, without affecting food intake.
  • It was found that epilactose achieves this by boosting thermogenesis, i.e. the oxidation of fat for the production of heat, rather than usable energy, in the muscles and fat cells.
  • UCP-1, the protein that causes cells to burn fat for heat (thermogenesis) was increased by a factor of 2x in the muscles and by a factor of 1.3x in brown fat cells. Furthermore, epilactose also reduces fat tissue inflammation caused by the high fat diet.
  • The researchers attribute this change to propionic acid, a short chain fatty acid secreted by bacteria in the gut that metabolise epilactose (epilactose is a sugar that can not be digested by animals and therefore it is metablised by bacteria in the gut; bacteria use the epilactose for energy and secrete propionic acid in return).
  • In summary, the researchers concluded that epilactose increases UCP-1 in muscles and brown adipose tissue and enhances whole-body energy expenditure, leading to effective prevention of obesity and metabolic disorders.
  • At the moment epilactose can not be found as a supplement or food additive, but due to it's prebiotic action and documented promise as a fat loss agent, it may become a popular potential supplement in the near future.
  • Source: Supplemental epilactose prevents metabolic disorders through uncoupling protein-1 induction in the skeletal muscle of mice fed high-fat diets, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/26395755/