Resistant starch from high amylose maize (HAM-RS2) reduces body fat and increases gut bacteria in ovariectomized (OVX) rats


  • Disclosure: Michael Keenan and Roy Martin have received funding from Ingredion Incorporated for research. Christine Pelkman is an employee of Ingredion Incorporated.

  • Funding agencies: This study was supported with funding from Ingredion Incorporated, the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, and the Gordon Cain Professorship in the School of Human Ecology of the College of Agriculture of Louisiana State University



Obesity after menopause is a health concern for older females. Changes in the microbiota are likely to occur with this condition. Modifying the microbiota with a prebiotic is a plausible strategy for improving the health of menopausal females.

Design and Methods:

Resistant starch type 2 from high-amylose maize (HAM-RS2) was used as a prebiotic in rats in a 2 × 2 factorial study with two levels of HAM-RS2 (0 or 29.7% of weight of diet) referred to as energy control (EC) and HAM-RS2 diets, respectively; and two levels of surgery, ovariectomized (OVX) and sham.


In a 6-week, postsurgery recovery period, OVX rats gained more body weight with consumption of a similar amount of food. Subsequently, consumption of HAM-RS2 versus EC diets resulted in reduced abdominal fat in both OVX and sham rats; but when normalized for disemboweled body weight (body weight minus GI tract), there was no effect of surgery, only reduction with HAM-RS2. Targeted bacterial populations were estimated that are known to ferment HAM-RS2 or metabolize the products of that initial fermentation. OVX and sham rats demonstrated increased bacterial levels with dietary HAM-RS2 for all bacteria. Additionally, culture techniques and qPCR provided similar results.


This study shows that, as expected, OVX increases adiposity. However, contrary to previous effects seen in obese mice, this did not prevent fermentation of HAM-RS2 and consequently, the fat gain associated with OVX was attenuated.