Fecal microbial transplantation and fiber supplementation in patients with severe obesity and metabolic syndrome: a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 2 trial

Type Article

Journal Article


V. Mocanu; Z. Zhang; E. C. Deehan; D. H. Kao; N. Hotte; S. Karmali; D. W. Birch; K. K. Samarasinghe; J. Walter; K. L. Madsen

Year of publication



Nat Med








Fecal microbial transplantation (FMT) from lean donors to patients with obesity has been associated with metabolic benefits, yet results so far have been inconsistent. In this study, we tested the application of daily fiber supplementation as an adjunct to FMT therapy to modulate cardiometabolic outcomes. We performed a double-blind randomized trial in patients with severe obesity and metabolic syndrome receiving oral FMT, to test high-fermentable (HF) and low-fermentable (LF) fiber supplements (NCT03477916). Seventy participants were randomized to the FMT-HF (n = 17), FMT-LF (n = 17), HF (n = 17) and LF (n = 19) groups. The primary outcome was the assessment of change in insulin sensitivity from baseline to 6 weeks using the homeostatic model assessment (HOMA2-IR/IS). After 6 weeks, only patients in the FMT-LF group had significant improvements in HOMA2-IR (3.16 ± 3.01 at 6 weeks versus 3.77 ± 3.57 at baseline; P = 0.02). No difference in HOMA2-IR was observed over this period for those in the FMT-HF group (3.25 ± 1.70 at 6 weeks versus 3.17 ± 1.72 at baseline; P = 0.8), the HF group (3.49 ± 1.43 at 6 weeks versus 3.26 ± 1.33 at baseline; P = 0.8) or the LF group (3.76 ± 2.01 at 6 weeks versus 3.56 ± 1.81 at baseline; P = 0.8). Interventions were safe and well-tolerated with no treatment-attributed serious adverse events. We provide proof of concept for the use of a single-dose oral FMT combined with daily low-fermentable fiber supplementation to improve insulin sensitivity in patients with severe obesity and metabolic syndrome.