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What's Hopping? Cricket Protein and Human Gut Microbiota (HOP)

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
 
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03383341
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : December 26, 2017
Last Update Posted : April 4, 2019
Sponsor:
Collaborator:
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Tiffany Weir, Colorado State University

Brief Summary:
Edible insects are often considered a nutritious, protein-rich, environmentally sustainable alternative to traditional meat. They represent a new food for North American consumers. While the nutrient composition of several insects is characterized, all potential health impacts have not been evaluated. Crickets contain chitin and other fibers that may influence gut health. In this study, we evaluated the effects of consuming 25 grams/day whole cricket powder on gut microbiota composition, while assessing safety and tolerability. Twenty healthy adults participated in this six-week, double-blind, crossover dietary intervention. Participants were randomized into two treatment arms and consumed either cricket-containing or control breakfast foods for 14 days, followed by a 14-day washout period and assignment to the opposite arm. Blood and stool samples were collected at baseline and after each treatment period to assess liver function and microbiota changes. Results demonstrate that cricket consumption is tolerable and non-toxic at the treatment dose. Cricket powder supported growth of the probiotic bacteria, Bifidobacterium animalis, which increased more than 5.7-fold. Cricket consumption was also associated with reduced plasma TNF-a. These data suggest that eating crickets may improve gut health and reduce systemic inflammation; however, more research is needed to understand these effects and underlying mechanisms.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Healthy Dietary Supplement: Cricket Protein Powder Other: Placebo control Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

Although no research on the impact of edible insect protein powder on the human microbiome, there is plenty of evidence that edible insects offer a good source nutrition. Extensive research demonstrates that edible insects provide a source of high-quality bioavailable animal protein as many edible insects contain all essential amino acids for human nutrition and have high crude protein levels containing between 40 and 75% protein by dry weight. House crickets, for example, have more protein by dry weight than ground beef or broiled cod fish. Insects are also rich in healthy fatty acids, B vitamins (riboflavin, pantothenic acid, biotin, and folate, as well as important minerals such as iron and zinc. In addition to their nutrient content, and as arthropods, edible insects are also rich in dietary fiber, including chitin, which is found in the exoskeleton.

Chitin is a modified polysaccharide containing nitrogen; it is considered an insoluble fiber with potential prebiotic properties that could benefit human health by selectively promoting the growth of beneficial bacterial species in the intestines. Previous studies on the impact of chitin-glucan derived from Aspergillus niger mycelium on oxidized low-density lipoprotein (OxLDL) in adults, a risk factor for atherosclerosis, found that chitin-glucan intakes of 4.5g/day significantly reduced OxLDL in 6 weeks. Additionally, a study of chito-oligosaccharides found that chitosan derivatives from shrimp cells with a great content of acetylated residues did not cause a putatively prebiotic effect in human gut microbiota—although this study was conducted on human fecal microbiota in batch cultures (not in humans). To date, no comprehensive study has evaluated the impact of whole insect consumption on the microbiota in humans, which would include consumption of insect-derived dietary fibers and chitins with potential health benefits. An assessment of the tolerability of whole insect consumption is also needed, despite the fact that around 2 billion people consume insects on a regular basis in 130 countries or more.

The "What's Hopping? Cricket Protein and Human Gut Microbiota" study will determine the impact of a commercially available insect flour, containing high levels of protein and dietary fiber on human gut bacterial composition and functional capacity. A secondary aim is to establish whether insect powder acts as a prebiotic. In this study, a 100% insect-based flour/powder derived from edible crickets (Acheta domesticus) will be assessed. The objective of this study is to determine if Insect powder consumption changes gut bacteria and reduces inflammation in your intestinal tract compared to a placebo. To this end, we intend to enroll 20 healthy individuals to participate in a crossover diet intervention study. Participants will consume meals made with cricket powder and placebo meals daily for 2 weeks per treatment arm with a 2-week washout period. Both study participants and study personnel (clinical coordinators, PI's, statisticians) will be blinded to the intervention group. Anthropometric measures, as well as stool and blood samples, will be collected at each of 3 clinic visits (baseline, and the end of each intervention period). Primary outcome measures will include gut microbiota and microbial metabolism (determined by measuring fecal short chain fatty acids), local and systemic inflammatory markers, comprehensive metabolic panels and GI health questionnaires to assess safety and tolerability of the intervention foods.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 20 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Intervention Model Description: Randomized, placebo controlled crossover dietary intervention
Masking: Triple (Participant, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Masking Description: Recipes containing cricket powder were matched for taste, color, and texture to creat placebo intervention foods. All foods were prepared by study personnel and then blinded by a third party individual that was not directly associated with the study.
Primary Purpose: Other
Official Title: What's Hopping? Edible Cricket (Gryllodes Sigillatus) Consumption and Gut Microbiota in Healthy Adults, a Double-blind, Randomized Crossover Trial
Actual Study Start Date : February 1, 2017
Actual Primary Completion Date : May 10, 2017
Actual Study Completion Date : May 10, 2017

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Cricket powder protein
Participants were provided with frozen 70 gram breakfast muffins and pre-mixed powder packets to prepare smoothies. Participants were asked to consume one muffin package and one smoothie (mixed with water or choice of milk/milk substitutes) daily for 14 days. The amount of intervention food consumed daily contained 25 grams of cricket protein powder.
Dietary Supplement: Cricket Protein Powder
Cricket powder was supplied by Entomo farms and consists of roasted and milled whole crickets.

Placebo Comparator: Placebo Control
Participants were provided with a placebo comparator that included frozen 70 gram breakfast muffins and pre-mixed powder packets to prepare smoothies. Participants were asked to consume one muffin package and one smoothie (mixed with water or choice of milk/milk substitutes) daily for 14 days. These foods were formulated to taste and appear similar to the cricket intervention foods but did not consume any cricket powder.
Other: Placebo control
Placebo controls consisted of intervention foods (muffin and smoothie powder packet) that were visually and organoleptically similar to cricket-containing foods but contained no cricket powder.




Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in gut microbiota with intervention foods [ Time Frame: T=0; Baseline visit prior to starting diet intervention, T1: End of Treatment 1 (2-weeks after the start of intervention), T2: End of study (approximately 6-weeks after T=0 and 2-weeks after starting treatment 2. ]
    Characterization of microbes in fecal samples using 16s sequencing methodologies.


Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in liver function with intervention foods [ Time Frame: T=0; Baseline visit prior to starting diet intervention, T1: End of Treatment 1 (2-weeks after the start of intervention), T2: End of study (approximately 6-weeks after T=0 and 2-weeks after starting treatment 2. ]
    Comprehensive metabolic panel

  2. Tolerability of intervention foods based on change in GI symptoms [ Time Frame: T=0; Baseline visit prior to starting diet intervention, T1: End of Treatment 1 (2-weeks after the start of intervention), T2: End of study (approximately 6-weeks after T=0 and 2-weeks after starting treatment 2. ]
    Self assessment of gastrointestinal symptoms determined by completion of a questionnaire

  3. Change in mucosal immunity with intervention foods [ Time Frame: T=0; Baseline visit prior to starting diet intervention, T1: End of Treatment 1 (2-weeks after the start of intervention), T2: End of study (approximately 6-weeks after T=0 and 2-weeks after starting treatment 2. ]
    ELISA analysis of secretory Immunoglobulin A (sIgA) in stool samples

  4. Change in microbial metabolism with intervention foods [ Time Frame: T=0; Baseline visit prior to starting diet intervention, T1: End of Treatment 1 (2-weeks after the start of intervention), T2: End of study (approximately 6-weeks after T=0 and 2-weeks after starting treatment 2. ]
    Gas Chromatography determination of fecal short chain fatty acids

  5. Change in lipid metabolism with intervention foods [ Time Frame: T=0; Baseline visit prior to starting diet intervention, T1: End of Treatment 1 (2-weeks after the start of intervention), T2: End of study (approximately 6-weeks after T=0 and 2-weeks after starting treatment 2. ]
    Liquid Chromatography determination of fecal secondary and primary bile acids

  6. Change in systemic inflammation with intervention foods [ Time Frame: T=0; Baseline visit prior to starting diet intervention, T1: End of Treatment 1 (2-weeks after the start of intervention), T2: End of study (approximately 6-weeks after T=0 and 2-weeks after starting treatment 2. ]
    Luminex panel to examine 13 circulating cytokines (pro and anti-inflammatory)


Other Outcome Measures:
  1. Change in lipid absorption with intervention foods [ Time Frame: T=0; Baseline visit prior to starting diet intervention, T1: End of Treatment 1 (2-weeks after the start of intervention), T2: End of study (approximately 6-weeks after T=0 and 2-weeks after starting treatment 2. ]
    Colorimetric measure of fecal triglycerides



Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.


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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 65 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Apparently healthy males and non-pregnant or lactating healthy females of any race or ethnicity and between the ages of 18-65 with a BMI between 18.5-29.9.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Individuals younger than 18 years of age or older than 65 years, and those outside of the BMI range of 18.5-29.9 will be excluded. Individuals will also be excluded if they have taken antibiotics or commercial probiotic/prebiotic supplements within two months of the start of the study treatment. Subjects who self-report food allergies will be excluded from the study because some proteins in insect foods are similar to those found in shellfish that could trigger an allergic reaction and tree nut or dairy products may be used in the breakfast foods.

Additionally, current medications and dietary supplements will be assessed on a case by case basis and will result in exclusion if there is a possibility that the drugs or supplements used would influence the endpoints of the study. This would include statins, metformin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI), and botanical supplements that target the gastrointestinal tract or gut microbiota. Individuals with current diagnosis of cancer, liver or kidney disease, gastrointestinal diseases, and metabolic disorders will also be excluded. Pregnant and breastfeeding women will be excluded from the study as well. Additionally, exclusion will be determined if the individual feels they are unable to adhere to the study requirements which include consuming 1 prepared breakfast per day (treatment or placebo) for a total of 28 days (treatment periods), making 3 clinic visits, and providing 3 blood and stool samples.


Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT03383341


Locations
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United States, Colorado
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado, United States, 80523-1571
Sponsors and Collaborators
Colorado State University
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Publications of Results:
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Responsible Party: Tiffany Weir, Associate Professor, Colorado State University
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03383341    
Other Study ID Numbers: 16-6966H
First Posted: December 26, 2017    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: April 4, 2019
Last Verified: April 2019

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Keywords provided by Tiffany Weir, Colorado State University:
gut microbiota
cricket powder
prebiotic fiber
inflammation
dietary intervention