Effects of posture on gastric emptying, transpyloric flow, and hunger after aglucose drink in healthy humans

Author(s): Jones K, O’Donovan D, Horowitz M, Russo A, Lei Y, et al.


Previous studies suggest that posture has relatively little effect on gastric emptying of high-nutrient liquids; these studies have, however, only assessed overall rates of gastric emptying, whereas gastric emptying is known to be predominantly a pulsatile phenomenon. In healthy subjects perceptions of appetite, such as hunger, are inversely related to antral area and content; hence, changes in intragastric meal distribution induced by posture may affect appetite. Gastric emptying is a major determinant of postprandial glycemia. The aims of this study were to evaluate the effects of posture on patterns of transpyloric flow (TF), gastric emptying (GE), antral area (AA), hunger, and the glycemic response to oral glucose. Eight healthy young subjects (five males, three females; mean age, 24.0 ± 2.4 years; BMI, 21.2 ± 0.6 kg/m2) were studied twice in random order, once in the sitting position and once in the lying (supine) position. After consuming 600 ml water with 75 g glucose, labeled with 20 MBq 99mTc-sulfur colloid, subjects had simultaneous measurements of (i) TF during consumption of the drink by Doppler ultrasonography, (ii) GE with scintigraphy, (iii) AA at t = −5 and t = 30 min by ultrasonography, and (iv) perceptions of appetite with a visual analogue scale. During drink ingestion TF was greater in the sitting, compared with the lying, position (586 ± 170 vs. 177 ± 65 [cm/sec]×sec; P < 0.05). Posture affected intragastric distribution; more of the drink was retained in the distal stomach in the sitting position (e.g., at 30 min: sitting, 29 ± 3%, vs. lying, 12 ± 3%; P < 0.0001) but had no effect on the overall rate of GE or the blood glucose response. AA at t = 30 min (P < 0.005) was greater in the sitting position; there was an inverse relationship between hunger and AA at 30 min (r = −0.53, P < 0.05). We conclude that posture influences initial TF and intragastric distribution, but not the overall rate of GE of, or the glycemic response to, a large-volume nutrient liquid. The increases in AA and content in the sitting position are associated with a reduction in hunger.

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