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Thylakoid membranes from green plants affect appetite and promote body weight loss


  • Caroline Montelius

Summary, in English

The incidence of overweight and obesity has reached alarming proportions. Today,

overweight, obesity and the metabolic diseases cause more death than starvation. To

counteract an increasing body weight gain, regulation of appetite and a controlled food

intake is of greatest importance. Simply put, body weight is regulated by the amount

of energy ingested, and the amount of energy expended. In todays sedentary lifestyle,

we tend to have a much higher food intake than the amount of energy used by the

body, resulting in body weight gain.

Thylakoids are membranes extracted from chloroplasts of green leaves. They have

previously been found to prolong the lipolysis and affect food intake and body weight

gain in rodents, as well as affect appetite-regulating hormones in healthy volunteers.

This thesis aims to explain mechanisms underlying the effects of thylakoids on food

intake and body weight gain, as well as present longer time effects in humans.

Results show that thylakoids promote body weight loss in humans after three months

of daily supplementation. Several factors important for body weight regulation are

affected by thylakoids. The digestion of dietary nutrients is prolonged after thylakoid

supplementation, resulting in prolonged glucose and insulin responses. In the long run,

fasting blood-glucose concentrations are also decreased. Thylakoids stimulate the

release of the satiety promoting hormones cholecystokinin (CCK) and glucagon-like

peptide-1 (GLP-1), while decreasing levels of the hunger promoting hormone ghrelin.

Moreover, circulating levels of leptin and blood lipids are decreased after thylakoid

supplementation for two and three months. Finally, thylakoids affect the subjective

ratings of appetite and urge for specific food. The urge for energy dense, so called

palatable food rich in fat and sugar, is specifically decreased after thylakoid intake.

In conclusion, the results presented in this thesis show that thylakoids exert positive

effects for body weight and appetite regulation and may thus be used as an effective

tool for novel treatment of overweight, obesity and the metabolic diseases.

Publishing year





Lund University Faculty of Medicine Doctoral Dissertation Series



Document type



Department of Experimental Medical Science, Lund Univeristy


  • Basic Medicine


  • Overweight
  • Obesity
  • Appetite Regulation
  • Thylakoids
  • Craving
  • Satiety



Research group

  • Appetite Regulation


  • ISSN: 1652-8220
  • ISBN: 978-91-7619-094-4

Defence date

6 February 2015

Defence time


Defence place

LUX Hörsal Nedre, Helgonavägen 3, Lund


  • Stephan Rössner (Prof)