BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Department of Health
Government of Western Australia (Enabling Allied Health Research Capacity 2020)
Australian Government Research Training Program
Spinnaker Health Research Foundation (G1005941)
Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) is prevalent with lasting health implications for the mother and offspring. Medical nutrition therapy is the foundation of GDM management yet achieving optimal glycaemic control often requires treatment with medications, like insulin. New dietary strategies to improve GDM management and outcomes are required. Gut dysbiosis is a feature of GDM pregnancies, therefore, dietary manipulation of the gut microbiota may offer a new avenue for management. Resistant starch is a fermentable dietary fibre known to alter the gut microbiota and enhance production of short-chain fatty acids. Evidence suggests that short-chain fatty acids improve glycaemia via multiple mechanisms, however, this has not been evaluated in GDM.
An open-label, parallel-group design study will investigate whether a high dietary resistant starch intake or resistant starch supplement improves glycaemic control and changes the gut microbiome compared with standard dietary advice in women with newly diagnosed GDM. Ninety women will be randomised to one of three groups - standard dietary treatment for GDM (Control), a high resistant starch diet or a high resistant starch diet plus a 16 g resistant starch supplement. Measurements taken at Baseline (24 to 30-weeks’ gestation), Day 10 and Day 56 (approximately 36 weeks’ gestation) will include fasting plasma glucose levels, microbial composition and short-chain fatty acid concentrations in stool, 3-day dietary intake records and bowel symptoms questionnaires. One-week post-natal data collection will include microbial composition and short-chain fatty acid concentrations of maternal and neonatal stools, microbial composition of breastmilk, birthweight, maternal and neonatal outcomes. Mixed model analysis of variance will assess change in glycaemia and permutation-based multivariate analysis of variance will assess changes in microbial composition within and between intervention groups. Distancebased linear modelling will identify correlation between change in stool microbiota, short-chain fatty acids and measures of glycaemia.
To improve outcomes for GDM dyads, evaluation of a high dietary intake of resistant starch to improve glycaemia through the gut microbiome needs to be established. This will expand the dietary interventions available to manage GDM without medication.
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