Review article: prebiotics in the gastrointestinal tract

Review article: prebiotics in the gastrointestinal tract Summary Background Prebiotics are short‐chain carbohydrates that alter the composition, or metabolism, of the gut microbiota in a beneficial manner. It is therefore expected that prebiotics will improve health in a way similar to probiotics, whilst at the same time being cheaper, and carrying less risk and being easier to incorporate into the diet than probiotics. Aim To review published evidence for prebiotic effects on gut function and human health. Methods We searched the Science Citation Index with the terms prebiotic, microbiota, gut bacteria, large intestine, mucosa, bowel habit, constipation, diarrhoea, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, pouchitis, calcium and cancer, focussing principally on studies in humans and reports in the English language. Search of the Cochrane Library did not identify any clinical study or meta‐analysis on this topic. Results Three prebiotics, oligofructose, galacto‐oligosaccharides and lactulose, clearly alter the balance of the large bowel microbiota by increasing bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus numbers. These carbohydrates are fermented and give rise to short‐chain fatty acid and intestinal gas; however, effects on bowel habit are relatively small. Randomized‐controlled trials of their effect in a clinical context are few, although animal studies show anti‐inflammatory effects in inflammatory bowel disease, while calcium absorption is increased. Conclusions It is still early days for prebiotics, but they offer the potential to modify the gut microbial balance in such a way as to bring direct health benefits cheaply and safely. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics Wiley

Review article: prebiotics in the gastrointestinal tract

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0269-2813
eISSN
1365-2036
DOI
10.1111/j.1365-2036.2006.03042.x
pmid
16918875
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Summary Background Prebiotics are short‐chain carbohydrates that alter the composition, or metabolism, of the gut microbiota in a beneficial manner. It is therefore expected that prebiotics will improve health in a way similar to probiotics, whilst at the same time being cheaper, and carrying less risk and being easier to incorporate into the diet than probiotics. Aim To review published evidence for prebiotic effects on gut function and human health. Methods We searched the Science Citation Index with the terms prebiotic, microbiota, gut bacteria, large intestine, mucosa, bowel habit, constipation, diarrhoea, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, pouchitis, calcium and cancer, focussing principally on studies in humans and reports in the English language. Search of the Cochrane Library did not identify any clinical study or meta‐analysis on this topic. Results Three prebiotics, oligofructose, galacto‐oligosaccharides and lactulose, clearly alter the balance of the large bowel microbiota by increasing bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus numbers. These carbohydrates are fermented and give rise to short‐chain fatty acid and intestinal gas; however, effects on bowel habit are relatively small. Randomized‐controlled trials of their effect in a clinical context are few, although animal studies show anti‐inflammatory effects in inflammatory bowel disease, while calcium absorption is increased. Conclusions It is still early days for prebiotics, but they offer the potential to modify the gut microbial balance in such a way as to bring direct health benefits cheaply and safely.

Journal

Alimentary Pharmacology & TherapeuticsWiley

Published: Sep 1, 2006

References

  • Selective stimulation of bifidobacteria in the human colon by oligofructose and inulin
    Gibson, Gibson; Beatty, Beatty; Wang, Wang; Cummings, Cummings
  • Effect of high performance chicory inulin on constipation
    Den Hond, Den Hond; Geypens, Geypens; Ghoos, Ghoos
  • Effects of fructooligosaccharide on bowel function and indicators of nutritional status in constipated elderly men
    Chen, Chen; Lu, Lu; Lin, Lin; Ko, Ko
  • Prospective, randomized, parallel‐group trial to evaluate the effects of lactulose and polyethylene glycol‐4000 on colonic flora in chronic idiopathic constipation
    Bouhnik, Bouhnik; Neut, Neut; Raskine, Raskine
  • Fecal flora in irritable bowel syndrome: characterization using molecular methods
    Hasler, Hasler
  • Do interventions which reduce colonic bacterial fermentation improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
    Dear, Dear; Elia, Elia; Hunter, Hunter
  • Failure of dietary oligofructose to prevent antibiotic‐associated diarrhoea
    Lewis, Lewis; Burmeister, Burmeister; Cohen, Cohen; Brazier, Brazier; Awasthi, Awasthi
  • Effect of the prebiotic oligofructose on relapse of Clostridium difficile ‐associated diarrhea: a randomized, controlled study
    Lewis, Lewis; Burmeister, Burmeister; Brazier, Brazier
  • Supply of pre‐ and probiotics reduces bacterial infection rates after liver transplantation – a randomized, double‐blind trial
    Rayes, Rayes; Seehofer, Seehofer; Theruvath, Theruvath
  • Protective effect of lactulose on dextran sulfate sodium‐induced colonic inflammation in rats
    Rumi, Rumi; Tsubouchi, Tsubouchi; Okayama, Okayama; Kato, Kato; Mozsik, Mozsik; Takeuchi, Takeuchi
  • Cecal fermentations in rats fed oligosaccharides (inulin) are modulated by dietary calcium level
    Remesy, Remesy; Levrat, Levrat; Gamet, Gamet; Demigne, Demigne

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