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.
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 2006
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly
Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.
Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.
Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Hi guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this resource. Incredible. I really believe you've hit the nail on the head with this site in regards to solving the research-purchase issue.”Daniel C.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud
“I must say, @deepdyve is a fabulous solution to the independent researcher's problem of #access to #information.”@deepthiw
“My last article couldn't be possible without the platform @deepdyve that makes journal papers cheaper.”@JoseServera