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Prescription 2015: Feed Your Good Gut Bacteria

September 18, 2015 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

The importance of gut bacteria has become a red hot topic over the last several years. Best-selling books by the likes of Drs. David Perlmutter (“Brain Maker” ), Gerard Mullin (“The Gut Balance Revolution”) and Raphael Kellman (“The Microbiome Diet”) have ushered in a new era of “probiotic-medicine”. In previous decades, research on gut microbiota primarily focused on bacterial imbalance (aka dysbiosis) and its role in digestive disorders, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These days, specialists in the field are closely examining diversity and quantities of gut bacteria in relation to diseases ranging from depression to obesity. However, along with these exciting new findings comes many questions about how to practically manipulate gut microbiota.

Most experts agree that the science of the gut microbiome is still in its infancy. To be sure, there are many probiotic foods and supplements on the market, but exactly how they influence the complex make-up of an individual’s gut is difficult to predict. Until a clearer picture emerges, some authorities are recommending a diet-driven approach. This typically means the inclusion of more cultured and fermented foods such as kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and yogurt. These traditional foods are rich sources of healthy bacteria or probiotics. In addition, foods containing prebiotics are, likewise, favored. Prebiotics are a form of carbohydrates, mostly indigestable fiber, that preferentially nourish healthy gut bacteria. By combining pre- and probiotics, a symbiotic is formed – a synergistic combination that supports the gut microbiome by colonizing it with health promoting bacteria and supporting their growth and survival. This dynamic duo is the basis for transforming the environment in your digestive system and, possibly, your general state of wellness.

When it comes to dietary prebiotics, a variety of impractical and/or problematic foods are often suggested. Examples include raw chicory root, dandelion greens, Jerusalem artichoke and jicama. There are more common prebiotic foods as well, such as asparagus, banana, garlic, leeks and onions. But, not all of them provide large amounts of prebiotics and, some are dose-limiting because of their pungent flavor and sugar content. Fortunately, there are several, documented examples of delicious foods that effectively alter the gut microbiome in a beneficial way.

Starting your day off with a cup of coffee has been shown to increase the activity and number of Bifidobacterium. Enjoying an apple, berries* or kiwi as a snack, along with a handful of almonds or pistachios is another evidence-based method of enhancing the level of good microbes, including Lactobacilli bacteria. At the same time, a reduction in certain harmful or pathogenic bacteria (C. perfringens, Enterobacteriaceae and Pseudomonas) has been associated with consumption of these very same fruits. Finally, drinking a glass of red wine with a meal and opting for dark chocolate as dessert can further nourish the good guys in your gut. Much like the previously mentioned foods, cocoa and red wine tend to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and curtail the presence of unwanted microbes, including Clostridia. A few ounces/squares of dark chocolate daily, 70% cocoa content or greater, and/or a glass of organic red wine with any meal should be enough to make a significant difference.

A broad array of health effects were linked to positive shifts in gut microbiota in many of the studies I culled from for today’s blog. Decreased risk markers and symptoms relating to cardiovascular disease, colorectal cancer, compromised immunity and lupus were reported. This may well provide validation for the current paradigm that makes the case for gut bacteria affecting the entire body, not just the stomach, intestines and colon. Lucky for us all, the medicine in this case is both quite tasty and safe.

* Blueberries, blackcurrants and raspberries have been singled out as having prebiotic properties in the scientific literature.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – Psychobiotics and the Gut-Brain Axis: In the Pursuit of Happiness (link)

Study 2 – The Gut Microbiota and Host Health: A New Clinical Frontier … (link)

Study 3 – In Vitro Colonic Metabolism of Coffee and Chlorogenic Acid(link)

Study 4 – Influence of Coffee (Coffea Arabica) and Galacto-Oligosaccharide (link)

Study 5 – Impact of Coffee Consumption on the Gut Microbiota: A Human (link)

Study 6 – Dietary Fiber from Coffee Beverage: Degradation by Human Fecal (link)

Study 7 – Effect of Apple Intake on Fecal Microbiota & Metabolites in Humans (link)

Study 8 – Application of Ultrasound for Enhanced Extraction of Prebiotic (link)

Study 9 – Evaluation of the Effect of Blackcurrant Products on Gut (link)

Study 10 – Six-Week Consumption of a Wild Blueberry Powder Drink (link)

Study 11 – In Vitro Utilization of Gold & Green Kiwifruit Oligosaccharides (link)

Study 12 – In Vitro Characterisation of the Fermentation Profile & Prebiotic (link)

Study 13 – Kiwifruit (Actinidia Deliciosa) Changes Intestinal Microbial (link)

Study 14 – Effects of Almond and Pistachio Consumption on Gut Microbiota (link)

Study 15 – Prebiotic Effects of Almonds & Almond Skins on Intestinal Microbiota (link)

Study 16 – In Vitro Evaluation of the Prebiotic Properties of Almond Skins (link)

Study 17 – Specific Dietary Preferences Are Linked to Differing Gut Microbial (link)

Study 18 – Prebiotic Evaluation of Cocoa-Derived Flavanols in Healthy Humans (link)

Study 19 – The Effects of Cocoa on the Immune System (link)

Study 20 – Metabolic Effects of Dark Chocolate Consumption on Energy, Gut (link)

Study 21 – Red Wine Consumption is Associated with Fecal Microbiota and (link)

Study 22 – Association of Polyphenols from Oranges & Apples with Specific (link)

Study 23 – Influence of Red Wine Polyphenols and Ethanol on the Gut Microbiota (link)

Study 24 – Effect of Acute and Chronic Red Wine Consumption on LPS … (link)

The Gut Microbiome Is Influenced By Many Factors

Source: Int J Mol Sci. 2015 Apr; 16(4): 7493–7519. (link)

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Posted in Food and Drink, Mental Health, Nutrition

39 Comments & Updates to “Prescription 2015: Feed Your Good Gut Bacteria”

  1. JP Says:

    Updated 09/18/15:


    Pol J Microbiol. 2015;64(2):93-100.

    Intestinal Microbiota, Obesity and Prebiotics.

    Over the past few decades there has been a significant increase in the prevalence of obesity in both children and adults. Obesity is a disease that has reached epidemic levels on a global scale. The development of obesity is associated with both environmental and genetic factors. Recent studies indicate that intestinal microorganisms play an important function in maintaining normal body weight. One of the objectives in the gut microbiota research is to determine the role it plays and can it be a reliable biomarker of disease risk, including the predisposition to obesity. This article discusses (1) the role of prebiotics and gut microbiota in maintaining a healthy body weight and (2) potential influence on the gut microbiota in the prevention and treatment of obesity.

    Be well!


  2. JP Says:

    Updated 09/18/15:


    Br J Nutr. 2015 Jul 28:1-10. [Epub ahead of print]

    Influence of galacto-oligosaccharide mixture (B-GOS) on gut microbiota, immune parameters and metabonomics in elderly persons.
    It is recognised that ageing induces various changes to the human colonic microbiota. Most relevant is a reduction in bifidobacteria, which is a health-positive genus. Prebiotics, such as galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), are dietary ingredients that selectively fortify beneficial gut microbial groups. Therefore, they have the potential to reverse the age-related decline in bifidobacteria and modulate associated health parameters. We assessed the effect of GOS mixture (Bimuno (B-GOS)) on gut microbiota, markers of immune function and metabolites in forty elderly (age 65-80 years) volunteers in a randomised, double-blind, placebo (maltodextrin)-controlled, cross-over study. The intervention periods consisted of 10 weeks with daily doses of 5·5 g/d with a 4-week washout period in between. Blood and faecal samples were collected for the analyses of faecal bacterial populations and immune and metabolic biomarkers. B-GOS consumption led to significant increases in bacteroides and bifidobacteria, the latter correlating with increased lactic acid in faecal waters. Higher IL-10, IL-8, natural killer cell activity and C-reactive protein and lower IL-1β were also observed. Administration of B-GOS to elderly volunteers may be useful in positively affecting the microbiota and some markers of immune function associated with ageing.

    Be well!


  3. JP Says:

    Updated 09/18/15:


    J Nutr. 2015 Sep;145(9):2025-32.

    Agave Inulin Supplementation Affects the Fecal Microbiota of Healthy Adults Participating in a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial.

    BACKGROUND: Prebiotics resist digestion, providing fermentable substrates for select gastrointestinal bacteria associated with health and well-being. Agave inulin differs from other inulin type fibers in chemical structure and botanical origin. Preclinical animal research suggests these differences affect bacterial utilization and physiologic outcomes. Thus, research is needed to determine whether these effects translate to healthy adults.

    OBJECTIVE: We evaluated agave inulin utilization by the gastrointestinal microbiota by measuring fecal fermentative end products and bacterial taxa.

    METHODS: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 3-period, crossover trial was undertaken in healthy adults (n = 29). Participants consumed 0, 5.0, or 7.5 g agave inulin/d for 21 d with 7-d washouts between periods. Participants recorded daily dietary intake; fecal samples were collected during days 16-20 of each period and were subjected to fermentative end product analysis and 16S Illumina sequencing.

    RESULTS: Fecal Actinobacteria and Bifidobacterium were enriched (P < 0.001) 3- and 4-fold after 5.0 and 7.5 g agave inulin/d, respectively, compared with control. Desulfovibrio were depleted 40% with agave inulin compared with control. Agave inulin tended (P < 0.07) to reduce fecal 4-methyphenol and pH. Bivariate correlations revealed a positive association between intakes of agave inulin (g/kcal) and Bifidobacterium (r = 0.41, P < 0.001). Total dietary fiber intake (total fiber plus 0, 5.0, or 7.5 g agave inulin/d) per kilocalorie was positively associated with fecal butyrate (r = 0.30, P = 0.005), tended to be positively associated with Bifidobacterium (r = 0.19, P = 0.08), and was negatively correlated with Desulfovibrio abundance (r = -0.31, P = 0.004). CONCLUSIONS: Agave inulin supplementation shifted the gastrointestinal microbiota composition and activity in healthy adults. Further investigation is warranted to determine whether the observed changes translate into health benefits in human populations. Be well! JP

  4. Rob Says:

    Good stuff JP, enjoy your blog

  5. JP Says:

    Thanks, Rob! Appreciate your support!

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    Updated 09/19/15:


    “People fed β-glucan-enriched pasta for two months showed increased populations of beneficial bacteria in their intestinal tracts, and reduced populations of non-beneficial bacteria. They also showed reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol. This work is part of a broad effort to identify potential prebiotics—foods that could encourage the growth of health-promoting bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. The research is published September 18, in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

    β-glucans are healthy fibers that humans cannot digest, but that can be digested by some species of our gut bacteria. They are special types of sugars that are found in the cell walls of certain microbes, as well as in oats and barley. β-glucans are used clinically against diabetes, cancer, and high cholesterol, as well as to boost the immune systems of people whose immunity has been compromised by radiation, chemotherapy, stress, and other conditions.”

    Be well!


  7. JP Says:

    Updated 09/19/15:


    J Nutr Biochem. 2015 Aug 20.

    The gut microbial community in metabolic syndrome patients is modified by diet.

    Intestinal microbiota changes may be involved in the development of metabolic syndrome (MetS), which is a multicomponent disorder frequently associated with obesity. The aim of this study was to test the effect of consuming two healthy diets: a Mediterranean diet and a low-fat high-carbohydrate diet, for 2years in the gut microbiota of MetS patients and those in the control group. We analyzed the differences in the bacterial community structure between the groups after 2years of dietary intervention (Mediterranean or low-fat diet) through quantitative polymerase chain reaction using primers, targeting specific bacterial taxa. We observed, at basal time, that the abundance of Bacteroides, Eubacterium and Lactobacillus genera is higher in the control group than in MetS patients, while Bacteroides fragilis group, Parabacteroides distasonis, Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Fusobacterium nucleatum, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium adolescentis, Ruminococcus flavefaciens subgroup and Eubacterium rectale are depleted in MetS patients (all P values <.05). Additionally, we found that long-term consumption of Mediterranean diet partially restores the population of P. distasonis, B. thetaiotaomicron, F. prausnitzii, B. adolescentis and B. longum in MetS patients (all P values <.05). Our results suggest that the Mediterranean diet could be a useful tool to restore potentially beneficial members of the gut microbiota, although the stability of these changes over time still remains to be assessed. Be well! JP

  8. JP Says:

    Updated 10/01/15:


    Gut. 2015 Sep 28.

    High-level adherence to a Mediterranean diet beneficially impacts the gut microbiota and associated metabolome.

    OBJECTIVES: Habitual diet plays a major role in shaping the composition of the gut microbiota, and also determines the repertoire of microbial metabolites that can influence the host. The typical Western diet corresponds to that of an omnivore; however, the Mediterranean diet (MD), common in the Western Mediterranean culture, is to date a nutritionally recommended dietary pattern that includes high-level consumption of cereals, fruit, vegetables and legumes. To investigate the potential benefits of the MD in this cross-sectional survey, we assessed the gut microbiota and metabolome in a cohort of Italian individuals in relation to their habitual diets.

    DESIGN AND RESULTS: We retrieved daily dietary information and assessed gut microbiota and metabolome in 153 individuals habitually following omnivore, vegetarian or vegan diets. The majority of vegan and vegetarian subjects and 30% of omnivore subjects had a high adherence to the MD. We were able to stratify individuals according to both diet type and adherence to the MD on the basis of their dietary patterns and associated microbiota. We detected significant associations between consumption of vegetable-based diets and increased levels of faecal short-chain fatty acids, Prevotella and some fibre-degrading Firmicutes, whose role in human gut warrants further research. Conversely, we detected higher urinary trimethylamine oxide levels in individuals with lower adherence to the MD.

    CONCLUSIONS: High-level consumption of plant foodstuffs consistent with an MD is associated with beneficial microbiome-related metabolomic profiles in subjects ostensibly consuming a Western diet.

    Be well!


  9. JP Says:

    Updated 10/12/15:

    Food Funct. 2015 Oct 5.

    Phenolic compounds from red wine and coffee are associated with specific intestinal microorganisms in allergic subjects.

    The dietary modulation of gut microbiota, suggested to be involved in allergy processes, has recently attracted much interest. While several studies have addressed the use of fibres to modify intestinal microbial populations, information about other components, such as phenolic compounds, is scarce. The aim of this work was to identify the dietary components able to influence the microbiota in 23 subjects suffering from rhinitis and allergic asthma, and 22 age- and sex-matched controls. The food intake was recorded by means of an annual food frequency questionnaire. Dietary fibre tables were obtained from Marlett et al., and the Phenol-Explorer database was used to assess the phenolic compound intake. The quantification of microbial groups was performed using an Ion Torrent 16S rRNA gene-based analysis. The results showed a direct association between the intake of red wine, a source of stilbenes, and the relative abundance of Bacteroides, and between the intake of coffee, rich in phenolic acids, and the abundance of Clostridium, Lactococcus and Lactobacillus genera. Despite epidemiological analyses not establishing causality, these results support the association between polyphenol-rich beverages and faecal microbiota in allergic patients.

    Be well!


  10. JP Says:

    Updated 10/31/15:


    Nutrients. 2015 Oct 28;7(11):8887-8896.

    An Investigation of the Acute Effects of Oligofructose-Enriched Inulin on Subjective Wellbeing, Mood and Cognitive Performance.

    Inulin is a natural food component found in many plants that are part of the human diet (e.g., leeks, onions, wheat, garlic, chicory and artichokes). It is added to many foods and is used to increase dietary fibre, replace fats or carbohydrates, and as a prebiotic (a stimulant of beneficial bacteria in the colon). Oligofructose, which is also present in these foods, produces similar effects and most research has used a combination of these products. A previous study (Smith, 2005) investigated the effects of regular consumption of oligofructose-enriched inulin on wellbeing, mood, and cognitive performance in humans. The results showed that oligofructose-enriched inulin had no negative effects but that it did not improve wellbeing, mood, or performance. The aim of the present study was to examine the acute effects of oligofructose-enriched inulin (5 g) over a 4 h period during which the participants remained in the laboratory. A double blind placebo (maltodextrin) controlled study (N = 47) was carried out with the order of conditions being counterbalanced and the two sessions a week apart. On each test day mood and cognitive performance were assessed at baseline (at 8:00) and then following inulin or placebo (at 11:00). Prior to the second test session (at 10:30) participants completed a questionnaire assessing their physical symptoms and mental health during the test morning. The inulin and placebo were provided in powder form in 5 g sachets. Volunteers consumed one sachet in decaffeinated tea or decaffeinated coffee with breakfast (9:00). Questionnaire results showed that on the day that the inulin was consumed, participants felt happier, had less indigestion and were less hungry than when they consumed the placebo. As for performance and mood tasks, the most consistent effects were on the episodic memory tasks where consumption of inulin was associated with greater accuracy on a recognition memory task, and improved recall performance (immediate and delayed). Further research is required to identify the mechanisms that underlie this effect with glucose metabolism being one candidate.

    Be well!


  11. JP Says:

    Updated 11/27/15:


    Food Funct. 2015 Nov 24.

    Red wine polyphenols modulate fecal microbiota and reduce markers of the metabolic syndrome in obese patients.

    This study evaluated the possible prebiotic effect of a moderate intake of red wine polyphenols on the modulation of the gut microbiota composition and the improvement in the risk factors for the metabolic syndrome in obese patients. Ten metabolic syndrome patients and ten healthy subjects were included in a randomized, crossover, controlled intervention study. After a washout period, the subjects consumed red wine and de-alcoholized red wine over a 30 day period for each. The dominant bacterial composition did not differ significantly between the study groups after the two red wine intake periods. In the metabolic syndrome patients, red wine polyphenols significantly increased the number of fecal bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus (intestinal barrier protectors) and butyrate-producing bacteria (Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Roseburia) at the expense of less desirable groups of bacteria such as LPS producers (Escherichia coli and Enterobacter cloacae). The changes in gut microbiota in these patients could be responsible for the improvement in the metabolic syndrome markers. Modulation of the gut microbiota by using red wine could be an effective strategy for managing metabolic diseases associated with obesity.

    Be well!


  12. JP Says:

    Updated 12/18/15:


    Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2015 Dec 16.

    Circulating biomarkers of gut barrier function: Correlates and non-response to calcium supplementation among colon adenoma patients.

    BACKGROUND: Gut barrier dysfunction contributes to several gastrointestinal disorders, including colorectal cancer, but factors associated with intestinal hyperpermeability have been minimally studied in humans.

    METHODS: We tested the effects of two doses of calcium (1.0 or 2.0 g/d) on circulating biomarkers of gut permeability (anti-flagellin and anti-lipopolysaccharide [LPS] immunoglobulins [Igs], measured via ELISA) over a 4-month treatment period among colorectal adenoma patients in a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial (n = 193), and evaluated factors associated with baseline levels of these biomarkers.

    RESULTS: Baseline concentrations of anti-flagellin IgA and anti-LPS IgA were, respectively, statistically significantly proportionately higher by 11.8% and 14.1% among men, 31.3% and 39.8% among those with a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 35 kg/m2, and 19.9% and 22.0% among those in the upper relative to the lowest sex-specific tertile of waist circumference. A combined permeability score (the summed optical densities of all four biomarkers) was 24.3% higher among women in the upper tertile of plasma C-reactive protein (ptrend < 0.01). We found no appreciable effects of supplemental calcium on anti-flagellin or anti-LPS Igs. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that 1) men and those with higher adiposity may have greater gut permeability, 2) gut permeability and systemic inflammation may be directly associated with one another, and 3) supplemental calcium may not modify circulating levels of gut permeability biomarkers within four months. IMPACT: Our findings may improve understanding of the factors that influence gut permeability to inform development of treatable biomarkers of risk for colorectal cancer and other health outcomes. Be well! JP

  13. JP Says:

    Updated 04/02/16:


    Amino Acids. 2016 Mar 30.

    Effects of taurine on gut microbiota and metabolism in mice.

    As being a necessary amino acid, taurine plays an important role in the regulation of neuroendocrine functions and nutrition. In this study, effects of taurine on mice gut microbes and metabolism were investigated. BALB/C mice were randomly divided into three experimental groups: The first group was administered saline (CK), the second was administered 165 mg/kg natural taurine (NE) and the third one administered 165 mg/kg synthetic taurine (CS). Gut microbiota composition in mice feces was analyzed by metagenomics technology, and the content of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) in mice feces was detected by gas chromatography (GC), while the concentrations of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) were detected by a LPS ELISA kit and a SOD assay kit, respectively. The results showed that the effect of taurine on gut microbiota could reduce the abundance of Proteobacteria, especially Helicobacter. Moreover, we found that the SCFA content was increased in feces of the NE group while LPS content was decreased in serum of the NE group; the SOD activity in serum and livers of the NE and CS groups were not changed significantly compare to that of the CK group. In conclusion, taurine could regulate the gut micro-ecology, which might be of benefit to health by inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria, accelerating the production of SCFA and reducing LPS concentration.

    Be well!


  14. JP Says:

    Updated 04/11/16:


    PLoS One. 2016 Apr 7;11(4):e0153134.

    Long-Term Green Tea Supplementation Does Not Change the Human Gut Microbiota.

    BACKGROUND: Green tea catechins may play a role in body weight regulation through interactions with the gut microbiota.

    AIM: We examined whether green tea supplementation for 12 weeks induces changes in composition of the human gut microbiota.

    METHODS: 58 Caucasian men and women were included in a randomized, placebo-controlled design. For 12 weeks, subjects consumed either green tea (>0.56 g/d epigallocatechin-gallate + 0.28 ∼ 0.45 g/d caffeine) or placebo capsules. Fecal samples were collected twice (baseline, vs. week 12) for analyses of total bacterial profiles by means of IS-profiling, a 16S-23S interspacer region-based profiling method.

    RESULTS: No significant changes between baseline and week 12 in subjects receiving green tea or placebo capsules, and no significant interactions between treatment (green tea or placebo) and time (baseline and week 12) were observed for body composition. Analysis of the fecal samples in subjects receiving green tea and placebo showed similar bacterial diversity and community structures, indicating there were no significant changes in bacterial diversity between baseline and week 12 in subjects receiving green tea capsules or in subjects receiving placebo capsules. No significant interactions were observed between treatment (green tea or placebo) and time (baseline and week 12) for the gut microbial diversity. Although, there were no significant differences between normal weight and overweight subjects in response to green tea, we did observe a reduced bacterial alpha diversity in overweight as compared to normal weight subjects (p = 0.002).

    CONCLUSION: Green tea supplementation for 12 weeks did not have a significant effect on composition of the gut microbiota.

  15. JP Says:

    Updated 04/12/16:


    Case Rep Med. 2016;2016:3089303.

    Understanding the Impact of Omega-3 Rich Diet on the Gut Microbiota.
    Noriega BS1, Sanchez-Gonzalez MA1, Salyakina D2, Coffman J3.

    Background. Recently, the importance of the gut microbiota in the pathogenesis of several disorders has gained clinical interests. Among exogenous factors affecting gut microbiome, diet appears to have the largest effect. Fatty acids, especially omega-3 polyunsaturated, ameliorate a range of several diseases, including cardiometabolic and inflammatory and cancer. Fatty acids associated beneficial effects may be mediated, to an important extent, through changes in gut microbiota composition. We sought to understand the changes of the gut microbiota in response to an omega-3 rich diet.

    Case Presentation. This case study investigated changes of gut microbiota with an omega-3 rich diet. Fecal samples were collected from a 45-year-old male who consumed 600 mg of omega-3 daily for 14 days. After the intervention, species diversity was decreased, but several butyrate-producing bacteria increased. There was an important decrease in Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Akkermansia spp. Gut microbiota changes were reverted after the 14-day washout.

    Conclusion. Some of the health-related benefits of omega-3 may be due, in part, to increases in butyrate-producing bacteria. These findings may shed light on the mechanisms explaining the effects of omega-3 in several chronic diseases and may also serve as an existing foundation for tailoring personalized medical treatments.

    Be well!


  16. JP Says:

    Updated 05/26/16:

    Full Text: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10408398.2015.1096763

    Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2016 May 25:0.

    Prebiotic Nut Compounds and Human Microbiota.

    Nut consumption is clearly related to human health outcomes. Its beneficial effects have been mainly attributed to nut fatty acid profiles and content of vegetable protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytosterols and phenolics. However, in this review we focus on the prebiotics properties in humans of the non-bioaccessible material of nuts (polymerized polyphenols and polysaccharides), which provides substrates for the human gut microbiota and on the formation of new bioactive metabolites and the absorption of that may partly explain the health benefits of nut consumption.

    Be well!


  17. JP Says:

    Updated 05/27/16:


    Eur J Nutr. 2016 Jun;55(4):1479-89.

    Effects of high doses of vitamin D3 on mucosa-associated gut microbiome vary between regions of the human gastrointestinal tract.

    PURPOSE: Vitamin D is well known for its effects on bone mineralisation but has also been attributed immunomodulatory properties. It positively influences human health, but in vivo data describing vitamin D effects on the human gut microbiome are missing. We aimed to investigate the effects of oral vitamin D3 supplementation on the human mucosa-associated and stool microbiome as well as CD8(+) T cells in healthy volunteers.

    METHODS: This was an interventional, open-label, pilot study. Sixteen healthy volunteers (7 females, 9 males) were endoscopically examined to access a total of 7 sites. We sampled stomach, small bowel, colon, and stools before and after 8 weeks of vitamin D3 supplementation. Bacterial composition was assessed by pyrosequencing the 16S rRNA gene (V1-2), and CD8(+) T cell counts were determined by flow cytometry.

    RESULTS: Vitamin D3 supplementation changed the gut microbiome in the upper GI tract (gastric corpus, antrum, and duodenum). We found a decreased relative abundance of Gammaproteobacteria including Pseudomonas spp. and Escherichia/Shigella spp. and increased bacterial richness. No major changes occurred in the terminal ileum, appendiceal orifice, ascending colon, and sigmoid colon or in stools, but the CD8(+) T cell fraction was significantly increased in the terminal ileum.

    CONCLUSION: Vitamin D3 modulates the gut microbiome of the upper GI tract which might explain its positive influence on gastrointestinal diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease or bacterial infections. The local effects of vitamin D demonstrate pronounced regional differences in the response of the GI microbiome to external factors, which should be considered in future studies investigating the human microbiome.

    Be well!


  18. JP Says:

    Updated 08/16/16:


    Biosci Microbiota Food Health. 2016;35(3):105-12.

    Effect of probiotic and prebiotic fermented milk on skin and intestinal conditions in healthy young female students.

    Although persistent constipation is considered to be associated with skin problems, the supporting evidence is limited. Hence, this study investigated the effects of probiotic and prebiotic fermented milk on skin and intestinal conditions in an open-label trial. Among the 101 Japanese healthy young female students that participated, the 81 subjects in the intake group consumed a bottle of probiotic and prebiotic fermented milk containing Bifidobacterium breve strain Yakult and galactooligosaccharides daily for 4 weeks after a pre-intake period of 4 weeks, while the 20 subjects in the non-intake group did not consume the test beverage. Defecation patterns, skin conditions including hydration levels in the stratum corneum, and urinary phenol and p-cresol levels were evaluated before (baseline) and after intake. All subjects completed the study. No differences in dietary intake and body mass index were observed between both groups during the trial. In the intake group, hydration levels of the stratum corneum, defecation frequency, and feces quantity significantly increased, and urinary phenol and p-cresol levels significantly decreased after intake compared with the corresponding baseline values. However, they did not significantly change in the non-intake group. A significant difference was observed between the intake group and non-intake group in regard to clearness of the skin as assessed by visual analogue scale. Therefore, consecutive intake of probiotic and prebiotic fermented milk might have beneficial effects on the skin that prevent dryness and beneficial effects on the intestinal conditions that stimulate defecation and decrease phenol production by gut bacteria in healthy young women.

    Be well!


  19. JP Says:

    Updated 02/24/17:


    Obesity (Silver Spring). 2017 Mar;25(3):510-513.

    Oligofructose decreases serum lipopolysaccharide and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 in adults with overweight/obesity.

    OBJECTIVE: To determine the effect of prebiotic supplementation on metabolic endotoxemia and systemic inflammation in adults with overweight and obesity.

    METHODS: Samples from a previously conducted randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial were used for analysis. Participants were randomized to 21 g of oligofructose (n = 20; BMI 30.4 kg/m2 ) or a maltodextrin placebo (n = 17; BMI 29.5 kg/m2 ) for 12 weeks. A total of 37 participants had samples available for the current analysis. Resistin, adiponectin, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and macrophage chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) were quantified using MILLIPLEX® assays. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was measured using PyroGene™ Recombinant Factor C Assay.

    RESULTS: Plasma LPS concentrations were reduced by 40% in the oligofructose group over 12 weeks compared to a 48% increase in the placebo group (P = 0.04). PAI-1, a risk factor for thrombosis, was reduced to a greater extent in the oligofructose group (-17.3 ± 2.6 ng/ml) compared to the placebo group (-9.7 ± 1.8 ng/ml; P = 0.03). Oligofructose did not affect IL-6, TNF-α, MCP-1, adiponectin, or resistin.

    CONCLUSIONS: Oligofructose reduces metabolic endotoxemia and PAI-1. Incorporating prebiotics into the diet through supplements or functional foods may help mitigate some markers of obesity-associated inflammation.

    Be well!


  20. JP Says:

    Updated 03/02/17:


    Biosci Microbiota Food Health. 2017;36(1):33-37.

    The effect of soymilk intake on the fecal microbiota, particularly Bifidobacterium species, and intestinal environment of healthy adults: a pilot study.

    The influence of soymilk on the fecal microbiota, particularly Bifidobacterium species, and metabolic activities were investigated in eight healthy adult humans. During the soymilk intake period, the number of bifidobacteria in feces was significantly higher (p<0.05) on day 14 of the soymilk intake period than before the intake period, whereas that of Enterobacteriaceae was significantly lower (p<0.05) on days 7 and 14 of the soymilk intake period than before the intake period. In an investigation of Bifidobacterium at the species or group level, the numbers of all species and groups studied slightly increased during the soymilk intake period. These results show that the intake of soymilk may contribute to improving the intestinal environment.

    Be well!


  21. JP Says:

    Updated 03/06/17:


    Eur J Nutr. 2017 Mar 3.

    Replacement of glycaemic carbohydrates by inulin-type fructans from chicory (oligofructose, inulin) reduces the postprandial blood glucose and insulin response to foods: report of two double-blind, randomized, controlled trials.

    PURPOSE: Inulin-type fructans are recognized as prebiotic dietary fibres and classified as non-digestible carbohydrates that do not contribute to glycaemia. The aim of the present studies was to investigate the glycaemic response (GR) and insulinaemic response (IR) to foods in which sucrose was partially replaced by inulin or oligofructose from chicory.

    METHODS: In a double-blind, randomized, controlled cross-over design, 40-42 healthy adults consumed a yogurt drink containing oligofructose or fruit jelly containing inulin and the respective full-sugar variants. Capillary blood glucose and insulin were measured in fasted participants and at 15, 30, 45, 60, 90, and 120 min after starting to drink/eat. For each test food, the incremental area under the curve (iAUC) for glucose and insulin was calculated and the GR and IR determined.

    RESULTS: Consumption of a yogurt drink with oligofructose which was 20% reduced in sugars significantly lowered the glycaemic response compared to the full-sugar reference (iAUC120min 31.9 and 37.3 mmol/L/min, respectively; p < 0.05). A fruit jelly made with inulin and containing 30% less sugars than the full-sugar variant likewise resulted in a significantly reduced blood glucose response (iAUC120min 53.7 and 63.7 mmol/L/min, respectively; p < 0.05). In both studies, the postprandial insulin response was lowered in parallel (p < 0.05). The reduction of postprandial glycaemia was positively correlated to the proportion of sugars replaced by inulin-type fructans (p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, the studies confirmed that substitution of glycaemic sugars by inulin or oligofructose from chicory may be an effective strategy to reduce the postprandial blood glucose response to foods. Be well! JP

  22. JP Says:

    Updated 03/16/17:


    Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Mar 10.

    Consumption of a diet rich in Brassica vegetables is associated with a reduced abundance of sulphate-reducing bacteria: a randomised crossover study.

    SCOPE: We examined whether a Brassica-rich diet was associated with an increase in the relative abundance of intestinal lactobacilli and sulphate-reducing bacteria (SRB), or alteration to the composition of the gut microbiota, in healthy adults.

    METHODS AND RESULTS: A randomised crossover study was performed with ten healthy adults who were fed a high- and a low-Brassica diet for 2-week periods, with a 2-week washout phase separating the diets. The high-Brassica diet consisted of six 84 g portions of broccoli, six 84 g portions of cauliflower, and six 300 g portions of a broccoli and sweet potato soup. The low-Brassica diet consisted of one 84 g portion of broccoli, and one 84 g portion of cauliflower. Faecal microbiota composition was measured in samples collected following 2-week Brassica-free periods (consumption of all Brassica prohibited), and after each diet, whereby the only Brassica consumed was that supplied by the study team. No significant changes to the relative abundance of lactobacilli were observed (P = 0.8019). The increased consumption of Brassica was associated with a reduction in the relative abundance of SRB (P = 0.0215), and members of the Rikenellaceae, Ruminococcaceae, Mogibacteriaceae, Clostridium, and unclassified Clostridiales (P<0.01).

    CONCLUSION: The increased consumption of Brassica vegetables was linked to a reduced relative abundance of SRB, and therefore may be potentially beneficial to gastrointestinal health.

    Be well!


  23. JP Says:

    Updated 03/21/17:


    J Agric Food Chem. 2017 Mar 20.

    Chemical Characterization of Potentially Prebiotic Oligosaccharides in Brewed Coffee and Spent Coffee Grounds.

    Oligosaccharides are indigestible carbohydrates widely present in mammalian milk and in some plants. Milk oligosaccharides are associated with positive health outcomes; however, oligosaccharides in coffee have not been extensively studied. We investigated the oligosaccharides and their monomeric composition in dark roasted coffee beans, brewed coffee and spent coffee grounds. Oligosaccharides with a degree of polymerization ranging from 3 to 15, and their constituent monosaccharides were characterized and quantified. The oligosaccharides identified were mainly hexoses (potentially galacto-oligosaccharides and manno-oligosaccharides) containing a heterogeneous mixture of glucose, arabinose, xylose and rhamnose. The diversity of oligosaccharides composition found in these coffee samples, suggests that they could have selective prebiotic activity towards specific bacterial strains able to deconstruct the glycosidic bonds and utilize them as a carbon source.

    Be well!


  24. JP Says:

    Updated 04/17/17:


    Clin Nutr. 2017 Mar 31.

    A randomized trial to determine the impact of a digestion resistant starch composition on the gut microbiome in older and mid-age adults.

    BACKGROUND: The elderly often have a diet lacking resistant starch (RS) which is thought to lead to gut microbiome dysbiosis that may result in deterioration of gut colonocytes.

    OBJECTIVE: The primary objective was to assess if elderly (ELD; ≥ 70 years age) had microbiome dysbiosis compared to mid-age (MID; 30-50 years age) adults and then determine the impact of daily consumption of MSPrebiotic® (a RS) or placebo over 3 months on gut microbiome composition. Secondary objectives included assessment of stool short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) and inflammatory markers in ELD and MID Canadian adults.

    DESIGN: This was a prospective, placebo controlled, randomized, double-blinded study. Stool was collected at enrollment and 6, 10 and 14 weeks after randomization to placebo or MSPrebiotic®. Microbiome analysis was done using 16S rRNA sequencing of DNA extracted from stool. SCFA analysis of stool was performed using gas chromatography.

    RESULTS: There were 42 ELD and 42 MID participants randomized to either placebo or MSPrebiotic® who completed the study. There was significantly higher abundance of Proteobacteria (Escherichia coli/Shigella) in ELD compared to MID at enrollment (p < 0.001) that was not observed after 12 weeks of MSPrebiotic® consumption. There was a significant increase in Bifidobacterium in both ELD and MID compared to placebo (p = 0.047 and 0.006, respectively). There was a small but significant increase in the stool SCFA butyrate levels in the ELD on MSPrebiotic® versus placebo. CONCLUSIONS: The study data demonstrated that MSPrebiotic® meets the criteria of a prebiotic and can stimulate an increased abundance of endogenous Bifidobacteria in both ELD and MID without additional probiotic supplementation. MSPrebiotic® consumption also eliminated the dysbiosis of gut Proteobacteria observed in ELD at baseline. Be well! JP

  25. JP Says:

    Updated 06/13/17:


    Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Jun 12.

    Effect of cocoa’s theobromine on intestinal microbiota of rats.

    SCOPE: To establish the role of cocoa theobromine on gut microbiota composition and fermentation products after cocoa consumption in rats.

    METHODS AND RESULTS: Lewis rats were fed either a standard diet (RF diet), a diet containing 10% cocoa (CC diet) or a diet including 0.25% theobromine (TB diet) for 15 days. Gut microbiota (fluorescence in situ hybridization coupled to flow cytometry and metagenomics analysis), SCFA and IgA-coated bacteria were analyzed in fecal samples. CC and TB diets induced lower counts of E. coli whereas TB diet led to lower counts of Bifidobacterium spp., Streptococcus spp. and Clostridium histolyticum-C. perfingens group compared to RF diet. Metagenomics analysis also revealed a different microbiota pattern among the studied groups. The SCFA content was higher after both CC and TB diets, which was mainly due to enhanced butyric acid production. Furthermore, both diets decreased the proportion of IgA-coated bacteria.

    CONCLUSION: Cocoa’s theobromine plays a relevant role in some effects related to cocoa intake, such as the lower proportion of IgA-coated bacteria. Moreover, theobromine modifies gut microbiota although other cocoa compounds could also act on intestinal bacteria, attenuating or enhancing the theobromine effects.

    Be well!


  26. JP Says:

    Updated 07/23/17:


    Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Jul 21.

    Inulin-type fructans and whey protein both modulate appetite but only fructans alter gut microbiota in adults with overweight/obesity: a randomized controlled trial.

    SCOPE: Independently, prebiotics and dietary protein have been shown to improve weight loss and/or alter appetite. Our objective was to determine the effect of combined prebiotic and whey protein on appetite, body composition and gut microbiota in adults with overweight/obesity.

    METHODS AND RESULTS: In a 12 week, placebo-controlled, double-blind study, 125 adults with overweight/obesity were randomly assigned to receive isocaloric snack bars of: 1) Control; 2) Inulin-type fructans (ITF); 3) Whey protein; 4) ITF + Whey protein. Appetite, body composition and gut microbiota composition/genetic potential were assessed. Compared to Control, body fat was significantly reduced in the Whey protein group at 12wks. Hunger, desire to eat and prospective food consumption were all lower with ITF, Whey protein and ITF + Whey protein compared to Control at 12 wks. Microbial community structure differed from 0 to 12 wks in the ITF and ITF +Whey Protein groups (i.e. increased Bifidobacterium) but not Whey Protein or Control. Changes in microbial genetic potential were seen between Control and ITF-containing treatments.

    CONCLUSIONS: Adding ITF, whey protein or both to snack bars improved several aspects of appetite control. Changes in gut microbiota may explain in part the effects of ITF but likely not whey protein.

    Be well!


  27. JP Says:

    Updated 1/8/18:


    Adv Mind Body Med. 2017 Fall;31(4):10-25.

    The Effects of Stress and Meditation on the Immune System, Human Microbiota, and Epigenetics.

    Context • Globally, more than 25% of individuals are affected by anxiety and depression disorders. Meditation is gaining popularity in clinical settings and its treatment efficacy is being studied for a wide array of psychological and physiological ailments. An exploration of stress physiology is an essential precursor to delineation of the mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of meditation practices.

    Objective • The review outlines a model of interconnected physiological processes that might support the continued inclusion and expansion of meditation in the treatment of diverse medical conditions and to investigate the role that gut microbiota may play in realizing well-being through meditation.

    Design • The authors conducted a scientific literature database search with the goal of reviewing the link between stress management techniques and human microbiota. Their goal was also to identify the extent of underlying epigenetic reactions in these processes. The review was completed in approximately 2 y. Databases searched included Medline via PubMed and Ovid, PsycINFO via Ovid, Spinet, ProQuest Central, SAGE Research Methods Online, CINAHL Plus with Full Text, Science Direct, Springer Link, and Wiley Online Library. Keywords searched included, but were not limited to, stress, meditation, mindfulness, immune system, HPA axis, sympathetic nervous system, parasympathetic nervous system, microbiota, microbiome, gut-barrier function, leaky gut, vagus nerve, psychoneuroimmunology, epigenetic, and NF-κB.

    Setting • The study took place at New York University (New York, NY, USA), the University of California, San Diego (La Jolla, CA, USA), and the Chopra Foundation (Carlsbad, CA, USA).

    Results • Psychological stress typically triggers a fight-or-flight response, prompting corticotropin-releasing hormone and catecholamine production in various parts of the body, which ultimately disturbs the microbiota. In the absence of stress, a healthy microbiota produces short-chain fatty acids that exert anti-inflammatory and antitumor effects. During stress, an altered gut microbial population affects the regulation of neurotransmitters mediated by the microbiome and gut barrier function. Meditation helps regulate the stress response, thereby suppressing chronic inflammation states and maintaining a healthy gut-barrier function.

    Conclusions • The current research team recommends the integration of meditation into conventional health care and wellness models. Concurrently, studies to explore the effects of meditation on human microbiota are warranted.

    Be well!


  28. JP Says:

    Updated 1/28/18:


    Nutrients 2018, 10(2), 126

    Almond Consumption and Processing Affects the Composition of the Gastrointestinal Microbiota of Healthy Adult Men and Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial

    Background: Almond processing has been shown to differentially impact metabolizable energy; however, the effect of food form on the gastrointestinal microbiota is under-investigated.

    Objective: We aimed to assess the interrelationship of almond consumption and processing on the gastrointestinal microbiota.

    Design: A controlled-feeding, randomized, five-period, crossover study with washouts between diet periods was conducted in healthy adults (n = 18). Treatments included: (1) zero servings/day of almonds (control); (2) 1.5 servings (42 g)/day of whole almonds; (3) 1.5 servings/day of whole, roasted almonds; (4) 1.5 servings/day of roasted, chopped almonds; and (5) 1.5 servings/day of almond butter. Fecal samples were collected at the end of each three-week diet period.

    Results: Almond consumption increased the relative abundances of Lachnospira, Roseburia, and Dialister (p ≤ 0.05). Comparisons between control and the four almond treatments revealed that chopped almonds increased Lachnospira, Roseburia, and Oscillospira compared to control (p < 0.05), while whole almonds increased Dialister compared to control (p = 0.007). There were no differences between almond butter and control. Conclusions: These results reveal that almond consumption induced changes in the microbial community composition of the human gastrointestinal microbiota. Furthermore, the degree of almond processing (e.g., roasting, chopping, and grinding into butter) differentially impacted the relative abundances of bacterial genera. Be well! JP

  29. JP Says:

    Updated 2/12/18:


    Nutrients 2018, 10(2), 201

    The Effect of Oligofructose-Enriched Inulin on Faecal Bacterial Counts and Microbiota-Associated Characteristics in Celiac Disease Children Following a Gluten-Free Diet: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial

    Celiac disease (CD) is associated with intestinal microbiota alterations. The administration of prebiotics could be a promising method of restoring gut homeostasis in CD. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of prolonged oligofructose-enriched inulin (Synergy 1) administration on the characteristics and metabolism of intestinal microbiota in CD children following a gluten-free diet (GFD). Thirty-four paediatric CD patients (mean age 10 years; 62% females) on a GFD were randomized into two experimental groups receiving Synergy 1 (10 g/day) or placebo (maltodextrin; 7 g/day) for 3 months. The quantitative gut microbiota characteristics and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) concentration were analysed. In addition, side effects were monitored. Generally, the administration of Synergy 1 in a GFD did not cause any side effects. After the intervention period, Bifidobacterium count increased significantly (p < 0.05) in the Synergy 1 group. Moreover, an increase in faecal acetate and butyrate levels was observed in the prebiotic group. Consequently, total SCFA levels were 31% higher than at the baseline. The presented trial shows that Synergy 1 applied as a supplement of a GFD had a moderate effect on the qualitative characteristics of faecal microbiota, whereas it stimulated the bacterial metabolite production in CD children. Be well! JP

  30. JP Says:

    Updated 05/01/18:


    Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2018 Apr 27.

    Association of coffee and tea intake with the oral microbiome: results from a large cross-sectional study.

    BACKGROUND: The oral microbiota play a central role in oral health, and possibly in carcinogenesis. Research suggests coffee and tea consumption may have beneficial health effects. We examined the associations of these common beverages with the oral ecosystem in a large cross-sectional study.

    METHODS: We assessed oral microbiota in mouthwash samples from 938 participants in two U.S. cohorts using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Coffee and tea intake were assessed from food frequency questionnaires. We examined associations of coffee and tea intake with overall oral microbiota diversity and composition using linear regression and permutational MANOVA, respectively, and with taxon abundance using negative binomial generalized linear models; all models adjusted for age, sex, cohort, BMI, smoking, ethanol intake, and energy intake.

    RESULTS: Higher tea intake was associated with greater oral microbiota richness (P=0.05) and diversity (P=0.006), and shifts in overall community composition (P=0.002); coffee was not associated with these microbiome parameters. Tea intake was associated with altered abundance of several oral taxa; these included Fusobacteriales, Clostridiales, and Shuttleworthia satelles (higher with increasing tea) and Bifidobacteriaceae, Bergeyella, Lactobacillales, and Kingella oralis (lower with increasing tea). Higher coffee intake was only associated with greater abundance of Granulicatella and Synergistetes.

    CONCLUSIONS: In the largest study to date of tea and coffee consumption in relation to the oral microbiota, the microbiota of tea drinkers differed in several ways from non-drinkers.

    IMPACT: Tea-driven changes to the oral microbiome may contribute to previously observed associations between tea and oral and systemic diseases, including cancers.

    Be well!


  31. JP Says:

    Updated 06/29/18:


    Metabolism. 2018 Jun 25.

    The Prebiotic Inulin Improves Substrate Metabolism and Promotes Short-Chain Fatty Acid Production in Overweight to Obese Men.

    BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Human gut microbiota play an important role in maintaining human health. Dietary fibers, i.e. prebiotics, are fermented by human gut microbiota into the short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) acetate, propionate, and butyrate. SCFAs promote fat oxidation and improve metabolic health. Therefore, the prebiotic inulin might be an effective dietary strategy to improve human metabolism. We aimed to investigate the acute metabolic effects of ingesting inulin compared with digestible carbohydrates and to trace inulin-derived SCFAs using stable isotope tracer methodology.

    METHODS: In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover design, 14 healthy, overweight to obese men consumed a high-fat milkshake containing A) 24 g inulin of which 0.5 g was U-13C-inulin (INU) or B) 24 g maltodextrin placebo (PLA), with a wash-out period of at least five days. Fat oxidation was measured via an open-circuit ventilated hood and blood samples were collected up to 7 h after ingestion. Plasma, breath, and fecal samples were collected, and hunger and satiety scores were assessed.

    RESULTS: Fat oxidation increased in the early postprandial phase (0-3 h), and both plasma glucose and insulin were lower after INU ingestion compared with PLA (all P<0.05). Plasma free fatty acids were higher in the early, and lower in the late postprandial period after INU ingestion. Inulin was fermented into SCFAs as indicated by higher plasma acetate concentrations after INU compared with PLA (P<0.05). In addition, we found continuous increases in plasma 13C-SCFA enrichments (P<0.05 from t=120 onwards) and breath 13CO2 enrichments after INU intake. There were no effects on plasma triglycerides, free glycerol, satiety hormones GLP-1 and PYY, and hunger and satiety scores.

    CONCLUSIONS: Ingestion of the prebiotic inulin improves fat oxidation and promotes SCFA production in overweight to obese men. Overall, replacing digestible carbohydrates with the fermentable inulin may favor human substrate metabolism.

    Be well!


  32. JP Says:

    Updated 08/04/18:


    Microbiome. 2018 Aug 2;6(1):133.

    A prebiotic intervention study in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).

    BACKGROUND: Different dietary approaches, such as gluten and casein free diets, or the use of probiotics and prebiotics have been suggested in autistic spectrum disorders in order to reduce gastrointestinal (GI) disturbances. GI symptoms are of particular interest in this population due to prevalence and correlation with the severity of behavioural traits. Nowadays, there is lack of strong evidence about the effect of dietary interventions on these problems, particularly prebiotics. Therefore, we assessed the impact of exclusion diets and a 6-week Bimuno® galactooligosaccharide (B-GOS®) prebiotic intervention in 30 autistic children.

    RESULTS: The results showed that children on exclusion diets reported significantly lower scores of abdominal pain and bowel movement, as well as lower abundance of Bifidobacterium spp. and Veillonellaceae family, but higher presence of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Bacteroides spp. In addition, significant correlations were found between bacterial populations and faecal amino acids in this group, compared to children following an unrestricted diet. Following B-GOS® intervention, we observed improvements in anti-social behaviour, significant increase of Lachnospiraceae family, and significant changes in faecal and urine metabolites.

    CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge, this is the first study where the effect of exclusion diets and prebiotics has been evaluated in autism, showing potential beneficial effects. A combined dietary approach resulted in significant changes in gut microbiota composition and metabolism suggesting that multiple interventions might be more relevant for the improvement of these aspects as well as psychological traits.

    Be well!


  33. JP Says:

    Updated 10/24/18:


    Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2018 Oct 8;11:445-449.

    Effects of oral supplementation with FOS and GOS prebiotics in women with adult acne: the “S.O. Sweet” study: a proof-of-concept pilot trial.

    Background: We evaluated the effects of 3-month prebiotic oral supplementation with fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) on glucose and lipid metabolic parameters in women with adult acne (female adult acne).

    Methods: Twelve women, mean age 35 years, with mild to moderate acne were enrolled. Exclusion criteria were severe acne, body mass index (BMI) >25, history of diabetes mellitus, polycystic ovary syndrome, regular intake of prebiotics or probiotics, and history of inflammatory intestinal diseases. At baseline visit (T0), at month 1 (T1), and at month 3 (T2) fasting glucose, blood insulin, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), C-peptide, triglycerides, total cholesterol levels, and BMI were measured. Subjects were treated with a food supplement containing FOS (100 mg) and GOS (500 mg), one sachet daily, for 3 months. Subjects were instructed to follow their regular diet, and no dietary restrictions were suggested.

    Results: At baseline, the BMI, mean ± SD, was 23±0.7. No modification of BMI was observed during the study. At baseline, fasting blood glucose levels were 92±7 mg/dL. A significant (P=0.02) reduction was observed at month 1 (86±5 mg/dL) and at month 3 (85±7 mg/dL) (-10%). Total cholesterol levels were reduced significantly (P=0.018) from 184±19 to 161±10 mg/dL (-13%) at the end of the study. Triglycerides at baseline were 51 mg/dL and were reduced to 46 mg/dL (P=0.05). Insulin and C-peptide plasma levels showed a nonsignificant reduction trend from baseline to the end of the study. In subjects with baseline insulin level >6 µUI/mL (n=6) the FOS/GOS supplementation induced a significant (P=0.03) reduction from 7.8 to 4.3 µUI/mL at day 90 (-45%). C-peptide was reduced from 2.1 to 1.6 ng/mL (month 3). HbA1c at baseline was 35 mg/dL and 32 mg/dL at the end of the study (NS).

    Conclusion: In adult female acne, supplementation with prebiotic FOS and GOS was associated with positive effects on glycemic and lipid metabolic parameters.

    Be well!


  34. JP Says:

    Updated 11/06/18:


    Gut Microbes. 2018 Nov 5:1-24.

    Inulin-type fructans improve active ulcerative colitis associated with microbiota changes and increased short-chain fatty acids levels.

    The intestinal microbiota is involved in ulcerative colitis (UC) pathogenesis. Prebiotics are hypothesized to improve health through alterations to gut microbiota composition and/or activity. Our aim was therefore to determine if inulin-type fructans induce clinical benefits in UC, and identify if benefits are linked to compositional and/or functional shifts of the luminal (fecal) and mucosal (biopsy) bacterial communities. Patients (n = 25) with mild/moderately active UC received 7.5 g (n = 12) or 15 g (n = 13) daily oral oligofructose-enriched inulin (Orafti®Synergy1) for 9 weeks. Total Mayo score, endoscopic activity and fecal calprotectin were assessed. Fecal and mucosal bacterial communities were characterized by 16S rRNA tag sequencing, and short chain fatty acids (SCFA) production were measured in fecal samples. Fructans significantly reduced colitis in the high-dose group, with 77% of patients showing a clinical response versus 33% in the low-dose group (P = 0.04). Fructans increased colonic butyrate production in the 15 g/d dose, and fecal butyrate levels were negatively correlated with Mayo score (r = -0.50; P = 0.036). The high fructan dose led to an increased Bifidobacteriaceae and Lachnospiraceae abundance but these shifts were not correlated with improved disease scores. In summary, this pilot study revealed that 15 g/d dose inulin type fructans in UC produced functional but not compositional shifts of the gut microbiota, suggesting that prebiotic-induced alterations of gut microbiota metabolism are more important than compositional changes for the benefits in UC. The findings warrant future well-powered controlled studies for the use of β-fructans as adjunct therapy in patients with active UC.

    Be well!


  35. JP Says:

    Updated 12/18/18:


    Nutr Res. 2018 Dec;60:33-42.

    In healthy adults, resistant maltodextrin produces a greater change in fecal bifidobacteria counts and increases stool wet weight: a double-blind, randomized, controlled crossover study.

    Dietary fiber stimulates the growth of potentially beneficial bacteria (eg, bifidobacteria), yet most Americans do not meet daily fiber recommendations. Resistant maltodextrin (RMD), a fermentable functional fiber, may help individuals meet total fiber recommendations and potentially increase bifidobacteria. It was hypothesized that fecal bifidobacteria counts/ng fecal DNA would increase after adding 25 g RMD to inadequate fiber diets of healthy adults. In this double-blind, controlled crossover study, 51 participants (26.3 ± 6.8 years, mean ± SD) were randomized to consume 0, 15, and 25 g RMD daily for 3 weeks followed by a 2-week washout. Participants collected all stools for 2 days at weeks 0 and 3 of each intervention for stool wet weight (WW) measurements and fecal bifidobacteria counts. Weekly 24-hour dietary recalls assessed total fiber intake. Only 25 g RMD resulted in a change (final minus baseline) in bifidobacteria that was significant compared with 0 g (0.17 ± 0.09 vs -0.17 ± 0.09 log10[counts], respectively, mean ± SEM, P = .008). Stool WW increased only with 25 g (150 ± 11 vs baseline 121±11 g/d; P = .011). Mean daily total fiber intake (including RMD) was significantly higher (both P< .001) with 15 g (17.8 ± 0.6 g/1000 kcal or 4184 kJ) and 25 g (25.3 ± 1.1 g/1000 kcal) compared with 0 g RMD (8.4±0.4 g/1000 kcal). Mean daily total fiber intakes exceeded recommendations (14 g/1000 kcal) with 15 and 25 g of RMD, and 25 g RMD increased fecal bifidobacteria counts and stool WW, suggesting health benefits from increasing total fiber intake. Be well! JP

  36. JP Says:

    Updated 02/01/19:


    MBio. 2019 Jan 29;10(1).

    Dynamics of Human Gut Microbiota and Short-Chain Fatty Acids in Response to Dietary Interventions with Three Fermentable Fibers.

    Production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), especially butyrate, in the gut microbiome is required for optimal health but is frequently limited by the lack of fermentable fiber in the diet. We attempted to increase butyrate production by supplementing the diets of 174 healthy young adults for 2 weeks with resistant starch from potatoes (RPS), resistant starch from maize (RMS), inulin from chicory root, or an accessible corn starch control. RPS resulted in the greatest increase in total SCFAs, including butyrate. Although the majority of microbiomes responded to RPS with increases in the relative abundance of bifidobacteria, those that responded with an increase in Ruminococcus bromii or Clostridium chartatabidum were more likely to yield higher butyrate concentrations, especially when their microbiota were replete with populations of the butyrate-producing species Eubacterium rectale RMS and inulin induced different changes in fecal communities, but they did not generate significant increases in fecal butyrate levels.IMPORTANCE These results reveal that not all fermentable fibers are equally capable of stimulating SCFA production, and they highlight the importance of the composition of an individual’s microbiota in determining whether or not they respond to a specific dietary supplement. In particular, R. bromii or C. chartatabidum may be required for enhanced butyrate production in response to RS. Bifidobacteria, though proficient at degrading RS and inulin, may not contribute to the butyrogenic effect of those fermentable fibers in the short term.

    Be well!


  37. JP Says:

    Updated 03/07/19:


    Bone. 2019 Mar 3.

    Daily oligofructose-enriched inulin intake impacts bone turnover markers but not the cytokine profile in pediatric patients with celiac disease on a gluten-free diet: Results of a randomised, placebo-controlled pilot study.

    BACKGROUND: Bone metabolism disturbances are commonly observed in patients with newly diagnosed celiac disease (CD). The only available treatment for CD-the intake of a gluten-free diet (GFD)-has been found to be insufficient in effectively improving bone health in some patients. Therefore, there is an urgent need to modify the GFD so as to allow for the provision of all the necessary nutrients and improved absorption. Prebiotics intake reportedly improves the absorption of bone-related vitamin D and calcium as well as bone metabolism. The effect of prebiotic intake on bone health in CD patients has not been studied yet. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of oligofructose-enriched inulin intake on bone metabolism and immune response in children with CD on a GFD.

    METHODS: A total of 34 children with CD were randomised into two groups receiving 10 g of oligofructose-enriched inulin (Synergy 1) or a placebo (maltodextrin) for three months, together with a strict GFD. The children’s bone metabolism marker levels and cytokine profiles were analysed before and after the intervention.

    RESULTS: After supplementation, the concentration of osteocalcin increased significantly in children receiving Synergy 1, while the concentration of bone alkaline phosphatase increased in both groups, independent of supplementation. After the intervention, the level of pyridinoline increased significantly in the placebo group, resulting in a concentration that was two times higher than that in the Synergy 1 group, in which it remained stable. Moreover, the plasma concentrations of N-terminal telopeptides of type I collagen decreased in both the groups, whereas the tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase 5b level increased particularly in the Synergy 1 group. The intervention did not lead to immunological response changes.

    CONCLUSIONS: The proposed supplementation beneficially altered bone metabolism, through increased bone formation rates and decreased bone resorption process rates. Supplementation of GFD with prebiotic oligofructose-enriched inulin may be a promising auxiliary therapy for bone metabolism improvements in children with CD.

    Be well!


  38. JP Says:

    Updated 03/09/19:


    Nutrition Journal201918:14

    Dietary raisin intake has limited effect on gut microbiota composition in adult volunteers

    Background: Dried fruits, such as raisins, contain phytochemicals and dietary fibers that contribute to maintaining health, potentially at least partially through modification in gut microbiota composition and activities. However, the effects of raisin consumption on gut microbiota have not previously been thoroughly investigated in humans. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine how adding three servings of sun dried raisin/day to the diet of healthy volunteers affects gut microbiota composition.

    Methods: A 14-day exploratory feeding study was conducted with thirteen healthy individuals between the ages of 18 and 59 years. Participants consumed three servings (28.3 g each) of sun dried raisins daily. Fecal samples were collected prior to raisin consumption (baseline) and after the addition of raisins to the diet (on days 7 and 14). To determine the effects of raisin intake, fecal microbiota composition before and after raisin consumption was characterized for each participant by 16S rRNA gene sequencing.

    Results: Overall microbiota diversity was not significantly affected by adding raisins to the diet. However, upon addition of raisins to the diet specific OTUs matching Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Bacteroidetes sp. and Ruminococcus sp. increased in prevalence while OTUs closest to Klebsiella sp., Prevotella sp. and Bifidobacterium spp. decreased.

    Conclusion: Our findings suggest that adding raisins to the diet can affect the prevalence of specific bacterial taxa. Potential health benefits of the observed microbiota changes should be determined in future studies in populations for which specific health outcomes can be targeted.

    Be well!


  39. JP Says:

    Updated 07/21/19:


    Biomed Res Int. 2019 Jun 2;2019:4625279.

    Prebiotic Effect of Lycopene and Dark Chocolate on Gut Microbiome with Systemic Changes in Liver Metabolism, Skeletal Muscles and Skin in Moderately Obese Persons.

    Lycopene rich food and dark chocolate are among the best-documented products with a broad health benefit. This study explored the systemic effect of lycopene and dark chocolate (DC) on gut microbiota, blood, liver metabolism, skeletal muscle tissue oxygenation and skin. 30 volunteers were recruited for this trial, 15 women and 15 men with a mean age of 55 ± 5.7 years and with moderate obesity, 30 < BMI < 35 kg/m2. They were randomized and divided into five equal interventional groups: three received different formulations of lycopene, one of them with a 7 mg daily dose and two with 30 mg; another group was given 10 g of DC with 7 mg lycopene embedded into its matrix, and the last group received 10 g DC. The trial was double-blinded for the three lycopene groups and separately for the 2 DC groups; the trial lasted for 1 month. By the end of the trial there were dose-dependent changes in the gut microbiota profile in all three lycopene groups with an increase of relative abundance of, e.g., Bifidobacterium adolescentis and Bifidobacterium longum. This was also accompanied by dose-dependent changes in the blood, liver metabolism, skeletal muscle and skin parameters. Consumption of DC resulted in increased relative abundance of, e.g., Lactobacillus and a reduction of corneocyte exfoliation. This is the first study which reports the prebiotic potential of lycopene and DC. Be well! JP

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