What’s the Latest in Prebiotic Research? – February 2024 Edition

Daily consumption of galactooligosaccharide gummies ameliorates constipation symptoms, gut dysbiosis, degree of depression and quality of life among sedentary university teaching staff: A double-blind randomized placebo control clinical trial

Functional constipation (FC) is a clinical gastrointestinal condition that affects different age groups, leading to gut dysbiosis, exacerbated depression status, and negatively affected quality of life (QOL). Prebiotics are functional dietary components that may be used in FC management by substituting FC medications in helping to restore microbial imbalance. This randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial assessed the impact of galactooligosaccharide (GOS) gummy supplements on gut health, depression status, and QOL of sedentary constipated adults. Thirty-five subjects randomly received one of the following two treatments: either gummies with 10 g GOS or 10 g sugar (placebo) for 30 days. The relative abundance of fecal gut microbes, including Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, Clostridium, and Bacteroides, in addition to phyla Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes using real-time polymerase chain reaction and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) were analyzed pre- and post-supplementation. Constipation profile, depression status, and QOL were also assessed. GOS gummy supplementation showed an increase of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus by 1230% and 322%, respectively, and a reduction of Clostridium, Firmicutes, and Bacteroidetes by 63%, 73%, and 85%, respectively. The GOS-supplemented group demonstrated improved gut health, constipation severity, reduced dysbiosis, and enhanced acetic acid and butyric acid levels. Post-supplementation results showed a 40% reduction in depression and 22% improvement in QOL. Altogether, this study validated the beneficial effects of short-term supplementation with GOS on constipation profiles, gut dysbiosis, depression status, and QOL in constipated adults.

Key takeaways:

  • FC affects various population groups and their QOL by negatively contributing to microbiome dysbiosis and depression status.
  • Prebiotics may be used as substitutes for traditional FC medications as they help improve microbial imbalance.
  • This study demonstrated that the supplementation of 10 g of GOS for 30 days may improve gut dysbiosis, constipation profile, depression status, and QOL in FC patients.

Access to the study: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37751049/

Reference: Dey, K., Sheth, M., Anand, S., Archana, G., & Raval, S. (2023). Daily consumption of galactooligosaccharide gummies ameliorates constipation symptoms, gut dysbiosis, degree of depression and quality of life among sedentary university teaching staff: A double-blind randomized placebo control clinical trial. Indian journal of gastroenterology : official journal of the Indian Society of Gastroenterology, 42(6), 839–848. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12664-023-01435-8

Identification of inulin-responsive bacteria in the gut microbiota via multi-modal activity-based sorting

Inulin is one of the most popular prebiotics in the food and supplement industries. It is a non-structural plant polysaccharide, naturally and abundantly found in bananas, onions, leeks, garlic, chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke, wheat, barley, and rye. This study systemically evaluated inulin’s capability to promote the growth of beneficial gut microorganisms. This was done by identifying the inulin-binding microbes using mesoporous silica nanoparticles functionalized with inulin, which provided highly selective nanoprobes. To assess the microbial taxa that interact or get stimulated by inulin or its metabolites, numerous techniques were used, including ex vivo gut microbiota incubation and a multi-modal sorting approach, which employs 16S gene amplicon sequencing and targeted isolation of microbial strains. Findings were then validated with physiological experiments, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and whole genome sequencing and analysis. 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing of sorted cells revealed the widespread ability to bind inulin by the gut microbiota. Diverse taxa were found to be metabolically stimulated by inulin, including taxa from the phyla Firmicutes and Actinobacteria, while several isolates of these taxa were found to degrade inulin. The effect of inulin incubation differed from the effect of another prebiotic, xylooligosaccharides (XOS), which showed a more robust bifidogenic effect. Furthermore, inulin degradation was also found to indirectly simulate Coriobacteriia Eggerthella lenta and Gordonibacter urolithinfaciens. Therefore, these findings demonstrate inulin’s properties as a broadly stimulating microbial nutritional substrate.

Key takeaways:

  • While prebiotics are known to promote the growth of beneficial gut microorganisms, this capability is not systemically evaluated.
  • This study generated highly selective nanoprobes and identified inulin-binding taxa within the phyla Firmicutes and Actinobacteria and several isolates of these taxa as inulin-degraders. Inulin degradation also showed indirect stimulating effects on Coriobacteriia Eggerthella lenta and Gordonibacter urolithinfaciens.
  • These results demonstrate the extensive stimulating properties of inulin towards the gut microbiota.

Access to the study: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38097563/

Reference: Riva, A., Rasoulimehrabani, H., Cruz-Rubio, J. M., Schnorr, S. L., von Baeckmann, C., Inan, D., Nikolov, G., Herbold, C. W., Hausmann, B., Pjevac, P., Schintlmeister, A., Spittler, A., Palatinszky, M., Kadunic, A., Hieger, N., Del Favero, G., von Bergen, M., Jehmlich, N., Watzka, M., Lee, K. S., … Berry, D. (2023). Identification of inulin-responsive bacteria in the gut microbiota via multi-modal activity-based sorting. Nature communications, 14(1), 8210. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-43448-z

Effects of prebiotic yeast mannan on gut health and sleep quality in healthy adults: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study

Having a nocturnal lifestyle has caused an increasing number of people to suffer from sleep problems. Data from animal studies point towards an interaction between gut microbiota and sleep quality, indicating that healthy gut microbiota and metabolite composition may in fact be crucial contributors to host health and homeostasis. Yeast mannan (YM) is a soluble, indigestible carbohydrate from yeast cell walls and consists of highly branched mannose polymers. YM can be utilized by specific gastrointestinal bacteria, manipulating their abundance. This randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled parallel study assessed the effects of YM administration on bowel habits and sleep quality in combination with fecal metabolomics. Forty healthy Japanese adults (aged 22-64 years) experiencing discomfort in defecation were randomized to receive either 1.1 g/day YM tablets (0.62 g mannan) or the maltose placebo for four weeks. Fecal sampling and sleep electroencephalogram (EEG) recording using an EEG device were performed pre- and post-treatment, while participants recorded their defecation habits throughout the test periods. The YM group experienced significantly increased defecation frequency and stool volumes compared to the placebo group. The YM group also experienced a significantly longer total time in bed and higher non-rapid-eye-movement sleep stage 3 (N3; deep sleep stage) duration but a significantly shortened N3 latency compared to the placebo. The metabolomics analysis revealed a total of 20 metabolites to be different between the YM and the placebo groups. These findings suggest that prebiotic YM supplementation may beneficially contribute to gut health and sleep quality.

Key takeaways:

  • Sleep disturbances may be affected by the gut microbial composition and dietary components altering this microbial environment.
  • YM, a soluble, indigestible carbohydrate originating from yeast cell walls may be used to improve bowel habits and sleep quality.
  • The study found that YM intake significantly increased defecation frequency and stool volumes and improved sleep quality by lengthening total time in bed and N3 duration.
  • Future studies are warranted to explore the specific mechanisms by which YM affects gut health and sleep quality.

Access the study: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38201970/

Reference: Tanihiro, R., Yuki, M., Sasai, M., Haseda, A., Kagami-Katsuyama, H., Hirota, T., Honma, N., & Nishihira, J. (2023). Effects of Prebiotic Yeast Mannan on Gut Health and Sleep Quality in Healthy Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Nutrients, 16(1), 141. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16010141

Prebiotics and sepsis in infants: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis

Sepsis in infancy is a critical condition, specifically affecting those with lower birth weight, gestational age, asphyxia, and have received antibiotics, leading to warm shock physiology accompanied by vasodilation, and increasing mortality rate. With limited therapeutic options for treating sepsis in infants, prebiotics may be utilized to promote beneficial bacterial growth, enhance immune-stimulatory processes, and increase the expression of immunomodulatory functions. This systemic review and meta-analysis aimed to provide an updated review of the randomized controlled trials (RCT) on the use of prebiotics in sepsis in infants. Five databases, including ScienceDirect, PubMed, Web of Science, Embase, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, were searched for relevant RCTs published before October 2022. Sixty RCTs with 6,438 infants were included. The primary outcome was the odds ratio (OR) of sepsis in infants who received prebiotics. The results showed a significantly lower pooled OR for sepsis in infants who received prebiotics despite an indicated medium level of heterogeneity. Overall, administering prebiotics in infancy may be associated with sepsis reduction in infants. Future clinical research may investigate the standardized application of this treatment.

Key takeaways:

  • Sepsis is a critical condition with limited therapeutic options.
  • Prebiotics may decrease the colonization of pathogens in infancy, consequently decreasing the risk of sepsis and mortality in this demographic.
  • This meta-analysis suggests that prebiotics may be associated with sepsis-rates-reduction in infants.

Access the study: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38180329/

Reference: Qin, Y., & Pan, L. (2024). Prebiotics and sepsis in infants: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Advances in clinical and experimental medicine: official organ Wroclaw Medical University, 10.17219/acem/174307. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.17219/acem/174307