What’s the latest in prebiotic research? March Edition

This monthly feature provides an overview of some of the latest studies on prebiotics. We’ll share key findings and insights from the studies. Have a study you’d like us to cover? Email GPA Communications Director Traci Kantowski traci@prebioticassociation.org.

Engineered Probiotic and Prebiotic Nutraceutical Supplementations in Combating Non-communicable Disorders: A Review

This recent review discusses the research related to prebiotics and probiotic supplementation relative to neurological disorders (Autism Spectrum Disorder [ASD], Parkinson’s disease [PD], Multiple sclerosis [MS]) and metabolic disorders (Type-II diabetes, obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease).

Key takeaways: The focus is on the modulation of inflammatory and apoptotic mechanisms by prebiotic and probiotic supplementation. They also provide an introduction of the genome-editing techniques and advanced delivery systems for these diseases.

Access the study: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33050862/

Kerry RG, Das G, Golla U, Del Pilar Rodriguez-Torres M, Shin HS, Patra JK. Engineered Probiotic and Prebiotic Nutraceutical Supplementations in Combating Non-communicable Disorders: A Review. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2022;23(1):72-97. doi: 10.2174/1389201021666201013153142. PMID: 33050862.

Consumer’s acceptability and health consciousness of probiotic and prebiotic of non-dairy products

In this recent review article the authors describe gut-derived effects in humans of possible microorganisms, such as yeasts, and bacteria, isolated from non-dairy fermented and non-fermented foods and beverages.

Key takeaways: This is a very thorough review of probiotics and prebiotics sources and benefits with great graphics. The authors describe different food sources of both. They indicate that prebiotics can be found in different food sources, such as roots, tubers, and grain crops and the prebiotic content in some of these foods can reach up to 20%. They highlight that the most important groups of prebiotics with beneficial effects on human health are non-digestible oligosaccharides fructans and galactans which are preferentially metabolized by bifidobacterial. They mention that consumer awareness of the benefits of prebiotics is expanding and consumers are including them in their daily diet.

Access the study: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0963996921007420

Cosme F, Inês A, Vilela A. Consumer’s acceptability and health consciousness of probiotic and prebiotic of non-dairy products. Food Res Int. 2022 Jan;151:110842. doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2021.110842. Epub 2021 Dec 3. PMID: 34980381.

Prebiotic mannooligosaccharides: Synthesis, characterization and bioactive properties

A review article titled “Prebiotic mannooligosaccharides: Synthesis, characterization and bioactive properties,” discusses recent developments and future goals for research of the enzymatic synthesis of mannooligosaccharides (MOS)  from a variety of mannans, their structural characteristics and their health benefits. Mannans occur as homo- (linear mannan) or hetero-polymers (galactomannan, glucomannan and galactoglucomannan) in a variety of plants as either storage or structural components. Mannans consist of repeating mannose moieties linked with β-1, 4-glycosidic bonds. Galactomannan is found in the endosperm of different plant sources such as coconut (Cocos nucifera), guar gum (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba) and tara gum (Caesalpinia spinosa) while glucomannan occurs in the tubers of konjac (Amorphophallus konjac) and some orchid species (Himantoglossum caprinum). MOS are used for prebiotics in the poultry industry but research suggests that they may provide antioxidant and anti-cancer benefits. Currently, most MOS is derived from yeast but other sources and methods are being explored. The health benefits of MOS include modulation of gut microflora via enrichment of probiotic populations, prevention of colorectal cancer, immunomodulation especially relevant to inflammatory bowel disease as well as several antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cryoprotectant, anti-stress and anti-diabetic properties.

Key takeaway: The authors conclude “In the light of earlier studies on MOS, it can be concluded that these have numerous applications and advantages in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical sectors which must be explored further for human and animal health benefits.”

Access the study: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0308814620321907?via%3Dihub

Jana UK, Suryawanshi RK, Prajapati BP, Kango N. Prebiotic mannooligosaccharides: Synthesis, characterization and bioactive properties. Food Chem. 2021 Apr 16;342:128328. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2020.128328. Epub 2020 Nov 28. PMID: 33257024.

Prebiotic and probiotic supplementation and the tryptophan-kynurenine pathway: A systematic review and meta analysis

A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted to synthesize the results from studies investigating the effects of prebiotics and probiotics on kynurenine pathway metabolism. The kynurenine pathway (KYN) which is the primary pathway used to degrade tryptophan. Tryptophan (T) is an essential amino acid required for cellular energy, mood and sleep regulation. Dysregulation of the pathway is implicated in several inflammatory disorders, such as psychiatric (depression and schizophrenia), neurologic (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis [MS] and autism spectrum disorder [ASD]), autoimmune (rheumatoid arthritis and allergy) and cardiovascular diseases, as well as cardiovascular mortality. It has been established that the gut microbiota is potentially a key regulator of the pathway thus suggesting a role for prebiotics in mood and anxiety related issues. A total of 13 studies were included in the review. The total number of participants from the included studies was 690, with study sample sizes ranging from 8 to 124 participants (Table 1). Ten studies were randomized controlled trials and three studies were open label, single arm trials (all probiotic interventions). All studies were conducted in adults, with four studies including healthy individuals, three in people with diagnosed human immunodeficiency virus [HIV], two in people with a diagnosis of depression, and one study each in people with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s dementia, moderate to severe atopic dermatitis, moderate levels of perceived stress, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Of the two studies with a prebiotic intervention arm, one used a daily dose of 10 g of water soluble resistant dextrin and the other, 5 g of orally dispersible galactooligosaccharide. Of the 2 prebiotic studies included in the review only one reported significant results Farhangi et al (2018) reported that prebiotic supplementation decreased KYN metabolite concentration in the intervention group when compared with baseline (p < 0.05) and decreased the K:T ratio both within the intervention group and between the intervention and placebo groups (p < 0.05). Probiotic supplementation showed favorable results in the meta-analysis.

Key takeaway: Given the supportive relationship between prebiotics and probiotics, there is suggestive evidence that prebiotics may also play a beneficial role in the KYN pathway but more research is warranted.

Access the study: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33482244/

Purton T, Staskova L, Lane MM, Dawson SL, West M, Firth J, Clarke G, Cryan JF, Berk M, O’Neil A, Dean O, Hadi A, Honan C, Marx W. Prebiotic and probiotic supplementation and the tryptophan-kynurenine pathway: A systematic review and meta analysis. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2021 Apr;123:1-13. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2020.12.026. Epub 2021 Jan 19. PMID: 33482244.

This list was curated by Susan Hewlings, Ph.D., R.D., Director of Scientific Affairs Nutrasource/GRAS Associates