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Concept: Prebiotic


There is now compelling evidence for a link between enteric microbiota and brain function. The ingestion of probiotics modulates the processing of information that is strongly linked to anxiety and depression, and influences the neuroendocrine stress response. We have recently demonstrated that prebiotics (soluble fibres that augment the growth of indigenous microbiota) have significant neurobiological effects in rats, but their action in humans has not been reported.

Concepts: Anxiety, Psychology, Hypothalamus, Digestive system, Probiotic, Emotion, Dietary fiber, Prebiotic


The gut microbiota is interlinked with obesity, but direct evidence of effects of its modulation on body fat mass is still scarce. We investigated the possible effects of Bifidobacterium animalisssp. lactis 420 (B420) and the dietary fiber LitesseĀ® Ultra polydextrose (LU) on body fat mass and other obesity-related parameters.

Concepts: Cancer, Gut flora, Nutrition, Obesity, Overweight, Adipose tissue, Dieting, Prebiotic


The health benefits of dietary fiber have long been appreciated. Higher intakes of dietary fiber are linked to less cardiovascular disease and fiber plays a role in gut health, with many effective laxatives actually isolated fiber sources. Higher intakes of fiber are linked to lower body weights. Only polysaccharides were included in dietary fiber originally, but more recent definitions have included oligosaccharides as dietary fiber, not based on their chemical measurement as dietary fiber by the accepted total dietary fiber (TDF) method, but on their physiological effects. Inulin, fructo-oligosaccharides, and other oligosaccharides are included as fiber in food labels in the US. Additionally, oligosaccharides are the best known “prebiotics”, “a selectively fermented ingredient that allows specific changes, both in the composition and/or activity in the gastrointestinal microflora that confers benefits upon host well-bring and health.” To date, all known and suspected prebiotics are carbohydrate compounds, primarily oligosaccharides, known to resist digestion in the human small intestine and reach the colon where they are fermented by the gut microflora. Studies have provided evidence that inulin and oligofructose (OF), lactulose, and resistant starch (RS) meet all aspects of the definition, including the stimulation of Bifidobacterium, a beneficial bacterial genus. Other isolated carbohydrates and carbohydrate-containing foods, including galactooligosaccharides (GOS), transgalactooligosaccharides (TOS), polydextrose, wheat dextrin, acacia gum, psyllium, banana, whole grain wheat, and whole grain corn also have prebiotic effects.

Concepts: Gut flora, Nutrition, Starch, Carbohydrate, Dietary fiber, Whole grain, Fructooligosaccharide, Prebiotic


Psychobiotics were previously defined as live bacteria (probiotics) which, when ingested, confer mental health benefits through interactions with commensal gut bacteria. We expand this definition to encompass prebiotics, which enhance the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. We review probiotic and prebiotic effects on emotional, cognitive, systemic, and neural variables relevant to health and disease. We discuss gut-brain signalling mechanisms enabling psychobiotic effects, such as metabolite production. Overall, knowledge of how the microbiome responds to exogenous influence remains limited. We tabulate several important research questions and issues, exploration of which will generate both mechanistic insights and facilitate future psychobiotic development. We suggest the definition of psychobiotics be expanded beyond probiotics and prebiotics to include other means of influencing the microbiome.

Concepts: Psychology, Gut flora, Digestive system, Escherichia coli, Probiotic, Lactobacillus, Bacteriology, Prebiotic


This article reviews the current knowledge of the health effects of dietary fiber and prebiotics and establishes the position of prebiotics within the broader context of dietary fiber. Although the positive health effects of specific fibers on defecation, reduction of postprandial glycemic response, and maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels are generally accepted, other presumed health benefits of dietary fibers are still debated. There is evidence that specific dietary fibers improve the integrity of the epithelial layer of the intestines, increase the resistance against pathogenic colonization, reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer, increase mineral absorption, and have a positive impact on the immune system, but these effects are neither generally acknowledged nor completely understood. Many of the latter effects are thought to be particularly elicited by prebiotics. Although the prebiotic concept evolved significantly during the past two decades, the line between prebiotics and nonprebiotic dietary fiber remains vague. Nevertheless, scientific evidence demonstrating the health-promoting potential of prebiotics continues to accumulate and suggests that prebiotic fibers have their rightful place in a healthy diet. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Food Science and Technology Volume 7 is February 28, 2016. Please see for revised estimates.

Concepts: Immune system, Nutrition, Ulcerative colitis, Colon, Constipation, Dietary fiber, Defecation, Prebiotic


Microbiome-directed therapies are increasingly used preoperatively and postoperatively to improve postoperative outcomes. Recently, the effectiveness of probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics in reducing postoperative complications (POCs) has been questioned. This systematic review aimed to examine and rank the effectiveness of these therapies on POCs in adult surgical patients.

Concepts: Medicine, Probiotic, Prebiotic


The aim of this study was to evaluate the assimilation of the prebiotics fructooligosaccharides (FOS), galactooligosaccharides (GOS), and Konjac glucomannan oligosaccharides (KGMO) by three human (H1, H2 and H3) and pig (P1, P2 and P3) faecal microbiotas in the presence of the potentially probiotic strain Lactobacillus amylovorus DSM 16698, using an in vitro batch fermentation model. Total bacteria and L. amylovorus populations were quantified using qPCR and biochemical features (pH, production of short chain fatty acids (SCFA), lactate, ammonia, and carbohydrate assimilation) were determined. L. amylovorus did not have a competitive advantage under in vitro conditions, reflected by its reduced relative abundance during fermentation despite the carbohydrate sources added. Pig microbiota sustained more stable probiotic counts. Intermittently produced lactate was possibly assimilated by the microbiota and converted to other SCFA as the carbohydrates were assimilated, with H3 probably having a methanogenic metabolism with high lactate and acetate consumption except in the presence of FOS, which assimilation resulted in the highest total SCFA for this volunteer. Addition of FOS also resulted in lower pH and ammonia, which might have been used as nitrogen source by pig microbiota. KGMO needed longer fermentation periods to be completely assimilated by both human and porcine faecal microbiotas. Overall, our results reinforce the notion that care must be taken when generalising the effects claimed for a given probiotic or potentially probiotic strain, including the combination with different prebiotic substrates, since they may vary considerably among individuals, which is important when studying potentially pro- and prebiotic combinations for application as functional foods and feed ingredients.

Concepts: Bacteria, Gut flora, Metabolism, Nutrition, Carbohydrate, Probiotic, Fructooligosaccharide, Prebiotic


An expert panel was convened in October 2013 by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) to discuss the field of probiotics. It is now 13 years since the definition of probiotics and 12 years after guidelines were published for regulators, scientists and industry by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the WHO (FAO/WHO). The FAO/WHO definition of a probiotic-“live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host”-was reinforced as relevant and sufficiently accommodating for current and anticipated applications. However, inconsistencies between the FAO/WHO Expert Consultation Report and the FAO/WHO Guidelines were clarified to take into account advances in science and applications. A more precise use of the term ‘probiotic’ will be useful to guide clinicians and consumers in differentiating the diverse products on the market. This document represents the conclusions of the ISAPP consensus meeting on the appropriate use and scope of the term probiotic.

Concepts: Microbiology, Science, Antibiotic, Probiotic, United Nations, Prebiotic, Food and Agriculture Organization


In December 2016, a panel of experts in microbiology, nutrition and clinical research was convened by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics to review the definition and scope of prebiotics. Consistent with the original embodiment of prebiotics, but aware of the latest scientific and clinical developments, the panel updated the definition of a prebiotic: a substrate that is selectively utilized by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit. This definition expands the concept of prebiotics to possibly include non-carbohydrate substances, applications to body sites other than the gastrointestinal tract, and diverse categories other than food. The requirement for selective microbiota-mediated mechanisms was retained. Beneficial health effects must be documented for a substance to be considered a prebiotic. The consensus definition applies also to prebiotics for use by animals, in which microbiota-focused strategies to maintain health and prevent disease is as relevant as for humans. Ultimately, the goal of this Consensus Statement is to engender appropriate use of the term ‘prebiotic’ by relevant stakeholders so that consistency and clarity can be achieved in research reports, product marketing and regulatory oversight of the category. To this end, we have reviewed several aspects of prebiotic science including its development, health benefits and legislation.

Concepts: Medicine, Clinical trial, Human, Nutrition, Microbiology, Digestive system, Probiotic, Prebiotic


Chronic high-fat diet (HFD) consumption caused not only obese-insulin resistance, but also cognitive decline and microglial hyperactivity. Modified gut microbiota by prebiotics and probiotics improved obese-insulin resistance. However, the effects of prebiotics, probiotics, and synbiotics on cognition and microglial activity in an obese-insulin resistant condition have not yet been investigated. We aimed to evaluate the effect of prebiotic (Xyloolidosaccharide), probiotic (Lactobacillus paracasei HII01), or synbiotics in male obese-insulin resistant rats induced by a HFD.

Concepts: Gut flora, Escherichia coli, Cognition, Probiotic, Lactobacillus, Prebiotic