The Many Functions of Prebiotics

Prebiotics for Digestion
Consumer interest in ingredients such as probiotics and fiber have grown as people look for ways to alleviate symptoms of digestive health problems. Dealing with digestive and gastrointestinal disorders can be painful and uncomfortable; due to this, consumers seek to ease their symptoms with natural ingredients, contributing to market growth for digestive health. “Consumers’ interest in products for digestive health has grown fast in recent years and this growth is likely to continue,” Cosimo Palumbo, sales area manager in North America for Indena S.p.A. explained.

Jon Peters, president of BENEO Inc. added, “consumer research shows that digestive health is an ongoing trend in the United States, with 61 percent of U.S. consumers concerned about maintaining digestive health and 43 percent looking for products to actively improve digestive health.” Peters explained the HealthFocus International 2015 found claims such as “natural keeps your digestive system healthy,” and “supports your body to maintain its normal digestive processes in a natural way,” are popular among consumers. (1)

Prebiotics Improve Diabetic Symptoms
MYSORE, IndiaResearchers at the Central Food Technological Research Institute found xylo-oligosaccharides (XOS) from alkali-pretreated corncob and fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) from cane sugar have an  ameliorating influence on metabolic abnormalities associated with diabetes, besides conferring an optimal milieu of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, further suggesting their potential health benefit in diabetics (Br J Clin Nutr. 2010).

The oligosaccharides were supplemented at 10 percent (w/w) in the basal diet of streptozotocin-induced diabetic Wistar rats, while the control rats were fed with a basal diet for six weeks. Both the oligosaccharides exerted favorable influences in diabetic rats by significantly improving body weight, and reducing hyperglycaemia and cholesterol. The characteristic diabetic complications such as severe glucosuria, proteinuria and advanced glycation end products in renal tissue, diabetic nephropathy, and blood creatinine and urea concentrations were notably reduced. The oligosaccharide supplementations also significantly increased the activity of antioxidant enzymescatalase and glutathione reductasein the blood of diabetic rats. Supplementation of XOS and FOS resulted in a significant increase in the bifidobacteria and lactobacilli population in the caecum.

Prebiotics Enhance Calcium Absorption
In Houston, Prebiotics may enhance calcium absorption and bone mineral accretion, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, (82, 2:471-76, 2005).

Researchers administered 8 g/d mixed short- and long-chain inulintyped fructans (fructan group) or placebo to pubertal adolescents for one year. Bone mineral content was measured at baseline and at the end of the trial, and calcium absorption was assessed at baseline, eight weeks and one year after supplementation. Compared to the control group, calcium absorption was significantly greater in the fructan group at eight weeks and at one year, and whole-body bone mineral content and bone mineral density was greater in the fructan group at one year.

The researchers concluded daily intake of a combination of prebiotic short- and long-chain inulin-type fructans significantly increases calcium absorption and enhances bone mineralization during pubertal growth.

Prebiotics Improve Magnesium Absorption
ZEIST, The NetherlandsAccording to a new study conducted by TNO Quality of Life and Cargill, consumption of short-chain fructooligosaccharides (sc-FOS) for 36 days stimulated magnesium absorption in girls, but did not affect calcium absorption (Nutr Res. 2009;29(4):229-37). For 36 days, 14 girls aged between 12 and 14 years received 10 g of sc-FOS or maltodextrin (placebo). Sc-FOS were taken daily for eight days followed by an intermittent intake mode on 28 random days to mimic noncontinuous intake. In a crossover design, true calcium and magnesium absorption was computed on the eight and 36th day of each treatment period from isotope enrichment in urine. Sc-FOS increased magnesium absorption by 18 percent after 36 days. Magnesium absorption did not change after the initial eight days of long-term sc-FOS intake. Sc-FOS did not affect calcium absorption. In addition, sc-FOS did not affect vitamin D, parathyroid hormone or markers of bone resorption.

Resources:
(1) Courtney Johnson | Jun 13, 2017 https://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/digestive-health/prebiotics-digestion
(2) https://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/digestive-health/prebioticsimprove-diabetic-symptoms Mar 10, 2010
(3) https://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/specialty-nutrients/prebiotics-enhance-calcium-absorption, Sept 12, 2005
(4) https://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/heart-health/prebioticsimprove-magnesium-absorption May 26, 2009

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