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Life Extension Magazine December 2009


Feeding a diet containing a fructooligosaccharide mix can enhance Salmonella vaccine efficacy in mice.

Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are considered prebiotics because of their ability to promote growth of specific beneficial gut bacteria, such as bifidobacteria. Some studies reported potential immune-modulating properties. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of FOS:inulin mix on murine response to Salmonella vaccine and evaluate the relevance toward protection against Salmonella infection. Balb/c mice were fed a diet containing 5% FOS:inulin mix or a control diet 1 wk before oral immunization with a suboptimal dose of live attenuated Salmonella typhimurium vaccine. Four weeks after vaccination, mice were infected with LD100 of virulent S. typhimurium. Specific blood Salmonella immunoglobulin G and fecal immunoglobulin A significantly increased in mice fed the diet containing prebiotics compared with control mice 4 wk postimmunization. Peritoneal macrophage phagocytic activity also significantly increased in FOS:inulin-fed mice at 1 wk postimmunization compared with control mice. No detectable effects were observed on the percentage of lymphoid cell subsets in the spleen. However, production of cytokines, interferon-gamma, interleukin-12, and tumor necrosis factor alpha, was numerically increased in spleen cell cultures stimulated with mitogens from FOS:inulin-fed mice 1 and 4 wk postimmunization. Salmonella translocation to lymphoid organs was not affected by feeding FOS:inulin. However, the improved response to Salmonella vaccine was concomitant with an increase in the survival rate of FOS:inulin-fed mice upon challenge with virulent Salmonella. No detectable effects were observed on the composition or the metabolic activity of the microbiota. Overall, the data suggest that a diet supplemented with FOS:inulin mix stimulates mucosal immunity and seems to improve efficacy of an oral vaccine.

J Nutr. 2008 Jan;138(1):123-9

Probiotics and prebiotic galacto-oligosaccharides in the prevention of allergic diseases: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

BACKGROUND: The increase in allergic diseases is attributed to a relative lack of microbial stimulation of the infantile gut immune system. Probiotics, live health-promoting microbes, might offer such stimulation. OBJECTIVE: We studied the effect of a mixture of 4 probiotic bacterial strains along with prebiotic galacto-oligosaccharides in preventing allergic diseases. METHODS: We randomized 1,223 pregnant women carrying high-risk children to use a probiotic preparation or a placebo for 2 to 4 weeks before delivery. Their infants received the same probiotics plus galacto-oligosaccharides (n = 461) or a placebo (n = 464) for 6 months. At 2 years, we evaluated the cumulative incidence of allergic diseases (food allergy, eczema, asthma, and allergic rhinitis) and IgE sensitization (positive skin prick test response or serum antigen-specific IgE level >0.7 kU/L). Fecal bacteria were analyzed during treatment and at age 2 years. RESULTS: Probiotic treatment compared with placebo showed no effect on the cumulative incidence of allergic diseases but tended to reduce IgE-associated (atopic) diseases (odds ratio [OR], 0.71; 95% CI, 0.50-1.00; P = .052). Probiotic treatment reduced eczema (OR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.55-0.98; P = .035) and atopic eczema (OR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.46-0.95; P = .025). Lactobacilli and bifidobacteria more frequently (P < .001) colonized the guts of supplemented infants. CONCLUSION: Probiotic treatment showed no effect on the incidence of all allergic diseases by age 2 years but significantly prevented eczema and especially atopic eczema. The results suggest an inverse association between atopic diseases and colonization of the gut by probiotics. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: The prevention of atopic eczema in high-risk infants is possible by modulating the infant’s gut microbiota with probiotics and prebiotics.

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007 Jan;119(1):192-8

Dietary modulation of the human colonic microbiota: introducing the concept of prebiotics.

Because the human gut microbiota can play a major role in host health, there is currently some interest in the manipulation of the composition of the gut flora towards a potentially more remedial community. Attempts have been made to increase bacterial groups such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus that are perceived as exerting health-promoting properties. Probiotics, defined as microbial food supplements that beneficially affect the host by improving its intestinal microbial balance, have been used to change the composition of colonic microbiota. However, such changes may be transient, and the implantation of exogenous bacteria therefore becomes limited. In contrast, prebiotics are nondigestible food ingredients that beneficially affect the host by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of bacterial species already resident in the colon, and thus attempt to improve host health. Intake of prebiotics can significantly modulate the colonic microbiota by increasing the number of specific bacteria and thus changing the composition of the microbiota. Nondigestible oligosaccharides in general, and fructooligosaccharides in particular, are prebiotics. They have been shown to stimulate the growth of endogenous bifidobacteria, which, after a short feeding period, become predominant in human feces. Moreover, these prebiotics modulate lipid metabolism, most likely via fermentation products. By combining the rationale of pro- and prebiotics, the concept of synbiotics is proposed to characterize some colonic foods with interesting nutritional properties that make these compounds candidates for classification as health-enhancing functional food ingredients.

J Nutr. 1995 Jun;125(6):1401-12

Perspectives on the role of the human gut microbiota and its modulation by pro- and prebiotics.

One of the most topical areas of human nutrition is the role of the gut in health and disease. Specifically, this involves interactions between the resident microbiota and dietary ingredients that support their activities. Currently, it is accepted that the gut microflora contains pathogenic, benign and beneficial components. Some microbially induced disease states such as acute gastroenteritis and pseudomembranous colitis have a defined aetiological agent(s). Speculation on the role of microbiota components in disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, bowel cancer, neonatal necrotising enterocolitis and ulcerative colitis are less well defined, but many studies are convincing. It is evident that the gut microflora composition can be altered through diet. Because of their perceived health-promoting status, bifidobacteria and lactobacilli are the commonest targets. Probiotics involve the use of live micro-organisms in food; prebiotics are carbohydrates selectively metabolized by desirable moieties of the indigenous flora; synbiotics combine the two approaches. Dietary intervention of the human gut microbiota is feasible and has been proven as efficacious in volunteer trials. The health bonuses of such approaches offer the potential to manage many gut disorders prophylactically. However, it is imperative that the best methodologies available are applied to this area of nutritional sciences. This will undoubtedly involve a genomic application to the research and is already under way through molecular tracking of microbiota changes to diet in controlled human trials.

Nutr Res Rev. 2000 Dec;13(2):229-54

The effect of ageing with and without non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs on gastrointestinal microbiology and immunology.

Elderly individuals are more susceptible to gastrointestinal problems such as constipation than young adults. Furthermore, the common use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) among the elderly is known to further increase such gastrointestinal ailments. To describe the specific changes in elderly, intestinal microbes, their metabolites and immune markers were measured from faecal samples obtained from fifty-five elderly individuals (aged 68-88 years), using either NSAID or not, and fourteen young adults (aged 21-39 years). The faecal DM content increased with age but was significantly lower among the elderly NSAID users. The microbial metabolism was especially influenced by NSAID use and/or ageing, although fewer changes were observed in the composition of the microbial community, whilst the level of aerobes was increased in the elderly and the level of Clostridium coccoides-Eubacterium rectale reduced in the elderly NSAID users as compared with young adults. An increase in the concentrations of some branched SCFA and l-lactate but a decrease in some major SCFA concentrations were observed. Evidently, the decreased defecation frequency in the elderly directed colonic fermentation toward an unfavourable microbial metabolism but this was partially offset by the use of NSAID. Irrespective of the use of NSAID, the elderly subjects had significantly lower concentrations of faecal PGE2 than the young adults, reflecting possibly a reduced immune response. According to the present study more attention should be paid to the development of dietary products that seek to enhance bowel function, saccharolytic fermentation and immune stimulation in the elderly population.

Br J Nutr. 2008 Jul;100(1):130-7

The inflammatory status of old age can be nurtured from the intestinal environment.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Recent studies suggest an association between inflammation status and the presence of chronic disease in the elderly. The review examines publications that address the low level of chronic inflammation and emphasizes how an altered host-microbiota interaction at the gut level could contribute to maintaining a low systemic inflammatory status in the elderly. RECENT FINDINGS: The first population cross-sectional studies with relevant numbers of healthy elderlies show age-related global changes in gut microbiota with a consistent increase in nonpathogenic Gram-negative mainly Enterobacteria and country-specific changes in bifidobacteria. Noninvasive methods have permitted us to detect subclinical intestinal inflammation in the elderly population. Furthermore, few studies report on immune and/or inflammatory response; however, prebiotics, probiotics or synbiotics might improve the inflammatory condition of the elderly. SUMMARY: A better understanding of the mechanisms of host-gut microbiota cross-talk would significantly help in the design of novel nutritional strategies targeting immune reactivity at the mucosal level.

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2008 Jan;11(1):13-20

Influence of prebiotics on the human immune system (GALT).

Prebiotics have great potential to improve human health in specific intestinal disorders. The knowledge about the influence of prebiotics on the gut-associated lymphoid tissues (GALT) for the improvement of human health is still growing. This paper reviews the latest evidence for the immunity-enhancing effects of prebiotics. Prebiotics, include inulin, fructooligosaccharides, mannosoligosaccharides, and arabinogalactans, are a therapeutic nutritional preparation used for the gut function favoring growth of normal bacterial flora and impedes growth of pathogenic organisms. There is convincing preliminary data to suggest that the consumption of prebiotics can modulate immune parameters in GALT, secondary lymphoid tissues and peripheral circulation. There is increasing evidence that the newly described prebiotics and innovative means of administration can modulate various properties of the immune system, including those of the gut-associated lymphoid tissues (GALT). Authors of recently published patents showed new mechanisms for immuno-modulation, and the ultimate impact on immunological health of prebiotics.

Recent Pat Inflamm Allergy Drug Discov. 2008;2(2):149-53

Cancer prevention by dietary bioactive components that target the immune response.

Dietary bioactive food components that interact with the immune response have considerable potential to reduce the risk of cancer. Reduction of chronic inflammation or its downstream consequences may represent a key mechanism that can be reduced through targeting signal transduction or through antioxidant effects. Major classes of macronutrients provide numerous examples, including amino acids such as glutamine or arginine, lipids such as the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, DHA or EPA, or novel carbohydrates such as various sources of beta-glucans. Vitamins such as C and E are commonly used as antioxidants, while zinc and selenium are minerals with a wide spectrum of impacts on the immune system. Some of the most potent immunomodulators are phytochemicals such as the polyphenols, EGCG or curcumin, or isothiocyanates such as PEITC. There is accumulating evidence for cancer prevention by probiotics and prebiotics, and these may also affect the immune response. Genomic approaches are becoming increasingly important in characterising potential mechanisms of cancer prevention, optimising the rational selection of dietary bioactive food components, or identifying humans with differing nutrient requirements for cancer protection.

Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2007 Aug;7(5):459-64

Benefits of a synbiotic formula (Synbiotic 2000Forte) in critically Ill trauma patients: early results of a randomized controlled trial.

BACKGROUND: Since probiotics are considered to exert beneficial health effects by enhancing the host’s immune response, we investigated the benefits of a synbiotics treatment on the rate of infections, systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), severe sepsis, and mortality in critically ill, mechanically ventilated, multiple trauma patients. Length of stay in the intensive care unit (ICU) and number of days under mechanical ventilation were also evaluated. METHOD: Sixty-five patients were randomized to receive once daily for 15 days a synbiotic formula (Synbiotic 2000Forte, Medipharm, Sweden) or maltodextrin as placebo. The synbiotic preparation consisted of a combination of four probiotics (10(11) CFU each): Pediococcus pentosaceus 5-33:3, Leuconostoc mesenteroides 32-77:1, L. paracasei ssp. paracasei 19; and L. plantarum 2,362; and inulin, oat bran, pectin, and resistant starch as prebiotics. Infections, septic complications, mortality, days under ventilatory support, and days of stay in ICU were recorded. RESULTS: Synbiotic-treated patients exhibited a significantly reduced rate of infections (P = 0.01), SIRS, severe sepsis (P = 0.02), and mortality. Days of stay in the ICU (P = 0.01) and days under mechanical ventilation were also significantly reduced in relation to placebo (P = 0.001). CONCLUSION: The administration of this synbiotic formula in critically ill, mechanically ventilated, multiple trauma patients seems to exert beneficial effects in respect to infection and sepsis rates and to improve the patient’s response, thus reducing the duration of ventilatory support and intensive care treatment.

World J Surg. 2006 Oct;30(10):1848-55

Synbiotic effect of Lactobacillus helveticus M92 and prebiotics on the intestinal microflora and immune system of mice.

The synbiotic effect of the oral treatment of Swiss albino mice with milk-based diets supplemented with Lactobacillus helveticus M92 and various kinds of prebiotics was investigated. Survival, competition, adhesion and colonization, as well as, immunomodulating capability of Lb. helveticus M92, in synbiotic combination, in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of mice, were monitored. After the mice were fed with synbiotics, the lactic acid bacteria (LAB) counts in faeces were increased and reduction of enterobacteria and sulphite-reducing clostridia was observed. Similar results were obtained in homogenates of small and large intestine of mice on the 1st and 14th day, after feeding with synbiotics. After the mice were orally given viable Lb. helveticus M92 cells, alone or in combination with prebiotic, the concentration of faecal SIgA and total serum IgA antibodies from all immunized mice were higher compared with the control. The specific humoral immune response was not evoked after oral administration, therefore their synbiotic application is suitable. Among inulin, lactulose and raffinose, Lb. helveticus M92 in combination with inulin, has shown the best synbiotic effect on intestinal and faecal microflora and immune system of mice.

J Dairy Res. 2009 Feb;76(1):98-104

Early dietary intervention with a mixture of prebiotic oligosaccharides reduces the incidence of allergic manifestations and infections during the first two years of life.

A mixture of neutral short-chain galactooligosaccharides (scGOS) and long-chain fructooligosaccharides (lcFOS) has been shown to reduce the incidence of atopic dermatitis (AD) and infectious episodes during the first 6 mo of life. This dual protection occurred through the intervention period. The present study evaluated if these protective effects were lasting beyond the intervention period. In a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled design, healthy term infants with a parental history of atopy were fed either a prebiotic-supplemented (8 g/L scGOS/lcFOS) or placebo-supplemented (8 g/L maltodextrin) hypoallergenic formula during the first 6 mo of life. Following this intervention period, blind follow-up continued until 2 y of life. Primary endpoints were cumulative incidence of allergic manifestations. Secondary endpoints were number of infectious episodes and growth. Of 152 participants, 134 infants (68 in placebo, 66 in intervention group) completed the follow-up. During this period, infants in the scGOS/lcFOS group had significantly lower incidence of allergic manifestations. Cumulative incidences for AD, recurrent wheezing, and allergic urticaria were higher in the placebo group, (27.9, 20.6, and 10.3%, respectively) than in the intervention group (13.6, 7.6, and 1.5%) (P < 0.05). Infants in the scGOS/lcFOS group had fewer episodes of physician-diagnosed overall and upper respiratory tract infections (P < 0.01), fever episodes (P < 0.00001), and fewer antibiotic prescriptions (P < 0.05). Growth was normal and similar in both groups. Early dietary intervention with oligosaccharide prebiotics has a protective effect against both allergic manifestations and infections. The observed dual protection lasting beyond the intervention period suggests that an immune modulating effect through the intestinal flora modification may be the principal mechanism of action.

J Nutr. 2008 Jun;138(6):1091-5

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