Pre- and probiotic combo linked to better antioxidant status

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Supplements of pre- and probiotics can reduce levels of biomarkers
linked to oxidative stress, suggests new results from an EU study.

The synbiotic formulation containing oligofructose prebiotics (Beneo-Orafti) and a mixture of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium probiotics was associated with a reduction in oxidation of LDL, linked to, amongst other things, the development of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. "The improvement in biomarkers of anti-oxidative activity seen with the synbiotic supplementation in this study is promising and warrants further research, especially since high oxidative stress is known to cause harm to our bodies,"​ said Dr. Anne Franck, vice president of research and development at the Beneo-Group. Talking to NutraIngredients.com, Dr. Franck confirmed that this is the first time that a link between prebiotics (and synbiotics) and oxidative stress has been reported in humans, despite previous being demonstrated in rodents. Results of the study - the EU and MicroFunction Project - were presented recently at the University of Ulster at last year's Nutrition Society meeting and the abstract is published in Proceedings of the Nutrition Society​. The full results - not seen by NutraIngredients.com - are set to be published in a peer-reviewed journal in the coming months, said Dr. Franck. The randomised, double-blind (cross-over), placebo-controlled trial included fifty-three healthy Estonian adults. The subjects were randomly assigned to receive either the daily supplements of oligofructose (Orafti P95, 6.6 g/day) and probiotics (Lactobacillus fermentum​ ME-3, Lactobacillus paracasei​ 8700:2 and Bifidobacterium longum​ 46) or placebo (maltodextrin) for three weeks. The researchers, from the University of Reading (UK), the University of Tartu (Estonia) and Orafti, report that the total antioxidant activity of the subjects receiving the synbiotic supplements was higher than the corresponding placebo subjects: 42.4 versus 41.9 per cent, respectively. Furthermore, levels of oxidation of LDL were reduced in the synbiotic group, compared to placebo, reported the researchers (12.6 compared to 14.6 micromoles, respectively. Faecal measures of bifidobacteria were also higher after synbiotic supplementation, compared to placebo, and the researchers report that these increases were more pronounced when baseline levels were low before starting supplementation. Significantly, higher faecal butyrate concentrations were reported with the synbiotic (10.0 vs. 8.1 mm for the placebo). "The improvement in antioxidative-stress biomarkers and the increase in both bifidobacteria and butyrate on ingestion of the test synbiotic in this prophylactic study may warrant further research in diseases in which oxidative stress plays a role (such as CVD) or in populations in which the gut microbiota composition has been disturbed,"​ concluded the researchers. Dr. Franck confirmed to this website that the company was continuing to support studies in this area, with a focus on obesity, metabolic syndrome and healthy ageing. The EU and MicroFunction Project was established through a network of extensive collaborations between eight partners from seven different countries, and supported by the European Commission. Source: Proceedings of the Nutrition Society​ 2007, Volume 66, Page 101A "Effects of a synbiotic on biomarkers of oxidative stress and faecal microbiota in healthy adults: results of a cross-over double-blind placebo-controlled trial" ​Authors: D.M.A. Saulnier, P. Hutt, M. Mikelsaar, D. Bosscher, G. Gibson, S. Kolida

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