Metabolic adaptation of colonic microbiota to galactooligosaccharides: a proof-of-concept-study

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Prebiotics have been shown to reduce abdominal symptoms in patients with functional gut disorders, despite that they are fermented by colonic bacteria and may induce gas-related symptoms.


To investigate changes in the metabolic activity of gut microbiota induced by a recognised prebiotic.


Healthy subjects (n = 20) were given a prebiotic (2.8 g/day HOST-G904, HOST Therabiomics, Jersey, Channel Islands) for 3 weeks. During 3-day periods immediately before, at the beginning and at the end of the administration subjects were put on a standard diet (low fibre diet supplemented with one portion of high fibre foods) and the following outcomes were measured: (i) number of daytime gas evacuations for 2 days by means of an event marker; (ii) volume of gas evacuated via a rectal tube during 4 h after a test meal; and (iii) microbiota composition by faecal Illumina MiSeq sequencing.


At the beginning of administration, HOST-G904 significantly increased the number of daily anal gas evacuations (18 ± 2 vs. 12 ± 1 pre-administration; P < 0.001) and the volume of gas evacuated after the test meal (236 ± 23 mL vs. 160 ± 17 mL pre-administration; P = 0.006). However, after 3 weeks of administration, these effects diminished (11 ± 2 daily evacuations, 169 ± 23 mL gas evacuation). At day 21, relative abundance of butyrate producers (Lachnospiraceae) correlated inversely with the volume of gas evacuated (r = −0.52; P = 0.02).


The availability of substrates induces an adaptation of the colonic microbiota activity in bacterial metabolism, which produces less gas and associated issues. Clinical NCT02618239.

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