Posted on Tue, 13 Jun 17
A combination of phytonutrients and prebiotic fibre improved gut bacterial profiles and reduced bloating, gas, and abdominal pain.
Although probiotics are a popular option for improving digestive health, prebiotics and polyphenols also have important digestive health benefits due to their ability to improve the health of gut bacteria.
Prebiotics are fibres that are metabolised by gut bacteria and consequently have important health benefits. Phytonutrients can also have a big impact on gut bacteria due to their prebiotic-like effects, despite being consumed in relatively small amounts when compared to prebiotic fibre.
Testing the effects of a phytonutrient and prebiotic combination, a group of obese men and women were prescribed a blend of 215 mg anthocyanins from black rice, black currant and blueberry extracts, 1.9 g inulin and 1.1 g of fructooligosaccharides daily for 8-weeks .
Interestingly it was discovered their gut bacteria changed, with a decrease in the Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio which is more typical of lean individuals. Also, there were significant improvements in bloating, gas, and abdominal pain severity as well as stool shape and consistency as measured with the Bristol Stool Form Scale.
Commenting on their findings the study authors concluded that “consumption of a supplement containing a blend of anthocyanins and prebiotics positively modulated the intestinal ecosystem, including the microbiome, and provided insights into the mechanisms of action of the anthocyanin prebiotic formulation and its impact on health benefits.”
Eating more phytonutrient and prebiotic-rich foods is likely to benefit your digestive health. For example, eating about the equivalent of about a 200 g punnet of wild blueberries or drinking a few cups of green tea daily can quickly increase your numbers of healthful bifidobacteria [2,3].
- Hester SN, et al. Anthocyanin and Prebiotic Impact on Intestinal Environment in Obese Male and Female Subjects. April 2017. The FASEB Journal. vol. 31 no. 1 Supplement lb398
- Vendrame S, Guglielmetti S, Riso P,et al. Six-week consumption of a wild blueberry powder drink increases bifidobacteria in the human gut. J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Dec 28;59(24):12815-20.
- Jin JS, Touyama M, Hisada T, Benno Y. Effects of green tea consumption on human fecal microbiota with special reference to Bifidobacterium species. Microbiol Immunol. 2012 Nov;56(11):729-39.