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Br J Nutr. 2018 Jan;119(2):176-189. doi: 10.1017/S0007114517003440. Epub 2018 Jan 8.

Habitual dietary fibre intake influences gut microbiota response to an inulin-type fructan prebiotic: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over, human intervention study.

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1School of Food and Nutrition,Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology,Massey University,Palmerston North 4442,New Zealand.
3Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences,The University of Auckland,Auckland 1142,New Zealand.
2Food, Nutrition and Health,The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited,Palmerston North 4474,New Zealand.
4Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine,Diabetes and Nutritional Sciences Division,King's College London,London SE1 9NH,UK.


Dysbiotic gut microbiota have been implicated in human disease. Diet-based therapeutic strategies have been used to manipulate the gut microbiota towards a more favourable profile. However, it has been demonstrated that large inter-individual variability exists in gut microbiota response to a dietary intervention. The primary objective of this study was to investigate whether habitually low dietary fibre (LDF) v. high dietary fibre (HDF) intakes influence gut microbiota response to an inulin-type fructan prebiotic. In this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study, thirty-four healthy participants were classified as LDF or HDF consumers. Gut microbiota composition (16S rRNA bacterial gene sequencing) and SCFA concentrations were assessed following 3 weeks of daily prebiotic supplementation (Orafti® Synergy 1; 16 g/d) or placebo (Glucidex® 29 Premium; 16 g/d), as well as after 3 weeks of the alternative intervention, following a 3-week washout period. In the LDF group, the prebiotic intervention led to an increase in Bifidobacterium (P=0·001). In the HDF group, the prebiotic intervention led to an increase in Bifidobacterium (P<0·001) and Faecalibacterium (P=0·010) and decreases in Coprococcus (P=0·010), Dorea (P=0·043) and Ruminococcus (Lachnospiraceae family) (P=0·032). This study demonstrates that those with HDF intakes have a greater gut microbiota response and are therefore more likely to benefit from an inulin-type fructan prebiotic than those with LDF intakes. Future studies aiming to modulate the gut microbiota and improve host health, using an inulin-type fructan prebiotic, should take habitual dietary fibre intake into account.


HDF high dietary fibre; LDF low dietary fibre; 16S rRNA gene sequencing; Gut microbiota; Habitual dietary fibres; Inulin-type fructan prebiotics; Responsiveness

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