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Scand J Gastroenterol Suppl. 1997;222:41-4. doi: 10.1080/00365521.1997.11720716.

Effects of lactulose and lactitol on colonic microflora and enzymatic activity.

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Université de Nancy, Vandoeuvre les Nancy, France.


The effects of lactulose and lactitol (2 x 10 g/d) were studied in 36 healthy volunteers in comparison to placebo. All parameters studied were affected by both treatments, lactulose in general leading to more pronounced changes compared to lactitol. Probiotic bacteria were increased, and putrefactive bacteria and potential pathogens were significantly reduced. These variations in colonic flora had the following consequences: (i) a reduced activity of pro-carcinogenic enzymes: azoreductase, 7 alpha-dehydroxylase, beta-glucuronidase, nitroreductase and urease activity; (ii) a global increase of short-chain fatty acids in faeces; (iii) an effect on pH and moisture of faeces, and (iv) also on aromatic compounds such as phenol, cresol, indole and skatol. The findings suggest that lactulose and lactitol are not comparable in their effect on the colonic microflora, its metabolism, and the consequent probiotic effects on human health. The differences found may also be of clinical relevance suggesting that neither compound is equipotent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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