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New Study: Prebiotic Fiber Affects Gut Microbiome and Mental Health

Inulin-type fructans and 2'fucosyllactose alter both microbial composition and appear to alleviate stress-induced mood state in a working population compared to placebo (maltodextrin): the EFFICAD Trial, a randomized, controlled trial was just published.

This study aimed to investigate the effects of oligofructose and 2’fucosyllactose, alone and combined, compared to maltodextrin (as a control), on both microbial composition and mood state in a working population.

Ninety-two healthy adults with mild-to-moderate anxiety and depression levels participated in a 5-week trial. The participants were divided into four groups: oligofructose alone, maltodextrin alone, a combination of oligofructose and 2’fucosyllactose, and 2’fucosyllactose alone.

Depression status was determined using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and anxiety status was determined using the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI)

The objective of this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, was to investigate the effects of OF and 2’FL, alone and in combination, on microbial load and composition as a primary outcome. As secondary outcomes, it investigated whether OF and 2’FL could improve scores of the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), State Trait Anxiety Inventory Y1 and Y2 (STAI Y1 and Y2), Positive and Negative Affect Schedule – Short Form (PANAS-SF), and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Saliva and urine samples were collected to assess changes in cortisol awakening response (CAR) and urinary metabolites in adults with mild-to-moderate levels of anxiety and depression.

The primary outcomes measured changes in microbial load and composition, assessed through fluorescence in situ hybridization-flow cytometry and 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing. Secondary outcomes included gastrointestinal sensations, bowel habits, and mood state parameters.

The results showed significant increases in specific beneficial bacterial taxa such as Bifidobacterium, Bacteroides, Roseburia, and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii in both the oligofructose and oligofructose/2’fucosyllactose groups. However, responses to 2’fucosyllactose were varied among individuals.

Furthermore, significant improvements in various mood state parameters were observed across the oligofructose, 2’fucosyllactose, and oligofructose/2’fucosyllactose groups, including reduced depression and anxiety levels and positive changes in cortisol awakening response.

Importantly, both oligofructose alone and the combination of oligofructose/2’fucosyllactose showed better improvements in mood state parameters compared to both 2’fucosyllactose alone and maltodextrin.

In conclusion, the study suggests that oligofructose and the combination of oligofructose/2’fucosyllactose can positively influence microbial composition and improve mood state parameters. However, further research is needed to understand the variations in individual responses to 2’fucosyllactose supplementation. Future studies are needed to identify individual microbial responses to 2’FL supplementation.

Adapted from: Jackson PP, Wijeyesekera A, Williams CM, Theis S, van Harsselaar J, Rastall RA. Inulin-type fructans and 2’fucosyllactose alter both microbial composition and appear to alleviate stress-induced mood state in a working population compared to placebo (maltodextrin): the EFFICAD Trial, a randomized, controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2023;118(5):938-955. doi:10.1016/j.ajcnut.2023.08.016

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