Galacto-oligosaccharides supplementation in prefrail older and healthy adults increased faecal bifidobacteria, but did not impact immune function and oxidative stress

Ellen Wilms*, Ran An, Agnieszka Smolinska, Yala Stevens, Antje R. Weseler, Montserrat Elizalde, Marie José Drittij, Athanasia Ioannou, Frederik J. van Schooten, Hauke Smidt, Ad A.M. Masclee, Erwin G. Zoetendal, Daisy M.A.E. Jonkers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background & aims: Ageing is associated with an increased risk of frailty, intestinal microbiota perturbations, immunosenescence and oxidative stress. Prebiotics such as galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) may ameliorate these ageing-related alterations. We aimed to compare the faecal microbiota composition, metabolite production, immune and oxidative stress markers in prefrail elderly and younger adults, and investigate the effects of GOS supplementation in both groups. Methods: In a randomised controlled cross-over study, 20 prefrail elderly and 24 healthy adults received 21.6 g/day Biotis™ GOS (containing 15.0 g/day GOS) or placebo. Faecal 16S rRNA gene-based microbiota and short-chain fatty acids were analysed at 0, 1 and 4 weeks of intervention.Volatile organic compounds were analysed in breath, and stimulated cytokine production, CRP, malondialdehyde, trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC) and uric acid (UA) in blood at 0 and 4 weeks. Results: Principle coordinate analysis showed differences in microbial composition between elderly and adults (P≤0.05), with elderly having lower bifidobacteria (P≤0.033) at baseline. In both groups, GOS affected microbiota composition (P≤0.05), accompanied by increases in bifidobacteria (P<0.001) and decreased microbial diversity (P≤0.023). Faecal and breath metabolites, immune and oxidative stress markers neither differed between groups (P ≥ 0.125) nor were affected by GOS (P ≥ 0.236). TEAC values corrected for UA were higher in elderly versus adults (P<0.001), but not different between interventions (P ≥ 0.455). Conclusions: Elderly showed lower faecal bifidobacterial (relative) abundance than adults, which increased after GOS intake in both groups. Faecal and breath metabolites, parameters of immune function and oxidative stress were not different at baseline, and not impacted by GOS supplementation. Clinicaltrials.gov with study id number: NCT03077529.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Nutrition
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Immunology
  • Microbiome
  • Nutrition
  • Probiotics/prebiotics

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