The Effect of Nutritional Intervention with Lactoferrin, Galactooligosacharides and Vitamin D on the Gut Microbiota Composition of Healthy Elderly Women

Prokopis Konstanti*, Marloes van Splunter, Erik van den Brink, Clara Belzer, Arjen Nauta, Joost van Neerven, Hauke Smidt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Nutritional supplements, such as bovine lactoferrin (bLF), have been studied for their immunomodulatory properties, but little is known of their effect on the gut microbiota composition of the elderly when supplemented alone or combined with other nutritional supplements such as prebiotics and micronutrients. In the present study, fecal samples from a doubleblind, placebo‐controlled nutritional intervention study were analysed. At baseline (T1), 25 elderly women were distributed into two groups receiving dietary intervention (n = 12) or placebo treatment (n = 13) for 9 weeks. During the first 3 weeks of the study (T2), the intervention group consumed 1 g/day bLF, followed by 3 weeks (T3) of 1 g/day bLF and 2.64 g/day active galactooligosaccharides (GOS), and 3 weeks (T4) of 1 g/day bLF, 2.64 g/day GOS and 20 μg/day of vitamin D. The placebo group received maltodextrin, in dosages matching those of the intervention group. Fecal bacterial composition was profiled using partial 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. Short‐chain fatty acids (SCFA) were determined in fecal water as were levels of calprotectin, zonulin, and alpha‐ 1‐antitrypsin, as markers of gastrointestinal barrier and inflammation. Results: A significant increase was observed in the relative abundance of the genus Holdemanella (p < 0.01) in the intervention group compared to the placebo at T1. During T2, Bifidobacterium relative abundance increased significantly (p < 0.01) in the intervention group compared to the placebo, and remained significantly higher until the end of the study. No other effect was reported during T3. Furthermore, concentrations of SCFAs and calprotectin, zonulin and alpha‐1‐antitrypsin did not change during the intervention, although zonulin levels increased significantly within the placebo group by the end of the intervention. Conclusions: We conclude that supplementation of bLF enhanced the relative abundance of Holdemanella in the fecal microbiota of healthy elderly women, and further addition of GOS enhanced the relative abundance of Bifidobacterium.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2468
JournalNutrients
Volume14
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • bovine lactoferrin
  • elderly
  • galactooligosaccharides
  • gut microbiota

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