The impact of pectin supplementation on intestinal barrier function in healthy young adults and healthy elderly

Ellen Wilms*, Daisy M.A.E. Jonkers, Huub F.J. Savelkoul, Montserrat Elizalde, Lea Tischmann, Paul de Vos, Ad A.M. Masclee, Freddy J. Troost

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Intestinal barrier function is suggested to decrease with aging and may be improved by pectin intake. The aim of this study was to investigate the e ects of four weeks pectin supplementation on gastrointestinal barrier function in vivo and ex vivo in di erent age groups. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel study, 52 healthy young adults (18–40 years) and 48 healthy elderly (65–75 years) received 15 g/day pectin or placebo for four weeks. Pre- and post-intervention, in vivo gastrointestinal permeability by a multisugar test, and defense capacity in mucosal samples were assessed. Sigmoid biopsies were collected post-intervention from subgroups for Ussing chamber experiments and gene transcription of barrier-related genes. Pectin intervention did not a ect in vivo gastroduodenal, small intestinal, colonic, and whole gut permeability in young adults nor in elderly (p ≥ 0.130). Salivary and fecal sIgA and serum IgA were not significantly di erent between pectin versus placebo in both age groups (p ≥ 0.128). In both young adults and elderly, no di erences in transepithelial electrical resistance and fluorescein flux (p ≥ 0.164) and relative expression of genes analyzed (p ≥ 0.222) were found between pectin versus placebo. In conclusion, intestinal barrier function was not a ected by four weeks pectin supplementation neither in healthy young adults nor in healthy elderly.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1554
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • Aging
  • Defense
  • Dietary fiber
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Intestinal permeability
  • Tight junctions
  • Tolerance

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