A new study presented at the 14th International Symposium on Microbial Ecology (ISME14) in Copenhagen, Denmark sheds light on how fibre in the diet affects the gut environment. The digestive tract is lined with communities of beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, which help keep the gut healthy. Some fibres, when consumed, are fermented in the colon where beneficial bacteria in the gut use them as a prebiotic food source.
"This study in adolescents shows an increase in specific beneficial bacteria - namely, bifidiobacteria, parabacterioidetes, and alistipes . Furthermore this is the first study to show that parabacterioidetes, and alistipes were significantly correlated with the observed increase in calcium absorption," said Cindy H. Nakatsu, Professor of Agronomy at Purdue University, who directed the microbiota work on this camp calcium study led by Connie Weaver, Ph.D., distinguished professor in nutrition, Purdue University. "This is important because these data begin to provide evidence for the mechanism by which soluble corn fibre helps increase the observed calcium absorption and, adolescents everywhere could benefit from more fibre and calcium in their diets."
In this crossover study, 23 adolescents 12-15 years old were given controlled diets over two, three-week sessions separated by a one-week washout period. The diets were identical with the exception that the test diet included daily consumption of a product that had 12 grams of soluble corn fibre. Researchers found that consuming the test diet with soluble corn fibre helped increase several strains of beneficial bacteria in the gut. In addition, researchers found that consumption of the fibre changed the gut environment which appeared to have enabled greater calcium absorption.
"We still need more research to understand the interplay between diet and gut health, however, the observed increases in what we believe to be some of the most important beneficial bacteria may contribute to overall gut health. In addition, the increase in calcium absorption could contribute to long-term benefits for bone health, although this potential benefit requires further research," said Nakatsu.
Decades of research support the health benefits of fibre, but the fact remains that both children and adults consume far less than the recommended 19-38 grams per day. Recently published research, in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, took a deeper look at tolerance of soluble corn fibre, also known as soluble gluco fibre in Europe.
In a randomized controlled crossover study of 20 healthy adults, subjects were given soluble corn fibre administered as a single bolus dose and in multiple doses spread throughout the day. Up to a 40g single dose of soluble corn fibre and a 65g daily total were well-tolerated among subjects—amounts exceeding the daily recommendations for fibre, and far exceeding average actual daily intake.
"Together, these exciting new studies counter the popular notion that increasing fibre intake is laden with gastrointestinal side effects," said Priscilla Samuel, PhD, Director of Global Nutrition for Tate & Lyle. "Products made with soluble corn fibre, also known as soluble gluco fibre, can easily help people increase fibre, while providing potential gut health and calcium absorption benefits."
PROMITOR™ Soluble Corn Fibre (Soluble Gluco Fibre in Europe) is an ingredient developed by Tate & Lyle as a way to boost the fibre content of foods and increase people's intake of fibre. Research shows that PROMITOR™ Soluble Corn Fibre is well tolerated (2,3), and emerging research suggests prebiotic properties (4,5), and other health benefits including promoting calcium absorption, potentially leading to bone health benefits (5,6). Soluble corn fibre can be easily incorporated into a variety of food products, including packaged foods, dairy products, beverages, frozen foods and more.