Microbiome Bites April 23rd: Prebiotics Effectively Treat Constipation and Improve the Microbiome and Discovering How Probiotics Protect Against Vaginal Yeast Infections

Prebiotics Fight Diarrhea

1. FOS, GOS and IMO Oligosaccharides Improve the Gut Microbiome and Alleviate Constipation

Oligosaccharides are carbohydrates made up of small sugar molecules and have known prebiotic effects. There are a number of oligosaccharides available as prebiotic nutritional supplements, including:

  • FOS (fructo-oligosaccharide)
  • Inulin (basically FOS, but with a longer structure)
  • GOS (galacto-oligosaccharide)
  • IMO (isomalto-oligosaccharide)
  • XOS (xylo-oligosaccharide

 

 

Read more about prebiotics here

 

In a new study published in the journal Food & Function, researchers have evaluated the effects of FOS, GOS and IMO on constipation and the composition of the gut microbiome in mice.

Constipated, pathogen-free mice were fed oligosaccharides once per day for 17 days.

The results showed that the oligosaccharides the treated constipation by increasing both the water content of the stool and the small intestinal transit rate.

However, the dosage required to treat the constipation varied between oligosaccharides:

High-dose GOS was the most effective at relieving constipation, followed by medium-dose FOS and IMO.

The scientists found higher levels of short chain fatty acids in the stool (with all oligosaccharides), which were associated with increased relief from constipation.

Treatment with oligosaccharides also altered the gut microbiomes of the mice, which had increased Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes and Actinobacteria.

The research confirms the effectiveness of prebiotic oligosaccharides in treating constipation and altering the gut microbiome for the better.

2. The Vaginal Microbiome Produces Antimicrobial Chemicals That Kill Candida

Lactobacillus bacteria (like those found in probiotics) are the main microorganisms found in the vaginal microbiome of healthy women. They form a barrier against pathogens including the yeast Candida albicans (the main cause of thrush and vaginal yeast infections).

In a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, scientists investigated the ability of multiple strains of different Lactobacillus species to restrain the growth of candida.

Of all the Lactobacillus strains tested, the team found that Lactobacillus crispatus (all 7 strains tested) was the most efficient at blocking Candida growth. Furthermore, all of the Lactobacillus strains tested were capable of inhibiting the normally harmless Candida from transitioning into its’ pathogenic (disease-causing) state.

The probiotics achieved this effect by making antimicrobial chemicals that interfere with many of the metabolic processes in Candida.

The researchers conclude that Lactobacillus crispatus strain B145 has the potential to be a highly effective probiotic for vaginal candidiasis.