Study supports Sunfiber’s lower dose prebiotic benefits

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© newannyart / Getty Images
© newannyart / Getty Images

Related tags Prebiotic microbiome Fibre

The prebiotic activity of Sunfiber, a partially hydrolyzed guar gum, may be observed at doses as low as 3 g per day, says a new study from the University of Minnesota.

Findings from a human intervention study indicated that 14 days of supplementation with both three or six grams of the partially hydrolyzed guar gum led to significant increases in Verrucomicrobia​ and Akkermansia​ in healthy subjects.

"This study demonstrated a significant prebiotic effect for Sunfiber at a lower dose than previously shown," said the study’s lead researcher, Joanne Slavin, PhD, RD, a world-renowned fiber expert at the University of Minnesota. "The significant increases in Akkermanisa are a novel finding and new benefit area for consumers."

The findings are published in Applied Microbiology​.

Prebiotics

Prebiotics are defined by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) as, “A substrate that is selectively utilized by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit”. (Gibson et al., 2017​)

Previous studies with Taiyo’s Sunfiber have supported a prebiotic effect for doses of 5 g per day and upwards, but the new study suggests that prebiotic benefits may also be observed at lower doses.

“Sunfiber is popular in part because of its efficacy, versatility, ease of use and multiple sought-after certifications," said Scott Smith, president of Taiyo International. "This new research opens the doors to even more formulation possibilities, now that we know Sunfiber’s tremendous potential to promote digestive health even at 3 g doses."

Study details

Prof. Slavin and her co-workers recruited 33 healthy people (17 men and 16 women) to participate in their randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study. The volunteers were randomly assigned to one of three groups: 3 or 6 g per day of Sunfiber or a placebo for 14 days. Each intervention was followed by a two week washout period (a low fiber period) before the volunteers crossed over to the other groups.

"In the present study, both Verrucomicrobia​ and Akkermansia​ increased with PHGG supplementation," the researchers wrote. "The mucin-degrading microbe, Akkermansia muciniphila​, is a bacteria of the phylum Verrucomicrobia​, and it is found in higher concentrations in healthy individuals. It has been shown that the concentration of Verrucomicrobia​ present in individuals with obesity is lower, and decreased concentrations of Verrucomicrobia​ may even serve as an indicator of insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes (T2DM)."

Prof. Slavin and her co-workers added that the abundance of A. muciniphila​ was significantly lower in people with GI conditions such as IBD, "suggesting that the decreased concentration of this bacteria may function as an indicator of dysbiosis," they said.

Sunfiber supplementation at the 6 g per day level also led to decreases in salivary cortisol levels, indicating a potentially positive affect the body’s stress response, the study noted.

However, it also reported that the low dose group had significant decreases in Faecalibacterium​, bacteria with anti-inflammatory activity and an indicator of a healthy gut.

"The results of a previous study, wherein subjects consumed 5 g PHGG up to three times daily, showed a subsequent increase in the level of Faecalibacterium​,” the researchers wrote.

"This may suggest that higher doses of PHGG are needed to increase the concentration of Faecalibacterium​. Further research needs to be conducted to explore the impact of low dose PHGG on Faecalibacterium​."

The researchers concluded: “The present study demonstrated that even small doses of PHGG, as little as 3 g, can influence the composition of the human gut microbiome in healthy subjects including positive shifts in beneficial microbes. Individual variability in the human gut microbiome poses challenges in determining how selective changes to bacterial taxa may result in health outcomes.

"Additional research should be focused on how changes in the gut microbiome composition are associated with resulting GI symptoms and other physiological benefits."

Source: Applied Microbiology
2024, 4​(2), 720-730; doi: 10.3390/applmicrobiol4020049​                                                                                                                                          
“The Dose Response Effects of Partially Hydrolyzed Guar Gum on Gut Microbiome of Healthy Adults”
Authors: M. Edelman, et al.

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