Chicory Root Fiber May Help Improve Gut Microbiota Composition in Children
Chicory root fiber is a prebiotic, which means it helps feed probiotic bacteria. A recent study suggests that chicory root fiber may help three to six year olds improve their gut microbiota composition and strengthen their immune systems.
Participants in the study included 142 boys and 128 girls between the ages of three and six. Over the course of 24 weeks, they were given either six grams of prebiotic fiber or a control daily. Stool samples were collected at baseline for microbiota analysis, and anthropometric measurements were taken. These measurements were taken again after 24 weeks.
During the supplemtnation period, physicians recorded diagnoses. Parents recorded disease symptoms, kindergarten absenteeism, dietary habits, and stool consistency.
After the 24 week supplementation period, the researchers noted a 19.9% increase of Bifidobacterium and a 7.8% increase of Lactobacillus in the prebiotic group, when compared with the placebo. They also noted softer stools, a reduced number of fevers that required medical attention, and significantly lower instances of sinusitis in the prebiotic group, when compared with the placebo.
There were no reported differences in number of infectious episodes and duration of the episodes between the two groups.
Researchers from the Clinical Center of the University of Pécs led the study. It was published on July 3, 2018, in The Journal of Nutrition.