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Prebiotics May Positively Alter Gut Bacteria of Obese People

Previous studies have found that the gut microflora of obese people differs from that of individuals who are not obese. Now, a recent study suggests that taking inulin-type fructans prebiotics may increase levels of a beneficial bacteria in the guts of obese people and possibly reduce metabolic risk factors.

Participants in the study included 30 obese women who took either 16 grams per day of the proebiotic or a malodextrin placebo every day for three months.

At the conclusion of the study, the prebiotic group had notable increases of beneficial bacteria as well as a reduction in shorty chain fatty acid levels, which are correlated with BMI. They also had a reduction in insulin levels and the homeostasis model assessment, two markers of metabolic syndrome.

Researchers from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on June 11, 2014, in Clinical Nutrition.

Prebiotics serve as food for probiotics. While probiotics are most commonly linked to improving digestion and gut health, they have also been shown to have other health benefits, including a stronger immune system, and a reduced risk of chronic disease.

Probiotics can be found naturally in many foods, such as yogurt, milk and sauerkraut. You may also consider taking a high quality supplement but make sure it is packaged to block light, air and moisture, which can easily kill probiotics.

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