The Use of Nondigestible Oligosaccharides to Manage the Gastrointestinal Ecosystem

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Buddington, Randal K. (2011)
  • Publisher: Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease
  • Journal: Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease (issn: 1651-2235, eissn: 1651-2235)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/mehd.v13i1.7992

The gastrointestinal tract represents a small, complex ecosystem that has several distinct habitats. Exclusive use of parenteral nutrition has shown that dietary inputs are critical to maintain the structural components (physical, chemical, and biotic features) and functional elements (transfer of energy and materials) of the gastrointestinal ecosystem. Similar to other ecosystems, the gastrointestinal ecosystem is responsive to the types and amounts of dietary inputs. Nondigestible oligosaccharides (NDO) are recognized as a vital component of a healthy diet. Supplementing diets with NDO increases the densities of lactic acid producing bacteria and provides numerous health bene. ts. These include enhanced enteric and systemic immune functions, increased energy and nutrient availability, inhibition of pathogen growth, reduced risk of carcinogenesis, and improved levels and pro. les of serum lipids. This review describes how the various types of NDO can be used as ‘management tools’ to bene. cially affect the bacteria resident in the gastrointestinal ecosystem and thereby enhance health during development and in healthy and diseased states. There is a need to better understand how variation among the gastrointestinal ecosystems of different species, individuals, and age groups, particularly the resident bacteria, in uences the responses to different amounts and types of NDO.Keywords : gastrointestinal tract, fermentable fiber bacteria, diet, intestine, colon, prebiotics.
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