Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Study: Oligofructose Cuts Down On Infections Of Day-Care Aged Kids

This Nutraingredients story about a new study on a major benefit of taking the prebiotic supplement oligofructose should have mothers of young children stocking up on it to insure good health.

Lead researcher Anne-Judith Waligora-Dupriet from the Paris, France-based Université René Descartes wanted to look at the role of oligofructose as it relates to the intestinal health of young children in day-care.

“Our study is the first one to evaluate the effects of oligofructose supplementation on modulation of microflora with tolerance and well-being in young children attending day-care centers,” she explained.

While already confirmed to be healthy for bones and colorectal cancer, researchers are now wanting to see the effect of oligofructose on other parts of health including the immune system, weight control, and intestinal health.

The study looked at 35 healthy day-care children between the ages of 7-19 months and observed them over an eight-day period before beginning the research. At that time, the children were randomly given either oligofructose supplement or a placebo for three weeks in a row.

Dr. Waligora-Dupriet and her team of researchers took daily fecal samples to check for intestinal issues and monitored the health of each study participant.

At the end of the study, the researchers found the children who were given the oligofructose supplement saw increases in the good bacteria called bifidobacteria from 9.1 to 9.5 log10 CFU/g of feces. Meanwhile, the control group saw their good bacteria decrease from 9.2 to 9.0 log10 CFU/g of feces.

The researchers explain why higher levels of bifidobacteria is desirable.

“Bifidobacteria are thought to lower the intestinal pH through their fermentation end-products, i.e. acetic and lactic acids, leading to the inhibition of the growth of potentially pathogenic bacteria,” they stated.

Interestingly, the study showed that oligofructose led to a significant decrease in the development of clostridia, a potential pathogen that can cause gas-producing bacteria, but not staphylococci infections. As soon as the oligofructose supplementation ceased, the improvements that had been made in the intestinal health were halted.

But as long as the infants were taking oligofructose, their intestinal health was fantastic compared to the control group.

“The number of infectious diseases requiring antibiotic treatment, the number of episodes of flatulence, diarrhea, vomiting and fever were significantly lower in the oligofructose group as compared to the control group as well as the number of children who start to vomit,” the researchers revealed.

The overwhelming conclusion of the study was all positive for oligofructose.

“Our results confirm that oligofructose exerts beneficial effects to health and well-being,” Dr. Waligora-Dupriet wrote in the study. “The results of this study indicate good tolerance and clinical benefits of oligofructose supplementation."

This study was published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology.

As is true with most studies of this nature that were conducted on a smaller scale, the researchers suggested that "further studies on a larger number of children are needed." But the evidence in favor of oligofructose is there in this study. It will be interesting to see what larger studies find in the future.

Wanna know an excellent dietary source for oligofructose? It's GoLower bars! These healthy and deliciously crunchy nut bars from the UK are held together by oligofructose syrup and are a delicious way to get this healthy prebiotic into your body.

After reading the results of this study, it makes me want to go celebrate with a Raspberry GoLower bar right now. You know what that's time to go get me some oligofructose in my body for good intestinal health. Cheerio!

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