Prebiotic fiber increased abundance of Bifidobacterium in children during cold season, says new study

May 6, 2019

A recently published trial1 showed that supplementation with chicory root fiber (a composition of Orafti Inulin and Orafti Oligofructose from Beneo; Parsippany, NJ) positively impacted the composition of gut microbiota in children during cold season. In the randomized, placebo-controlled trial, 258 healthy children between 3 and 6 years of age were given either 6 grams of prebiotic chicory root fiber or maltodextrin every day for 24 weeks.

“Young children are particularly susceptible to infectious diseases during the winter months that often need to be treated with antibiotics, which are known to significantly damage the microbiota,” explains Anke Sentko, vice president regulatory affairs and nutrition communication at BENEO, in a press release. “This kind of early disturbance of the microbiota composition can create an imbalance in the gut which may affect health in later years.”

Faecal samples were collected during the course of the study, and results showed that subjects taking prebiotic fiber had a significantly higher abundance of Bifidobacterium, compared to placebo. There were subjects in both groups taking antibiotics, all of whom had a decreased relative abundance of Bifidobacterium, however, subjects taking the chicory root fiber still had a significantly higher abundance compared to placebo.

“With the previously reported benefits on immune function, the study contributes to the evidence on the immune-modulating effects of prebiotics through gut microbiota modifications,” write the researchers.


1. Soldi S et al. “Prebiotic supplementation over a cold season and during antibiotic treatment specifically modulates the gut microbiota composition of 3-6 year-old children.” Beneficial Microbes, vol. 10, no 3 (2019)