Talk:Prebiotic (nutrition)

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Dietary fiber?[edit]

Sometimes prebiotics and Dietary fiber are treated as the same. e.g. [It's the fiber, stupid! gives this impression. The article needs clarification. (Or, if the two terms are identical or very closely related, the articles should be merged.) --Singkong2005 02:26, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

Fibre and prebiotics are totally different, so there is no reason to merge them.Knorrepoes 06:48, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

I think the definition of prebiotics should mention its relationship to probiotics. Prebiotics are oligosaccharides (mostly from dietary fiber, though not exclusively) that are fermented by the gut bacteria. These mostly beneficial bacteria are known as probiotics ( —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gtaniwaki (talkcontribs) 16:52, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

FiberDude (talk) 21:42, 23 February 2010 (UTC) "probiotics" are in fact mentioned in the definition, specifically: "bacteria in the digestive system which are beneficial to the health of the body"... "probiotics" is really a misnomer, while colloquially used as a blanket term for these beneficial bacteria, it is actually properly used to refer only to supplements/functional foods with these bacteria, not the proper term for the beneficial bacteria themselves. Probiotics are also mentioned in the "see also" section. In my opinion, the article as it stands is appropriately informative and referenced vis-a-vis probiotics.

Ingredients of a Jerusalem artichoke?[edit]

"Typical dietary sources of prebiotics are Jerusalem artichokes, which contain inulin, raw oats, and unrefined wheat or barley."

I have eaten many Jerusalem artichokes, and none of them contained any cereals whatsoever. In fact, it's a tuber, and thus contains nothing except Jerusalem artichoke.

I think this is an "Eats, shoots and leaves" issue. Thus, I'll change it to:

"Typical dietary sources of prebiotics are Jerusalem artichokes (which contain inulin), raw oats, unrefined wheat and unrefined barley."

Any objections? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 23:40, 10 January 2007 (UTC).

right vs left colon[edit]

Unless something has changed recently, most mammals should fement shorter chain carbohydrates in the *right* colon, and longer chain carbs in the *left* colon because of the normal flow (the small intestine leads to the cecum and the right or ascending colon, and the left colon leads to the sigmoid colon then the rectum and finally the anus.

I've changed the 'left' and 'right' designations of the article respectively.

DocKrin (talk) 16:18, 28 September 2009 (UTC) ck

Firstly right-to-left is normal as in usual but confusion arises whether it is a person's right or is pictured on the right (their left) such that 'right' always requires a qualifier as to whose that is. But the big objection is that spatial orientation is used instead of their names and that makes the entry look less than a high school text book. Names first, usual position in the person secondarily preferably with out absolute language. (talk) 03:58, 6 October 2014 (UTC)


Moved from article : Again, one may wish to recall that Roberfroid, whom many consider the pre-eminent authority on prebiotics<ref>[ Roberfroid profile]</ref>, states that only two specific fructooligosaccharides - oligofructose and inulin - meet his seminal definition of "Prebiotic."<ref name="ReferenceA"/>

Roberfoid is not the only one who works on probiotics, many research groups world-wide so do. However, he has been very often used as a consultant for Orafti, which makens.... fructo-oligosaccharides. Considering this, he is seen by many as the spokesperson of this industry, which can be seen by his single-minded promotion of fructo-oligosaccharides. If he wants to do so, fine by me, but that means that his remarks should not be placed so prominently in the articl.Knorrepoes (talk) 11:32, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

FiberDude (talk) 21:39, 23 February 2010 (UTC)While I think Roberfroid - co-author of the paper that first distinctly described prebiotics - has a bit more eminence than just another "one who works on prebiotics," I do think the duplicative "Again" reference mentioned in the post above could be removed, leaving only one reference to Roberfroid and his views on FOS/Prebiotics.

FiberDude (talk) 14:30, 3 March 2010 (UTC)With no further comment or objection posted, I have removed the somewhat redundant Roberfroid reference.

Intermediate position between food and drug, and intermediate regulatory scrutiny of health claims[edit]

I revised the introductory paragraph to indicate the intermediate position prebiotics occupy between foods and drugs, and therefore the typically intermediate level of scrutiny they receive of the health claims made concerning them. In a subsequent paragraph, I condensed the previous discussion (which I thought was too detailed for this article) of whether galactose oligosaccharides should be considered prebiotics, merely noting that disagreement exists about this and linking to the galactose oligosaccharide article.CharlesHBennett (talk) 04:15, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Raw /cooked[edit]

By virtue of the tables showing mostly values for raw foods the article gives the misleading (as far as my understanding goes) impression that these foods need to be eaten raw to gain prebiotic benefits. Can somebody correct this please? (talk) 11:04, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

Well, I think that it's generally true, the cooked ones may not even appear on the list, as they may have an insignificant amount of prebiotic fiber left after cooking, yet cooked onion still appears on the list. Hmm. The study that was referenced also includes the food cooked, possibly I'll expand the wiki article to include that. Mike44456 (talk) 14:17, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Commensalism versus Mutualism[edit]

In the first sentence, the phrase "commensal microorganisms...contribute to the well-being of their host" is oxymoronic or self-contradictory. By definition, commensals neither help nor harm their hosts. If we derive benefit from the microorganisms that derive benefit from living in our gut, then both benefit. That's mutualism, no? (talk) 23:14, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

I hope that I do this correctly. This is the first time I've added to a discussion on wikipedia. Whether the author was implying that the human host did not benefit or that the microorganism did not benefit, it seems to me that either is incorrect and that the true relationship is one of mutualism. Both the human host and the microorganism benefit. Crgrove (talk) 17:26, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for confirming. I removed the word "commensal". I didn't replace it with "mutualistic" or something similar because the remaining phrase is clearly self-defining as is: "microorganisms (e.g., bacteria and fungi) that contribute to the well-being of their host." (talk) 04:06, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

Marcel Roberfroid Publications[edit]

Xb2u7Zjzc32 (talk) 23:50, 4 October 2015 (UTC)


The following appears to me to be [{WP:OR]] - I looked and didn't find a review discussing this.

Researchers now also focus on the distinction between short-chain, long-chain, and full-spectrum prebiotics. "Short-chain" prebiotics, e.g., oligofructose, contain 2–8 links per saccharide molecule and are typically fermented more quickly in the ascending colon of the colon providing nourishment to the bacteria in that area. Longer-chain prebiotics, e.g., inulin, contain 9-64 links per saccharide molecule, and tend to be fermented more slowly, nourishing bacteria predominantly in the descending colon. Full-spectrum prebiotics provide the full range of molecular link-lengths from 2-64 links per molecule, and nourish bacteria throughout the colon, e.g., Oligofructose-Enriched Inulin (OEI). The majority of research done on prebiotics is based on full-spectrum prebiotics, typically using OEI as the research substance.[1][2][3][4][5]


  1. ^ Kleessen B, Hartmann L, Blaut M (2001). "Oligofructose and long-chain inulin: influence on the gut microbial ecology of rats associated with a human faecal flora". British Journal of Nutrition. 86 (2): 291–300. PMID 11502244. doi:10.1079/BJN2001403. 
  2. ^ Femia AP, Luceri C, Dolara P, Giannini A, Biggeri A, Salvadori M, Clune Y, Collins KJ, Paglierani M, Caderni G (Nov 2002). "Antitumorigenic activity of the prebiotic inulin enriched with oligofructose in combination with the probiotics Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium lactis on azoxymethane-induced colon carcinogenesis in rats". Carcinogenesis. 23 (11): 1953–1960. PMID 12419846. doi:10.1093/carcin/23.11.1953. 
  3. ^ Hughes R, Rowland IR (Jan 2001). "Stimulation of apoptosis by two prebiotic chicory fructans in the rat colon". Carcinogenesis. 22 (1): 43–47. PMID 11159739. doi:10.1093/carcin/22.1.43. 
  4. ^ Bouhnik Y, Vahedi K, Achour L, Attar A, Salfati J, Pochart P, Marteau P, Flourié B, Bornet F, Rambaud JC (Jan 1999). "Short-chain fructo-oligosaccharide administration dose-dependently increases fecal bifidobacteria in healthy humans". J Nutr. 129 (1): 113–116. PMID 9915885. 
  5. ^ Tahiri M, Tressol JC, Arnaud J, Bornet F, Bouteloup-Demange C, Feillet-Coudray C, Ducros V, Pépin D, Brouns F, Rayssiguier AM, Coudray C (Nov 2001). "Five-week intake of short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides increases intestinal absorption and status of magnesium in postmenopausal women". J Bone Miner Res. 16 (11): 2152–2160. PMID 11697813. doi:10.1359/jbmr.2001.16.11.2152. 

-- Jytdog (talk) 23:49, 18 June 2016 (UTC)

Non-fiber prebiotics[edit]

There is a relatively new area of research on substances consumed orally, not absorbed by the consumer (human or other), NOT serving as an energy source for bacteria residing in the large intestine, yet having an impact on the microbiome. Flavonoids (subset of polyphenols) fall into this consideration - poorly to very poorly absorbed, yet thought to change the microbiome and have systemic effects on health of the microbiome's host. In my opinion there are not yet sufficient good secondary source references exploring this theory, and no gov't or non-gov't position papers expanding the definition of 'prebiotic,' so it's sort of a watch-for-future-development situation. This review explores the question: Dueñas M, Muñoz-González I, et al. A survey of modulation of gut microbiota by dietary polyphenols. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:850902. doi: 10.1155/2015/850902. Epub 2015 Feb 22. Review. PubMed PMID: 25793210. A second theory is that polyphenols reach the large intestine unabsorbed, are then partially metabolized by resident bacteria and subsequently absorbed across the large intestine. IMO, a reach, but there is lit on that, too. David notMD (talk) 15:29, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

David notMD: The presumed positive influence of polyphenols on prebiotic functions is one of those research areas frustrated by the ability to actually measure polyphenol fate and effects in vivo, something that is years or decades away from succeeding. Yet the article you cite and others like this propel the conjecture. Two companies that have been proposing mechanisms and products based on this thin science are here and here. Both are many years in development without commercial validation, impact or sales as of 2017. --Zefr (talk) 17:16, 18 May 2017 (UTC)
I agree, and am not recommending that any Wikipedia article try to encompass rapidly evolving research. David notMD (talk) 18:31, 18 May 2017 (UTC)