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Gluco and galacto-oligosaccharides in food: update on health effects and relevance in healthy nutrition

Rastall, Robert A.

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care: November 2013 - Volume 16 - Issue 6 - p 675–678
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e328365b5fd
FUNCTIONAL FOODS AND DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS: Edited by Nathalie M. Delzenne and Gerard E. Mullin

Purpose of review Much of the recent research literature in the field of prebiotics is on galacto-oligosaccharides. Gluco-oligosaccharides represent an interesting emerging class of candidate prebiotics.

Recent findings Recent research on galacto-oligosaccharides has shown that these can have a positive impact on immunity, calcium absorption and markers of metabolic syndrome. The fact that galacto-oligosaccharides and gluco-oligosaccharides are enzymatically manufactured means that novel forms have been produced, and preliminary evaluation looks to be encouraging.

Summary Galacto-oligosaccharides are rapidly gaining an impressive weight of evidence for health effects in humans. The field will generate novel molecules, which may be considered as prebiotics in the future.

Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, The University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading, UK

Correspondence to Robert A. Rastall, Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, The University of Reading, PO Box 226, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 7AP, UK. Tel: +44 0118 378 6726; e-mail:

© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins