The prebiotics concept, which was launched in 1995, concerns nondigested and selectively fermented carbohydrate food ingredients. It was thought that their effect in the colon could reduce risk for disease. The prebiotic concept is revisited and possible mechanisms are proposed. The physiologic consequences of prebiotic consumption are evaluated in terms of potential to reduce risk for disease. This is a compilation of several research papers, each of which complied with the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki.
For human dietary intervention trials, the aim was to perform double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over studies. A parallel design was used only for long-term studies. Most research has been done with β(2-1) fructans, so they are used as an example of prebiotics here.
The results are relevant to the fields of gut function, lipid metabolism, mineral absorption, bone formation, immunology, and cancer.
It is observed that modification of intestinal flora by inherently selectively fermented prebiotics is central in determining their nutritional properties. They interact positively through the large intestinal surface with various physiologic processes and are thought to improve health status by reducing risk for disease (markers).