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Europe: Prebiotic chicory root fiber maintains microbiota balance in children

A new study demonstrates that daily consumption of chicory root fiber in children aged three to six years, can keep the level of bifidobacteria higher and more stable, also during antibiotic treatment.

The study was conducted by professor Tamàs Decsi, University of Pécs, Department of Paediatrics, Clinical Center of the University of Pécs, Medical School in Hungary.

“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,” said Anke Sentko, VP regulatory affairs and nutrition communication at Beneo.

“This kind of early disturbance of the microbiota composition can create an imbalance in the gut which may affect health in later years.”

Using a methodology and a randomized, double-blind, parallel, placebo-controlled trial, the study examined the supplementation of 6g chicory root fiber (composition of Orafti Inulin and Orafti Oligofructose), using maltodextrin as the control, amongst 258 healthy children aged three to six years, over a 24-week period during winter.

The findings showed that regular consumption of prebiotic chicory root fiber keeps the level of beneficial bifidobacteria higher and more stable, reducing the antibiotic-induced disturbances of the microbiota composition.

In general, the children undergoing antibiotic treatment showed a reduction of microbiota, including bifidobacteria.

However, those children also receiving the prebiotic supplementation demonstrated a significantly higher presence of bifidobacteria versus the control.

The results build on a previous publication that demonstrated significantly reduced fibril episodes and sinusitis cases resulting from prebiotic chicory root fiber supplementation in young children of the same age range.