Effect of nondigestible oligosaccharides on large-bowel functions, blood lipid concentrations and glucose absorption in young healthy male subjects

Eur J Clin Nutr. 1999 Jan;53(1):1-7. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1600668.


Objective: To study the effect of the intake of 15 g nondigestible oligosaccharides per day on various parameters of large-bowel function, as well as on blood lipid concentrations and glucose absorption in man.

Design: Latin square, randomized, double-blind, diet-controlled.

Setting: Metabolic research unit.

Subjects: Twelve apparently healthy men (mean age 23 years), recruited from the Institute's pool of volunteers, no drop-outs.

Interventions: Four treatment periods of 3 weeks: inulin, fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) and control; analyses of stool weight, intestinal transit, faecal pH, short-chain fatty acids, bile acids, faecal enzymes, blood lipids and glucose absorption.

Results: As compared to the control treatment: higher concentration of faecal acetate (inulin and GOS, P < 0.05) and valerate (inulin, P < 0.05), significantly lower concentration of faecal deoxycholic acid (inulin and FOS, P < 0.05 and P< 0.02, respectively) and beta-glucuronidase activity (inulin and GOS, P < 0.05 and P < 0.02 respectively). Other changes of faecal parameters and those of blood lipids and glucose absorption were statistically not significant.

Conclusions: RESULTS indicate that nondigestible oligosaccharides are (partly) fermented in the human colon, but in healthy young men the effects are limited. Also the consumption of 15 g nondigestible oligosaccharides does not seem to alter blood lipid concentrations and glucose absorption in our young healthy adults.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Chemical Analysis
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fiber / metabolism*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Eating
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Feces / enzymology
  • Glucose / pharmacokinetics*
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Glucuronidase / analysis
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Intestine, Large / physiology*
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Male
  • Oligosaccharides / administration & dosage
  • Oligosaccharides / metabolism*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tryptophanase / analysis
  • Urease / analysis
  • beta-Glucosidase / analysis


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Lipids
  • Oligosaccharides
  • beta-Glucosidase
  • Glucuronidase
  • Urease
  • Tryptophanase
  • Glucose