Objective: To assess the effects of a prebiotic supplement and usual calcium intake on body composition changes during pubertal growth.
Study design: We measured anthropometry and body fat with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in 97 young adolescents who were randomized to receive either a daily prebiotic supplement or maltodextrin (control) for 1 year.
Results: Subjects who received the prebiotic supplement had a smaller increase in body mass index (BMI) compared with the control group (BMI difference 0.52 +/- 0.16 kg/m2, P = .016), BMI Z-score (difference 0.13 +/- 0.06, P = .048) and total fat mass (difference 0.84 +/- 0.36 kg, P = .022). The prebiotic group maintained their baseline BMI Z-score (0.03 +/- 0.01, paired t test, P = .30), although BMI Z-score increased significantly in the control group (0.13 +/- 0.03, P < .001). In considering subjects whose usual calcium intake was > or = 700 mg/d, those who received the prebiotic supplement had a relative change in BMI that was 0.82 kg/m2 less than control subjects (P < .01), and BMI Z-score that was 0.20 less than control subjects (P = .003). Differences tended to be maintained 1 year after supplementation was stopped.
Conclusion: Prebiotic supplementation and avoidance of a low calcium intake can have significant effects in modulating BMI and other body composition changes during puberty.