Metabolic syndrome is a set of disorders that increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The gut microbiota is altered toward a less beneficial composition in overweight adults and this change can be accompanied by inflammation. Prebiotics such as galactooligosaccharides can positively modify the gut microbiota and immune system; some may also reduce blood lipids. We assessed the effect of a galactooligosaccharide mixture [Bi2muno (B-GOS)] on markers of metabolic syndrome, gut microbiota, and immune function in 45 overweight adults with ≥3 risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome in a double-blind, randomized, placebo (maltodextrin)-controlled, crossover study (with a 4-wk wash-out period between interventions). Whole blood, saliva, feces, and anthropometric measurements were taken at the beginning, wk 6, and end of each 12-wk intervention period. Predominant groups of fecal bacteria were quantified and full blood count, markers of inflammation and lipid metabolism, insulin, and glucose were measured. B-GOS increased the number of fecal bifidobacteria at the expense of less desirable groups of bacteria. Increases in fecal secretory IgA and decreases in fecal calprotectin, plasma C-reactive protein, insulin, total cholesterol (TC), TG, and the TC:HDL cholesterol ratio were also observed. Administration of B-GOS to overweight adults resulted in positive effects on the composition of the gut microbiota, the immune response, and insulin, TC, and TG concentrations. B-GOS may be a useful candidate for the enhancement of gastrointestinal health, immune function, and the reduction of metabolic syndrome risk factors in overweight adults.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01004120.