A mixture of trans-galactooligosaccharides reduces markers of metabolic syndrome and modulates the fecal microbiota and immune function of overweight adults

J Nutr. 2013 Mar;143(3):324-31. doi: 10.3945/jn.112.166132. Epub 2013 Jan 9.


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.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Bacteria / growth & development
  • Bifidobacterium / drug effects
  • Bifidobacterium / growth & development
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Galactose / pharmacology
  • Galactose / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Immunity / drug effects*
  • Immunoglobulin A / metabolism
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Insulin / blood
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex / metabolism
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism
  • Metagenome / drug effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Oligosaccharides / pharmacology
  • Oligosaccharides / therapeutic use*
  • Overweight / drug therapy*
  • Overweight / immunology
  • Overweight / metabolism
  • Overweight / microbiology
  • Prebiotics*
  • Risk Factors


  • Biomarkers
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Insulin
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex
  • Lipids
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Prebiotics
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Galactose

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01004120