Effect of 8-weeks prebiotics/probiotics supplementation on alcohol metabolism and blood biomarkers of healthy adults: a pilot study

Eur J Nutr. 2018 Jun;57(4):1523-1534. doi: 10.1007/s00394-017-1437-8. Epub 2017 Mar 19.


Purpose: Modulating gut bacteria via regular prebiotics/probiotics consumption may improve the metabolism of acute alcohol ingestion. This study investigated the impact of 8-weeks prebiotics/probiotics supplementation on microbiome changes and responses to acute alcohol consumption.

Methods: 38 participants (21 females, 23.6 ± 3.4 kg m-2, mean ± SD) attended the laboratory on two occasions separated by an 8-week intervention period. On each of these visits, a dose of alcohol (0.40 ± 0.04 g kg-1, Vodka + Soda-Water) was consumed over 10 min. Breath alcohol concentration was sampled over 5 h and alcohol pharmacokinetics was analysed using WinNonlin non-compartmental modelling (C max, t max, AUClast). For the intervention, participants were randomised to receive Placebo + Placebo (PLA), Placebo + Prebiotics (PRE), Probiotics + Placebo (PRO), or Probiotics + Prebiotics (SYN) in a double-blinded manner. Probiotics were a commercially available source of Lactobacillus acidophilus (NCFM®) and Bifidobacterium lactis (Bi-07). Prebiotics were a commercially available source of Larch Gum (from Larix occidentalis). Placebo was microcrystalline cellulose. Each visit, participants provided a stool sample, which was analysed to determine the presence of L. acidophilus and B. lactis. Differences between trials were analysed using paired samples t tests.

Results: Increased counts for at least one bacterial strain (L. acidophilus or B. lactis) were observed for all participants on SYN (n = 10) and PRO (n = 10) trials. No difference in C max or t max was observed between trials when analysed by treatment condition or microbiome outcome. A significant decrease in AUClast was observed between trials for PLA (p = 0.039) and PRE (p = 0.030) treatments, and when increases in at least one bacterial strain (p = 0.003) and no microbiome changes (p = 0.016) were observed.

Conclusion: Consumption of probiotics appears to alter faecal counts of supplemental bacterial strains in otherwise healthy individuals. However, translation to any possible beneficial impact on alcohol metabolism remains to be elucidated.

Keywords: Alcohol; Lipids; Pharmacokinetics; Prebiotics; Probiotics; Synbiotics.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prebiotics*
  • Probiotics*
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Prebiotics