The effect of dietary fibres on intestinal barrier function has not been well studied, especially in the elderly. We aimed to investigate the potential of the dietary fibres oat β-glucan and wheat arabinoxylan to strengthen the intestinal barrier function and counteract acute non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug (indomethacin)-induced hyperpermeability in the elderly. A general population of elderly subjects (≥65 years, n = 49) was randomised to a daily supplementation (12g/day) of oat β-glucan, arabinoxylan or placebo (maltodextrin) for six weeks. The primary outcome was change in acute indomethacin-induced intestinal permeability from baseline, assessed by an in vivo multi-sugar permeability test. Secondary outcomes were changes from baseline in: gut microbiota composition, systemic inflammatory status and self-reported health. Despite a majority of the study population (85%) showing a habitual fibre intake below the recommendation, no significant effects on acute indomethacin-induced intestinal hyperpermeability in vivo or gut microbiota composition were observed after six weeks intervention with either dietary fibre, compared to placebo.
Keywords: NSAIDs; clinical trial; dietary fibres; elderly; gut health; intestinal barrier function; intestinal permeability; prebiotics.