Effect of arabinogalactan on the gut microbiome: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial in healthy adults

Nutrition. 2021 Oct;90:111273. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2021.111273. Epub 2021 Apr 20.


Objective: Promising evidence suggests beneficial health effects of arabinogalactan, but little is known about the effect of this non-digestible carbohydrate on the gut microbiota, a crucial mediator of human health. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of an arabinogalactan product (ResistAid) on the fecal microbiome and short-chain fatty acids and gastrointestinal tolerance in healthy adults in a randomized, double-blind, crossover trial.

Methods: Thirty adults were randomly assigned to consume 15 g/d maltodextrin (control) or ResistAid for 6 wk.

Results: At week 6, compared to placebo, ResistAid supplementation led to a significant decrease in the ratio of fecal Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes, driven by an increase in Bacteroidetes and a decrease in Firmicutes. Moreover, the relative abundance of Bifidobacterium tended to increase with ResistAid supplementation. Additionally, ResistAid significantly decreased the α-diversity of the fecal microbiome. Predicted functional abundances based on 16S rRNA sequences showed that ResistAid supplementation increased the gene abundance of the gut microbiome for α-l-rhamnosidase, β-fructosidase, and levanase, as well as tricarboxylic acid and vitamin B6 biosynthesis pathways. Fecal isovaleric, valeric, and hexanoic acids were significantly lower after ResistAid consumption. There were no statistically significant changes in bowel habit, stool consistency, gastrointestinal tolerance symptoms, chemistry profile, metabolic panel, or vitals, suggesting that consumption of 15 g daily ResistAid over 6 wk is safe.

Conclusion: These results demonstrate that the gut microbiome composition and predicted functions can be modulated by ResistAid consumption, perhaps suggesting a mechanistic explanation on its reported benefits in metabolic parameters and the immune system.

Keywords: 16S rRNA sequencing; Arabinogalactan; Diversity; Feces; Fiber; Predicted metagenome; ResistAid; Short-chain fatty acids.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Galactans
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics


  • Galactans
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • arabinogalactan