Prebiotics Effects of a prebiotic formulation on the composition of the faecal microbiota of people with functional constipation (Jan, 2024, n=61, guar & acacia gum) "In adults with functional constipation, the intake of the prebiotic was associated with a decline of species richness and Shannon diversity"

Michael Harrop

Active member
Jul 6, 2023



Prebiotics are defined as substances which selectively promote beneficial gut microbes leading to a health benefit for the host. Limited trials have been carried out investigating their effect on the microbiota composition of individuals afflicted by functional constipation with equivocal outcomes. In a 21-day randomised, controlled clinical trial involving 61 adults with functional constipation, a prebiotic formulation with partially hydrolysed guar gum and acacia gum as its main ingredients, significantly increased complete spontaneous bowel motions in the treatment group. This follow-up exploratory analysis investigated whether the prebiotic was associated with changes to the composition, richness, and diversity of the faecal microbiota.


Participants provided a faecal specimen at baseline and on day 21 of the intervention period. Whole genome metagenomic shotgun sequencing comprehensively assessed taxonomic and functional composition of the microbiota.


Linear mixed effects regression models adjusted for potential confounders showed a significant reduction in species richness of 28.15 species (95% CI − 49.86, − 6.43) and Shannon diversity of 0.29 units (95% CI − 0.56, − 0.02) over the trial period in the prebiotic group. These changes were not observed in the control group, and functional composition was unchanged in both groups.


In adults with functional constipation, the intake of a prebiotic formulation was associated with a decline of species richness and Shannon diversity. Further research regarding the associations between prebiotics and the composition and function of the gut microbiota is warranted.

This is not surprising. I think prebiotics are fairly over-hyped. Specific ones boost specific bacteria; they're not just widely beneficial and selective for only beneficial microbes.

Fermented foods and prebiotics were never a "solution" or "broadly beneficial" for me when I had IBS-C. Nor are they now that I have IBS-D.
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