Study finds prebiotics improve symptoms of constipation in children
Scientists conducted a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial where constipated 2-5 year olds were given daily doses of inulin-type fructans, or a placebo, over six weeks. Inulin-type fructans are a kind of indigestible prebiotic (read more over in the Probiotics Learning Lab) fibre that reaches the large intestine intact, where it is then fermented by probiotic bacteria, particularly the Bifidobacteria genus. A species of Bifidobacteria, Bifidobacterium infantis, is found in higher concentrations in children and thought to be beneficial for their wellbeing and immunity.
Published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, the paper found that two daily doses were able ‘to improve stool consistency as compared with children having received the placebo’. The study authors also noticed an improvement in bowel regularity in the supplemented group, and concluded that ‘supplementing the daily diet with a rather low dose of inulin-type fructans…seems to be promising for treating functional constipation in young children.’
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1 Ricardo Closa-Monasterolo, Natalia Ferre, Gemma Castillejo-DeVillasante, Veronica Luque, Mariona Gispert-Llaurado, Marta Zaragoza-Jordana, Stephen Theis & Joaquin Escribano (2016): The use of inulin-type fructans improves stool consistency in constipated children. A randomised clinical trial: pilot study, International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, DOI: 10.1080/09637486.2016.1263605