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Chapter 14 : Prebiotics and Lipid Metabolism
Category: Clinical Microbiology
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Several oligosaccharides which strictly correspond to the definition of prebiotics exhibit interesting effects on lipid metabolism. The resulting changes in the intestinal microbiota composition or fermentation activity could be implicated in the modulation of fatty acid and cholesterol metabolism. There is not a single biochemical locus through which prebiotics modulate serum, hepatic, and whole-body lipid content in animals. The effects observed depend on the pathophysiological and nutritional conditions. This may help to explain why in humans, where such conditions cannot be so rigorously controlled (namely, in terms of nutrient intake), the reported effects of prebiotics on circulating blood lipids are much more variable. Most of the data described to date have been obtained in animal studies; the relevance of such observations on obesity and cardiovascular disease risk in humans remains a key question, which is also addressed in this chapter. Fundamental research devoted to understanding the biochemical and physiological events (on glucose and lipid homeostasis, on gut hormone secretion, on satiety), as well as clinical research focusing on the target population, is required to achieve progress in the new area of the nutritional management of metabolic syndromes, based on modulation of the gut microbiota and intestinal function by specific food components.
Effects of inulin-type fructans on lipid metabolism in humansa