Full text loading...
Chapter 23 : Prebiotics in Human Medicine
The main areas that are reviewed in this chapter include constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease), and colorectal cancer. Constipation may also be a side effect of medication intake, in particular, antidepressants, antihistamines, opioids, and diuretics. Diarrhea can be acute (less than 14 days duration and usually caused by enteric infections), persistent (lasting more than 14 days), or chronic (lasting 30 days or more). Antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) usually occurs 2 to 8 weeks after treatment with antibiotics, especially broad-spectrum antimicrobial agents. Only one study of the effect of prebiotics consumption on prevention of traveler’s diarrhea has been published. In this study, 244 healthy subjects who were traveling to destinations at high or medium risk for traveler’s diarrhea were randomized to groups receiving either fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) (10 g/day) or a placebo orally for 2 weeks prior to and during a 2-week excursion. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a very common gastrointestinal disorder associated with a wide range of symptoms, including abdominal pain or discomfort, loose or hard stools, bloating, and flatulence. Generally, treatment of IBS is focused on medications rather than nutritional approaches. The decline in immune function is associated mainly with changes in T-cell populations, although other components of the immune system are also affected. Clinical studies of applications of prebiotics in human medicine are limited compared to the numbers of reports regarding probiotics.