European journal of clinical nutrition vol:62 issue:2 pages:225-231
Objective:To investigate the influence of different pre- and probiotics on faecal beta-glucuronidase and beta-glucosidase activity, as one of the claimed beneficial effects of pre- and probiotics is the hypothesis that these substrates are able to reduce the production of toxic and carcinogenic metabolites by suppressing specific enzyme activities in the colon.Setting:Department of Gastrointestinal Research, University Hospital Gasthuisberg, KU Leuven, Belgium.Design and subjects:The effect was evaluated in a randomized, crossover study in 53 healthy volunteers who were randomly assigned to one of five treatment groups.Interventions:At the start and after a 4-week treatment period, the healthy volunteers collected faeces during 72 h. Lactulose and oligofructose-enriched inulin (OF-IN) were chosen as prebiotics, whereas Lactobacillus casei Shirota, Bifidobacterium breve and Saccharomyces boulardii were selected as probiotics. Two synbiotic combinations were evaluated as well. The enzyme activity was assessed spectrophotometricly.Results:Lactulose and OF-IN significantly decreased beta-glucuronidase activity, whereas a tendency to a decreased beta-glucuronidase activity was observed after L. casei Shirota and B. breve intake. To the contrary, B. breve increased beta-glucosidase levels. Supplementation with the synbiotic did not appear to be more beneficial than either compound alone. No influence of S. boulardii was noted.Conclusions:Administration of lactulose, OF-IN, L. casei Shirota or B. breve resulted in a decrease of the beta-glucuronidase activity, which is considered beneficial for the host.European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2008) 62, 225-231; doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602706; published online 28 February 2007.