Complex relationships exist between the gut microbiota and the human hosts. Emerging evidence suggests that intestinal microbiota within the colon may be involved in the pathogenesis of the metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The use of dietary prebiotic supplements to restore an optimal balance of intestinal microbiota can potentially benefit individuals with such disorders.
Recently a systematic review of twenty-six randomised controlled trials involving 831 participants was performed. This revealed that dietary prebiotic supplementation increased self-reported feelings of satiety in healthy adults. In addition, prebiotic supplementation also significantly reduced postprandial glucose and insulin concentrations. Other effects were contradictory such as effects on body weight, peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1 concentrations and inflammatory markers were contradictory. Further large-scale interventions are required of longer duration also evaluating gut microbiota.