Revealing the Mechanistic Role in Human Physiology and Beneficial Aspects of Short Chain Fatty Acid (SCFA) Production in the Gastro-Intestinal Tract (GIT)

Background and Objectives
Increased SCFA production from prebiotic consumption is considered as (part of) the mechanism through which prebiotics exert beneficial effects on gut health and metabolic function. Since SCFA production is often not considered as a health benefit as such, this activity is intended to:
• review and evaluate coherent evidence of the beneficial action(s) of SCFAs,
• clarify whether it is scientifically justified and appropriate to consider alterations in SCFA production as a health benefit/ biomarker;
• and obtain a consensus view on microbial SCFA formation as a benefit for human physiology.

The conclusions on the link between health and SCFA production were refined during the workshop ‘The Role of Gut Derived Short Chain Fatty Acids in Human Health’ (28-29 November, Brussels, Belgium). An enlarged panel of multidisciplinary experts contributed to this refinement.
These conclusions will provide guidance to facilitate the design and interpretation of academic and industrial prebiotic research. Furthermore, the consensus may support the development of health claims (procedures) on prebiotics.