Investigating the potential of prebiotics to rebalance and maintain health
Task Force Information
A prebiotic is a food ingredient that selectively stimulates growth and/or the activity of microbial species inhabiting the host, which may bring about health benefits. A better understanding of mechanisms of prebiotics is still needed. The task force aims at providing mechanistic insights linking prebiotics to individual health benefits.
Task Force Members
- Role of prebiotics in bacterial and viral infection, and vaccination efficiency
Recent research suggests a beneficial effect of nondigestible carbohydrates-type prebiotics consumption on immunity and resistance to infections. The purpose of this activity is to review and collect and assess the scientific evidence and provide academic and industry scientists working in the prebiotic field with answers regarding the potential impact on viral and bacterial diseases and vaccination efficacy.
Start date: September 2022 | End date: Q2 2024
- Prebiotics sandpit: Identifying knowledge gaps and a roadmap for building a health claims portfolio
The Task Force is organising a workshop taking place on 25 Oct 2023 as a side-event of the ILSI Europe Annual Symposium.
This activity seeks to bring together leading scientific experts, industry leaders and independent regulatory advisors in an interactive and creative environment to identify current gaps in our mechanistic understanding of prebiotics, and propose next steps to fill these gaps. A follow up report will be submitted for publication.
Start date: Q2 2023 | End date: Q1 2024
- Role of prebiotics in cognitive functioning
The Expert Group will soon start working on the role of prebiotics in cognitive functioning. A perspective paper will provide a short synopsis of the field, and propose a list of recommendations to move it forward.
Start date: Oct 2023 | End date: Q3 2024
In the pipeline
- Prebiotics and alternatives to animal testing
The TF is developing a new project on prebiotics and alternatives to animal testing. The aim will be to understand the ways in which various prebiotic ingredients function and evaluate them using nonanimal testing methods to uncover their mechanisms of action. The activity is shared with AAT Task Force.
Expected kick-off: Q3 2024
Role of prebiotics in cognitive functioning: What do we know and where to go next?
Background and objectives
The aim of the activity will be to produce a perspective article that provides a short synopsis of the field, and proposes a list of recommendations to move the field forward. Specifically, it will highlight the need to perform studies in healthy participants that test the potential “rescuing” effects of prebiotics under conditions where cognition may be transiently compromised. Ultimately, such studies would allow better estimation of the magnitude of effects of prebiotics, since current studies largely yield null findings.
- Perspective paper
- Presentation at FENS 2023
Expert group members
Role of prebiotics in bacterial and viral infection, and vaccination efficiency
Background and Objectives
Recent research, including human clinical research, gut microbiota effects and resultant metabolites, suggests a beneficial effect of non-digestible carbohydrates-type prebiotics consumption on immunity and resistance to infections. In this context, the purpose of this review is to collect and assess the scientific evidence and provide academic and industry scientists working in the prebiotic field with answers regarding the potential impact on viral and bacterial diseases and vaccination efficacy. The review will give the current status for prebioticsimpact on infections, both prevention or recovery,and in supporting vaccination efficacy, for academicsand industry scientists in this field. Especially in the SARS-Cov2 crisis, such a review may offer guidance to academia and industry to propose research or to manufacture food products with prebiotics for healthier diets to support immunity in vulnerable individuals.
- Systematic review
- Presentation at FENS 2023
Expert Group Members
European Journal of Nutrition 2018;57(1):1-24. Commissioned by the Functional Foods and the Prebiotics Task Forces.
Nutrition Research Reviews. 2015;28:42–66. Commissioned by the Prebiotics Task Force.
ILSI Europe Concise Monograph. 2013:1-32. Commissioned by the Prebiotics and Probiotics Task Forces. Translation available in Portuguese and Japanese.
British Journal of Nutrition. 2010;104(Suppl 2):S1-S63. Commissioned by the Prebiotics Task Force.
Completed Expert Groups
Overview of completed activities
- Prediction of individual responses to prebiotics and probiotics intervention (collaboration with Probiotics Task Force)
- Understanding the Relationship Between the Molecular Structure and the Effects of Prebiotic Compounds on Microbiota and its Metabolites
- Joint nutrition cluster activity on ‘mechanistic insights into the gut-brain axis' in collaboration with Early Nutrition and Long-Term Health; Health Benefit Assessment of Foods; Nutrition, Immunity & Inflammation; Nutrition & Brain Health; and Probiotics Task Forces
- Updated concise monograph - Dietary Probiotics, Prebiotics and the Gut Microbiota in Human Health (collaboration with Probiotics Task Force)
- Revealing the Mechanistic Role in Human Physiology and Beneficial Aspects of Short Chain Fatty Acid (SCFA) Production in the Gastro-Intestinal Tract (GIT)