The results of BENEO-Orafti's latest study demonstrate that supplementation of Orafti® Synergy1 in rats can promote life-long health.
Orafti® Synergy1 is a well-known prebiotic that improves health and well- being in humans. Such effects are of particular importance in aging given that a well-balanced gut microflora is associated with an improved inner protection and overall health and well-being. New findings examining life-long supplementation with Orafti® Synergy1 in rats demonstrate its beneficial impact in the aging process resulting in an improved quality of life and life prolongation.
The Aging Process
In our industrialized societies, people are living longer with the mean age continually increasing, resulting in a higher percentage of the population above the age of 65. In this elderly population, well-being is closely associated with leading an active, healthy and independent life. Nutritional strategies to decrease morbidity and to prolong life are therefore of great interest. The reduction in overall health that occurs during the aging process is often accompanied by an increase in chronic and acute infections, many of which have their origins in the gastrointestinal tract. To maintain good health at advanced age, an optimal balance of the intestinal tract and its microbiota is especially important.
The Negative Impact of an Unhealthy Gut Within the microbial ecology of the intestinal tract, age-related changes occur in the population levels of dominant groups of bacteria, e.g. decreased levels of beneficial bifidobacteria and elevated levels of clostridia, streptococci and enterobacteria. Such alterations in the microbial ecology of the gastrointestinal tract can contribute to malfunctioning of the intestines leading to inconveniences such as constipation, as well as an increased risk of developing diseases such as colitis or colon cancer. Ecological changes in the gut microflora of elderly individuals may induce physiological effects that go beyond the gastrointestinal tract and adversely affect overall health.
Prebiotic and synbiotic supplementation has been shown to restore the intestinal ecology and to improve well-being in the elderly.
This new study investigated the effects of life-long supplementation with
Orafti® Synergy1 on morphological and biological markers as well as lifespan
in rats (Rozan et al. in press). Three-month old rats (60 males and 60
females) were randomized into 4 groups: control male group, Orafti®
Synergy1 male group, control female group and Orafti® Synergy1 female
group. Rats received either a diet with 10% of Orafti® Synergy1 or a
standard diet (control) for 27 months.
The rats were weighed every 2 weeks and their food intake was evaluated on
four successive days every 4 to 6 weeks. Body composition evaluation,
anatomo-pathological analyses and biological samples (cholesterol and
triglyceride levels and glycemia) were taken at 12, 18 and 24 months of age.
The remainder of the rats were followed until the age they died. Rats were
housed in cages in a regular environment with an inverted light/dark cycle
and had free access to tap water and their specific diets. Throughout the
whole experiment, the animals were placed once a week for two hours in a
training environment to allow them to age harmoniously and to avoid any
disadvantages that occur when breeding in restricted cages.
(Study observations in Appendix)
The study showed that life-long supplementation with Orafti® Synergy1 in
rats delays the onset of age-related physiological and morphological changes
(body weight, fat mass, blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides) and
prolongs life. This is the first time that increased survival rates of both male
and female rats have been demonstrated after life-long supplementation with
a prebiotic. The mechanisms underlying this prolongation of life with Orafti®
Synergy1 supplementation remain unclear. It can be hypothesized, however,
that this effect is linked to the beneficial changes in biomarkers observed in
the current study. Inulin-type fructans stimulate health-promoting bacteria in
the large intestine, thereby improving digestive health which is vital to
maintaining overall health and well-being throughout life.
Rozan P, Nejdi A, Hidalgo S, Bisson J-F, Desor D, Messaoudi M (2008) Effects
of life-long intervention with an oligofructose-enriched inulin in rats on
general health and lifespan. Brit. J. Nutr. (in press)
BENEO-Orafti is the world leader in the production and sale of food
ingredients from chicory. Orafti® inulin and oligofructose have been proven
to improve the balance of the body's intestinal flora by stimulating our own
beneficial bifidobacteria. An improved intestinal flora also helps the body to
absorb more essential nutrients such as calcium from the diet.
A healthy digestive system contributes to an overall feeling of well-being.
Therefore Orafti® ingredients can be the basis for well-balanced food
products that improve your digestive health and make you feel good. With a
head office in Tienen, Belgium, the company operates in more than 75
countries and has production units in Oreye, Belgium and Pemuco, Chile.
The body weight of the males in the Synergy1 group was lower compared to
the control males during the whole experiment and differences reached
significance at 6 (P<0.01), 9, 12, 21 and 24 months of age (all P<0.05). The
body weight of the females in the Synergy1 group was also lower compared
to control group and differences between groups were significant at 6
(P<0.05), 9 (P<0.01) and 12 months of age (P<0.05). No consistent changes
in the level of food intake were observed throughout the study period. In the
male rats, the level of fat mass in the Synergy1 group showed a tendency
towards lower deposition compared to the controls. Also for the female rats,
a similar trend towards a lower fat mass deposition in the Synergy1 group
compared to the control group was observed. In the male rats, cholesterol
levels were similar between both groups at 12 months of age and levels were
significantly lower in Synergy1 group after 18 and 24 months of age (P<0.01
and P<0.05, respectively). Triglyceride levels in males were also lower in the
Synergy1 group compared to the control group during the whole intervention
and differences were significant at 18 and 24 months of age (P<0.05 and
P<0.005, respectively). In the female rats, levels of triglycerides were also
significantly lower in the Synergy1 group compared to the control group at 18
months of age (P<0.05 for both). Fasting glycemia levels did not differ
between groups at any time point.
Anatomo-pathological analysis of organs (prostate, bladder, seminal vesicles,
ovaries, distal part of the colon and brain) showed no specific abnormalities
or differences in lesions between groups.
Interestingly, male rats receiving Synergy1 showed a well-groomed fur and
were in a better condition compared to rats in the control group at 24 months
of age. In their home cage, rats in the Synergy1 group continued to be
interested by the activity in the animal room (entrance of animal care people,
food distribution, etc.) as they came in front of their cage in a rearing
position and they played with their congeners. In the stimulation program,
they showed curiosity and more activity than the control counterparts. No
difference was observed in the appearance of the female rats.
The survival rate of the male rats in the Synergy1 group was significantly
higher compared to the control group at the age of 18 (100% in the Synergy1
group vs. 76% in controls, P<0.001) and 24 months (81% in the Synergy1
group vs. 52% in controls, P<0.001). At 24 months of age, the Synergy1
group was composed of 35% more rats than the control group. The survival
rate in the Synergy1 female group tended to be higher than in the female
control group at 12 months of age (100% in the Synergy1 group vs. 95% in
controls, P<0.06) and differences were significant at 24 months of age (43%
in the Synergy1 group vs. 29% in controls, P<0.05). At 24 months of age, the
Synergy1 group was composed of 33% more rats than the control group.