Health effects and sources of prebiotic dietary fiber

Justin L. Carlson, Jennifer M. Erickson, Beate B. Lloyd, Joanne L. Slavin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


Prebiotic dietary fibers act as carbon sources for primary and secondary fermentation pathways in the colon, and support digestive health in many ways. Fructooligosaccharides, inulin, and galactooligosaccharides are universally agreed-upon prebiotics. The objective of this paper is to summarize the 8 most prominent health benefits of prebiotic dietary fibers that are due to their fermentability by colonic microbiota, as well as summarize the 8 categories of prebiotic dietary fibers that support these health benefits. Although not all categories exhibit similar effects in human studies, all of these categories promote digestive health due to their fermentability. Scientific and regulatory definitions of prebiotics differ greatly, although health benefits of these compounds are uniformly agreed upon to be due to their fermentability by gut microbiota. Scientific evidence suggests that 8 categories of compounds all exhibit health benefits related to their metabolism by colonic taxa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbernzy005
JournalCurrent Developments in Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Carlson et al.


  • Dietary fiber
  • Digestive health
  • Gut microbiome
  • Gut microbiota
  • Prebiotic


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