Prebiotics and fiber could help improve cardiometabolic health of Mexican children

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / JONGHO SHIN
© Getty Images / JONGHO SHIN
Specific genera and species of gut bacteria are associated with increased levels of inflammatory and other detrimental biomarkers in obese and overweight Mexican children, potentially offering opportunities for prebiotics to target the gut microbiota and improve cardiometabolic health.

Data from 172 children and adolescents revealed, for example, strong associations between the inflammatory marker vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) and Veillonellaceae​, while intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), a marker of endothelial dysfunction, was associated with Ruminococcus​ in obese children.

In addition, Ruminococcus​ was positively associated with cholesterol in obese adolescents, and between Bacteroides​ and ICAM-1.

“Given that an early onset of obesity results in metabolic disorders, targeting the gut microbiota through dietary and therapeutic interventions may be valuable,”​ wrote the researchers in Nutrients​. “Future research targeting improved endothelial function through altered gut microbial health should focus on the role of dietary supplements with high-fiber foods, inulin, or ITF [Inulin Like Fructans].”

Study details

The researchers studied the relationship between endothelial dysfunction (EDF) markers and gut microbiota diversity in obese Mexican children and adolescents in the city of Toluca.

The data revealed that obese subjects had higher levels of triglycerides, insulin, homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistant (HOMA-IR), leptin, C-reactive protein (CRP), and ICAM-1. Obese children and adolescents also had higher levels of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, said the researchers.

In addition, the obese subjects had higher relative abundance of Firmicutes​ and lower relative abundance of Bacteroidetes. ​The Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes​ ratio is reportedly a good biomarker for obesity, with data from a 2005 study indicating that obese mice had lower levels of Bacteroidetes​ and higher levels of Firmicutes​, compared with lean mice. Similar findings have been reported in humans.

“These results suggest that obese Mexican children and adolescents had increased levels of CRP and a reduction of adiponectin, which causes higher expression of EDF markers, affecting endothelial function and associating with changes in the gut microbiota,” wrote the researchers.

So what could be done? The researchers suggested that dietary fiber, antioxidant-containing food/vegetables, or prebiotic supplementation with inulin or inulin like fructans (ITF) “could be important therapeutic solutions”.

“It has been reported in a mice model that ITF can help improve endothelial function by increasing nitric oxide (NO) synthase and reducing oxidative stress. ITF also improves gut health by increasing NO-producing bacteria and increasing Akkermansia muciniphila abundance, which may help reduce the level of EDF markers in patients,” ​they wrote.

“Limitation on eating high-fat food or consumption of the Western diet is also very important.”

Source: Nutrients
10​(12): 2009., doi: 10.3390/nu10122009
“Gut Microbiota and Endothelial Dysfunction Markers in Obese Mexican Children and Adolescents”
Authors: K. Nirmalkar et al.

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