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Prebiotics Found To Reduce Gastrointestinal Discomfort Associated With Psychological Stress

April 27, 2011: 11:23 AM EST
College undergraduates suffering from colds, flu, and stomach distress because their immune response was lowered by academic stress benefited from prebiotic supplementation in a randomized double-blind clinical study conducted at the University of Florida. The eight-week study, which coincided with fall final exams, involved 427 students variously diagnosed with gastrointestinal problems (i.e., diarrhea, indigestion, reflux syndromes, abdominal pain) and colds or flu. The students were given either 2.5 g or 5.0 g of prebiotic galactooligosaccharides, or a placebo.  Using measurements of stress and gastrointestinal symptoms, the researchers found a positive correlation between stress and sickness. They found further that supplementation with the prebiotics lowered gastrointestinal symptom scores and reduced the number of days of cold and flu symptoms by boosting the immune system.
Christine Hughes, et al., "Galactooligosaccharide supplementation reduces stress-induced gastrointestinal dysfunction and days of cold or flu: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial in healthy university students", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , April 27, 2011, © American Society for Nutrition
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