NutriLeads’ Benicaros Strengthens Healthy Gut Microbiota, Study Shows

May 2, 2023 – An ex vivo study has demonstrated that Benicaros®, an upcycled soluble carrot fiber from NutriLeads BV, has the right level of structural complexity to produce consistent, significant and beneficial effects on the gut microbiota despite differences in individual microbiota composition. This unique precision prebiotic robustly stimulated growth of common beneficial gut bacteria, significantly increased metabolite production and ultimately created a more consistent gut microbiota composition among healthy subjects. The results were recently published in the peer-reviewed journal, Nutrients.

“It is remarkable that a small serving of only 300 milligrams of Benicaros can display such consistent prebiotic effects despite the fact that composition of gut microbiota is unique to every individual,” said Annick Mercenier, Ph.D., NutriLeads co-founder and Senior Director R&D. “Variability in the gut microbial communities in individuals renders it challenging to demonstrate efficacy of functional ingredients. The high consistency effect of Benicaros on microbial composition and metabolite production could support more predictable health effects.”

Unprecedented Study Protocol

This new study compared the prebiotic effects of three dietary fibers of various specificity (i.e., structural complexity) on the intestinal microbiota of healthy adults. Fecal samples of each subject were incubated for 48 hours with 0.3 grams and 1.5 grams doses of Benicaros, a carrot-derived rhamnogalacturonan I or cRG-I (medium-high specificity), 1.5 grams of inulin (low specificity) and 1.5 grams of xanthan (high specificity). High-throughput ex vivo SIFR® technology from Cryptobiotix SA, a validated gut digestion and fermentation simulator that generates predictive insights for clinical findings, was used to measure changes in gut microbiota composition and function. “This innovative technology enabled analysis of 24 individuals, an unprecedented number of subjects compared with the commonly used in vitro gut models,” said Dr. Mercenier.

Key Findings: Benicaros has Precision Prebiotic Activity

The results illustrated how the specificity or complexity of dietary fiber structures determine which bacterial communities can ferment and benefit from a dietary intervention. Precision targeting of specific beneficial bacteria common in the core human microbiome could help ensure consistent prebiotic health benefits across diverse populations.

  • cRG-I selectively stimulated taxa or species of bacteria that were consistently present among human adults, resulting in lower microbiota composition differences between subjects. The homogenizing effect of cRG-I on the gut microbiota was dose-dependent. In contrast, both inulin and xanthan increased interpersonal differences.

Benicaros significantly increased a broad spectrum of 30 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) belonging to Bifidobacteriaceae (2), Bacteroidaceae (4), Acidaminococcaceae (1), unclassified Clostridiales (1), Lachnospiraceae (18), Ruminococcaceae (3), and Veillonellaceae (1), including OTUs of health-related species such as Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium adolescentis, Anaerobutyricum hallii and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii.

“The goldilocks principle applies to Benicaros,” said Ruud Albers, Ph.D., NutriLeads cofounder and Chief Scientific Officer. “Its structure is not so simple that it can be fermented by multiple bacterial strains in the gut, nor is it so complex that it can only be used by few microbial communities. RG-I’s specificity is just right.”

  • All three test compounds significantly increased production of short chain fatty acids (acetate, propionate and butyrate) that play an important role in host-microbiome “cross talk” and that modulate many human bodily functions, including the immune system. However, Benicaros led to higher and more inter-individual consistent levels of SCFA than the other fibers.

Importantly, Benicaros also demonstrated notably lower gas production than the two other studied fibers.  A limitation of prebiotics when large daily serving sizes (10-20 grams) are recommended is that they may cause bloating, gas and gut discomfort in sensitive people.

“Our research clearly demonstrates the game-changing potential of Benicaros,” said Joana Carneiro, Ph.D., NutriLeads Chief Executive Officer . “Its superior ability to consistently and beneficially modulate the gut microbiota enables product differentiation and Benicaros’ very small serving size opens the door to innovation in functional foods, beverages and supplements.”

The current research paper is titled, Carrot RG-I Reduces Interindividual Differences between 24 Adults through Consistent Effects on Gut Microbiota Composition and Function Ex Vivo.