The trend of nutraceutical market is a movement based on ‘personalised nutrition’, with particular attention to personalised microbiome (mapping the human gut microbiome). Scientific literature describes the effects of using dextran as new prebiotic ingredient. A special issue is reserved to possible synergic effect with probiotics (microorganisms that are believed to provide health benefits when consumed), actually present into the market. Prebiotics were first defined as “non-digestible food ingredients that beneficially affect the host by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon, thus improving host health” [Gibson G.R., Roberfroid M.B. Dietary modulation of the human colonic microbiota: Introducing the concept of prebiotics. J. Nutr. 1995;125: 1401–1412]. This definition was later refined to include other areas that may benefit from selective targeting of particular microorganisms [Gibson G.R., Probert H.M., van Loo J., Rastall R.A., Roberfroid M.B. Dietary modulation of the human colonic microbiota: Updating the concept of prebiotics. Nutr. Res. Rev. 2004;17: 259–275]: “a selectively fermented ingredient that allows specific changes, both in the composition and/or activity in the gastrointestinal microflora, that confer benefits.”
- resists gastric acidity, hydrolysis by mammalian enzymes, and absorption in the upper gastrointestinal tract;
- is fermented by the intestinal microflora (which types/Genera of microbes and/or which types of metabolites are produced using dextran as sole carbon source);
- selectively stimulates the growth and/or activity of intestinal bacteria potentially associated with health and well-being.