McCormick Science Institute

MSI Funded Study: Mixed Spices at Culinary Doses Have Prebiotic Effects in Healthy Adults: A Pilot Study

Lu, Q.Y., Rasmussen, A.M., Yang, J., Lee, R.P., Huang, J., Shao, P., Carpenter, C.L., Gilbuena, I., Thames, G., Henning, S.M. and Heber, D.

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MSI Team
June, 2019 -- Researchers from UCLA performed a randomized placebo-controlled study to test the effects on the gut microbiota of the consumption daily of capsules containing 5 grams of mixed spices. View the paper.

Overview

Spices were used as food preservatives prior to the advent of refrigeration, suggesting the possibility of effects on microbiota. Previous studies have shown prebiotic activities in animals and in vitro, but there has not been a demonstration of prebiotic or postbiotic effects at culinary doses in humans.

Methods

In this randomized placebo-controlled study, researchers determined in twenty-nine healthy adults the effects on the gut microbiota of the consumption daily of capsules containing 5 g of mixed spices at culinary doses by comparison to a matched control group consuming a maltodextrin placebo capsule.  The 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing data were used for microbial characterization.

Results/Conclusions

Spice consumption resulted in a significant reduction in Firmicutes abundance (p < 0.033) and a trend of enrichment in Bacteroidetes (p < 0.097) compared to placebo group. Twenty-six operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were different between the spice and placebo groups after intervention. Furthermore, there was a significant negative correlation between fecal short-chain fatty acid propionate concentration and Firmicutes abundance in spice intervention group (p < 0.04). The production of individual fecal short-chain fatty acid was not significantly changed by spice consumption in this study.

Mixed spices consumption significantly modified gut microbiota, suggesting a prebiotic effect of spice consumption at culinary doses. 

Reference

Lu, Q.Y., Rasmussen, A.M., Yang, J., Lee, R.P., Huang, J., Shao, P., Carpenter, C.L., Gilbuena, I., Thames, G., Henning, S.M. and Heber, D., 2019. Mixed Spices at Culinary Doses Have Prebiotic Effects in Healthy Adults: A Pilot Study. Nutrients, 11(6), p.1425. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11061425

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