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Effect of Dietary Inulin Supplementation on the Gut Microbiota Composition and Derived Metabolites of Individuals Undergoing Hemodialysis: A Pilot Study

      Objective

      The prebiotic fiber inulin has been studied in individuals undergoing hemodialysis (HD) due to its ability to reduce gut microbiota-derived uremic toxins. However, studies examining the effects of inulin on the gut microbiota and derived metabolites are limited in these patients. We aimed to assess the impact of a 4-week supplementation of inulin on the gut microbiota composition and microbial metabolites of patients on HD.

      Design and Methods

      In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study, twelve HD patients (55 ± 10 y, 50% male, 58% Black American, BMI 31.6 ± 8.9 kg/m2, 33% diabetes mellitus) were randomized to consume inulin [10 g/d for females; 15 g/d for males] or maltodextrin [6 g/d for females; 9 g/d for males] for 4 weeks, with a 4-week washout period. We assessed the fecal microbiota composition, fecal metabolites (short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), phenols, and indoles), and plasma indoxyl sulfate and p-cresyl sulfate.

      Results

      At baseline, factors that explained the gut microbiota variability included BMI category and type of phosphate binder prescribed. Inulin increased the relative abundance of the phylum Verrucomicrobia and its genus Akkermansia (P interaction = 0.045). Inulin and maltodextrin resulted in an increased relative abundance of the phylum Bacteroidetes and its genus Bacteroides (P time = 0.04 and 0.03, respectively). Both treatments increased the fecal acetate and propionate (P time = 0.032 and 0.027, respectively), and there was a trend toward increased fecal butyrate (P time = 0.06). Inulin did not reduce fecal p-cresol or indoles, or plasma concentrations of p-cresyl sulfate or indoxyl sulfate.

      Conclusions

      A 4-week supplementation of inulin did not lead to major shifts in the fecal microbiota and gut microbiota-derived metabolites. This may be due to high variability among participants and an unexpected increase in fecal excretion of SCFA with maltodextrin. Larger studies are needed to determine the effects of prebiotic fibers on the gut microbiota and clinical outcomes to justify their use in patients on HD.
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      1. Biruete A, Kistler BM, Cross TL, Allen J, de Loor H, Evenepoel P, et al. Effect of Dietary Inulin Supplementation on the Gut Microbiota and Derived Metabolites in Hemodialysis Patients. XIX International Congress on Nutrition and Metabolism in Renal Disease; Genoa, IT2018.