The impact of daily supplementation with rhamnogalacturonan-I on the gut microbiota in healthy adults: A randomized controlled trial

Ching Jian, Nikolaj Sorensen, René Lutter, Ruud Albers, Willem de Vos, Anne Salonen, Annick Mercenier

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Pectin and its derivatives have been shown to modulate immune signaling as well as gut microbiota in preclinical studies, which may constitute the mechanisms by which supplementation of specific pectic polysaccharides confers protection against viral respiratory infections. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled rhinovirus (RV16) challenge study, healthy volunteers were randomized to consume placebo (0.0 g/day) (N = 46), low-dose (0.3 g/day) (N = 49) or high-dose (1.5 g/day) (N = 51) of carrot derived rhamnogalacturonan-I (cRG-I) for eight weeks and they were subsequently challenged with RV-16. Here, the effect of 8-week cRG-I supplementation on the gut microbiota was studied. While the overall gut microbiota composition in the population was generally unaltered by this very low dose of fibre, the relative abundance of Bifidobacterium spp. (mainly B. adolescentis and B. longum) was significantly increased by both doses of cRG-1. Moreover, daily supplementation of cRG-I led to a dose-dependent reduction in inter- and intra-individual microbiota heterogeneity, suggesting a stabilizing effect on the gut microbiota. The severity of respiratory symptoms did not directly correlate with the cRG-I-induced microbial changes, but several dominant groups of the Ruminococcaceae family and microbiota richness were positively associated with a reduced and hence desired post-infection response. Thus, the present results on the modulation of the gut microbiota composition support the previously demonstrated immunomodulatory and protective effect of cRG-I during a common cold infection.
Original languageEnglish
Article number116561
JournalBiomedicine and Pharmacotherapy
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2024


  • Bifidobacterium
  • Common cold
  • Gut microbiota
  • Healthy adults
  • Pectin
  • Rhamnogalacturonan I

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