Despite curing infectious diseases, antibiotic treatments also impact untargeted bacteria from the intestinal microflora, which may result in intestinal disorders. Prebiotics are dietary fibres that stimulate the beneficial bacteria from the intestinal microflora. Prebiotics may, therefore, reduce the side effects of antibiotics on the microflora. In this thesis, we investigated whether and how galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), a known prebiotic, could counter the side effects of frequently used antibiotics in Europe.
In vitro screening experiments revealed that the recovery of the intestinal microflora upon the addition of GOS was antibiotic dependant. A successful recovery was observed for a treatment with Amoxicillin, an antibiotic frequently inducing diarrhoea. GOS directly stimulated the beneficial bifidobacteria and indirectly stimulated the activity of other groups of bacteria. These positive effects were also seen in a small human trial with healthy volunteers. Our results may offer new opportunities for e.g. medical nutrition.