Why I thought this was interesting is that when it comes to "prebiotics," I typically think of soluble fibre (or "fiber" for my growing American readership). This study found that protein isolated from peas (Pisum sativum), has a beneficial effect on the bacterial population in the gut.
As nutritional substrates, proteins are prone to spontaneously occurring non-enzymatic glycosylation (glycation, which is just the addition of a sugar molecule) which can alter their molecular structure, making them highly bioactive. This study aimed to determine the impact of glycated pea proteins on the intestinal bacteria from a healthy human.
The analyses revealed that the glycated pea proteins affected the growth of gut good/commensal bacteria, particularly lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, whose levels increased significantly. There was a corresponding shift in the bacterial metabolites with increased levels of the short chain fatty acids (SCFAs); acetate, propionate lactate and butyrate. Such changes in microbial composition may beneficially impact the intestinal environment and exert a health-promoting effect in humans.
Source: The study on the impact of glycated pea proteins on human intestinal bacteria
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