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Appl. Chem. Vol. 74, No. 7, pp.
Pure and Applied Chemistry
Vol. 74, Issue 7
Novel physiological functions of oligosaccharides*
Health and Bioscience Laboratories, Meiji Seika Kaisha,
Ltd., 5-3-1 Chiyoda, Sakado-shi, Saitama 350-0289, Japan
Abstract: This paper reviews the evidence for novel
physiological functions of oligosaccharides. A history of the research
and development and the types of health benefits are discussed. A key
property of the physiological functions lies in the indigestibility
of oligosaccharides, which gives rise to fermentation in the large intestine,
followed by an increase of Bifidobacteria and short-chain fatty
acid (SCFA) production. This property leads to several kinds of physiological
functions, classified into three types of health benefits. The first
is the improvement of gastrointestinal conditions, including a normal
stool frequency, less constipation, and healthy intestinal microflora.
The second is the promotion of mineral absorption, including an increase
of bone density and relief of anemia. The third is an immunomodulation
effect, such as allergy and cancer prevention.
* A special topic issue on the
science of sweeteners.
** Corresponding author.
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