Daily Fermented Whey Consumption Alters the Fecal Short-Chain Fatty Acid Profile in Healthy Adults

Nicola Margareta Smith* (Corresponding Author), Niamh G. Maloney, Sophie Shaw, Graham Horgan, Claire Fyfe, Jennifer C. Martin, Andreas Suter, Karen P. Scott, Alexandra Mary Johnstone* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Gut microbiota influences many aspects of host health including immune, metabolic, and gut health. We examined the effect of a fermented whey concentrate (FWC) drink rich in L-(+)-Lactic acid, consumed daily, in 18 healthy men (n = 5) and women (n = 13) in free-living conditions.Objective: The aims of this 6-weeks pilot trial were to (i) identify changes in the gut microbiota composition and fecal short chain fatty acid (SCFA) profile, and (ii) to monitor changes in glucose homeostasis.Results: Total fecal SCFA (mM) concentration remained constant throughout the intervention. Proportionally, there was a significant change in the composition of different SCFAs compared to baseline. Acetate levels were significantly reduced (−6.5%; p < 0.01), coupled to a significant increase in the relative amounts of propionate (+2.2%; p < 0.01) and butyrate (+4.2%; p < 0.01), respectively. No changes in the relative abundance of any specific bacteria were detected. No significant changes were observed in glucose homeostasis in response to an oral glucose tolerance test.Conclusion: Daily consumption of a fermented whey product led to significant changes in fecal SCFA metabolite profile, indicating some potential prebiotic activity. These changes did not result in any detectable differences in microbiota composition. Post-hoc analysis indicated that baseline microbiota composition might be indicative of participants likely to see changes in SCFA levels. However, due to the lack of a control group these findings would need to be verified in a rigorously controlled trial. Future work is also required to identify the biological mechanisms underlying the observed changes in microbiota activity and to explore if these processes can be harnessed to favorably impact host health.
Original languageEnglish
Article number165
Pages (from-to)165
Number of pages15
JournalFrontiers in Nutrition
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2020

Bibliographical note

This study was funded by A.Vogel Bioforce AG, Roggwil, Switzerland. NS was co-funded by the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition (University of Aberdeen) and A.Vogel Bioforce AG. The Rowett Institute (University of Aberdeen) receives financial support from the Scottish Government Rural and Environmental Sciences and Analytical Services (RESAS).
We thank all the volunteers which contributed their time and efforts into enrolling and completing the trial. Further, we are grateful for the staff at the Human Nutrition Unit and Analytical Services at the Rowett Institute for supporting the research and assisting when needed. We would like to thank Brennan Martin at the Center for Genome Enabled Biology of Medicine for his
assistance in DNA sequencing


  • ermented whey concentrate
  • Microbiota
  • Short chain fatty acids
  • Dietary supplementation
  • postbiotic
  • microbiota
  • dietary supplementation
  • fermented whey concentrate
  • short chain fatty acids
  • DIET


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