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International Journal of Nephrology
Volume 2012, Article ID 673631, 20 pages
Review Article

Pre-, Pro-, and Synbiotics: Do They Have a Role in Reducing Uremic Toxins? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

1School of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4006, Australia
2Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, QLD 4102, Australia
3Department of Nephrology, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, QLD 4102, Australia
4Queensland Clinical Trials & Biostatistics Centre, School of Population Health, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4006, Australia

Received 20 July 2012; Accepted 29 August 2012

Academic Editor: Siren Sezer

Copyright © 2012 Megan Rossi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. This paper assessed the effectiveness of pre-, pro-, and synbiotics on reducing two protein-bound uremic toxins, p-cresyl sulphate (PCS) and indoxyl sulphate (IS). Methods. English language studies reporting serum, urinary, or fecal PCS and/or IS (or their precursors) following pre-, pro-, or synbiotic interventions (>1 day) in human adults were included. Population estimates of differences in the outcomes between the pre- and the postintervention were estimated for subgroups of studies using four meta-analyses. Quality was determined using the GRADE approach. Results. 19 studies met the inclusion criteria, 14 in healthy adults and five in haemodialysis patients. Eight studies investigated prebiotics, six probiotics, one synbiotics, one both pre- and probiotics, and three studies trialled all three interventions. The quality of the studies ranged from moderate to very low. 12 studies were included in the meta-analyses with all four meta-analyses reporting statistically significant reductions in IS and PCS with pre- and probiotic therapy. Conclusion. There is a limited but supportive evidence for the effectiveness of pre- and probiotics on reducing PCS and IS in the chronic kidney disease population. Further studies are needed to provide more definitive findings before routine clinical use can be recommended.