Growing Significance of Probiotics on Health


The confluence of all food-dependent life sustaining processes is in the  gastrointestinal  tract  where  the  gut  resident  and  food  introduced microbes mix. Healthy living is conditioned on the proper functioning of  the  digestive  ecosystem  which  is  biologically  affected  by  the  state of the microbial load of the input, “food”, the interaction of food and the gut microbiota, producing the output-healthy living. Worldwide, overconsumption of  high  calorie  nutrient  deficient  foods  produces obesity, poor weight management, and health problems which changes the   human   gut   ecosystem.   These   problems   can   be   mitigated   by introducing probiotics into the diet.

Probiotics, live bacteria and yeast commonly consumed as part of fermented foods such as yogurt or introduced as dietary supplements with specially added active live cultures, can help improve health. Gut microbes have been shown to impact host metabolism and restore the balance  of  gastrointestinal  microbiota,  ameliorate  obesity  conditions and  help  to  maintain  wellbeing.  Some  of  the  probiotics  advocated for  a  range  of  illness,  from  constipation  to  cancer  treatment  include Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain GG and Sacharomyces boulardii.

The  understanding  of  the  influence  of  the  human intestinal  microbiota  on  the  gut  ecosystem  and  the  link  to  improved health  in  humans  has  shown  promise.  The  presence  of  probiotics in   the   diet   provides   opportunity   to   continuously   manipulate   an individual’s  gut  microbiome,  the  mutually  interacting  system  of  host cells and resident microbial community.

Oral administration of most bacteria results in large loss of viability due  to  passage  through  the  stomach  which  lowers  the  effectiveness and  efficacy  of  the  ingested  probiotics.  Delivery  of  the  probiotics  to the  gut  in  a  form  that  preserves  the  viability  is  essential  in  maintain the growth of probiotics. Microencapsulation, the process of covering the  probiotics  with  materials  such  as  alginates,  reduces  cell  death  in the  stomach,  and  increases  the  number  of  viable  cells  delivered  to the  intestinal  tract.  The growing  use  of  probiotics  will  continue the long quest for the prolongation of life started long ago by Dr. Elie Metchnikoff.

Joise Angelina
Journal of Probiotics and Health
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