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.
Journal of Probiotics and Health
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