Last Updated on January 20, 2020 by Sagar Aryal
- The term probiotics are derived from Greek.
- Literally means “for life”.
- Firstly, observed by Lilly and Stillwell in 1965.
- Currently defined by WHO and FAO
- “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit to the host.
- Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and Bifidobacteria are the most common types of microbes used as probiotics but certain yeasts and bacilli may also be used.
CHARACTERISTICS OF PROBIOTICS
- They are microbial organisms.
- probiotics remain viable and stable after culture manipulation and storage before consumption.
- They survive gastric and pancreatic digestion.
- Able to adhere to the mucosal surface.
- Able to induce host response once they enter the intestinal microbial ecosystem and they yield functional and clinical benefits to the host when consumed.
- They should colonize.
- They should colonize the intestine.
- Able to utilize the passage through the digestive system.
- Nonpathogenic and non-toxic.
- Capable of exerting a beneficial effect on the host.
MECHANISMS OF ACTION OF PROBIOTICS
- Although not well documented, some mechanisms probiotic action includes.
- Competition for adhesion sites with pathogens in which:
- Adhere to the epithelium and act “colonization barriers” by preventing the pathogen from adhering to the mucosa.
- Synthesis of antimicrobial compounds:
- Produce bacteriocin and other antimicrobial compounds such as hydrogen peroxide, diacetyl, and short-chain fatty acids.
- Stimulate the immune response:
- Increase the secretion of IgA, enhance the phagocytic activity of macrophages, enhance lymphocyte cytokines response.
- Probiotics may also compete for nutrients that would otherwise be utilized by pathogens:
- Probiotics utilize the monosaccharides, which results in the inhibition of Clostridium difficile.
- Promote excretion of toxic substances such as bile acids, nitrosamines, and mutagenic compounds.
COMMERCIAL FORMS OF PROBIOTICS
- There are two main forms in which probiotic organisms can be ingested:
- Fermented foods:
- dairy e.g. yogurt
- vegetable origin e.g. Sauer kraut
- probiotic supplements;
- freeze-dried bacteria in powder, capsule, or tablet form
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- Firstly, observed by Gibson and Roberfroid, who define a prebiotic as
- “a non-digestible food ingredient that confers beneficial effects in the host by selectively stimulating the growth or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon and thus improves host health and well-being”.
Prebiotics are essentially fiber from plants (fruits, vegetables or whole grains).
- Prebiotics transit through the stomach and small intestines undigested.
- They make their way to intact to the colon, where they will be bacterially fermented together with the unabsorbed nutrients.
- Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium more likely to benefit from prebiotics.
Examples of prebiotics
- Fructooligosaccharides (such as inulin and its derivatives).
- Other oligosaccharides such as raffinose, stachyose, and verbascose.
- Polysaccharides (such as cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin)
- Soybeans oligosaccharides, etc.
BENEFITS OF PREBIOTICS
The most recognized beneficial effects of prebiotics are:
- Reduce blood glucose.
- reducing energy intake (which results in weight management especially in combination with probiotics.
- having positive effects on the immune system (e.g., less risk for allergy in both infants and adults especially in combination with probiotics).
- Enhancing the feeling of satiety.
- Providing energy-yielding metabolites through colonic fermentation.
- Improving laxation or regularity by increasing stool bulk.
- Most human mucosal surfaces colonized by bacteria.
- Colonization of the gut with healthy normal microflora begins immediately after birth increasing through infanthood.
- At birth, the gut is sterile, but it is rapidly colonized by bacteria from the mother’s birth canal and the environment.
- Some bacteria are got from breast milk during breastfeeding.
- With the introduction of solid foods, microflora becomes more complex and resembles that of adults by the second year of life.
- The density of colonization increases from the stomach to that distal colon.
PROBIOTICS IN PREVENTION AND TREATMENT
- Probiotics have a wide range of beneficial effects and numerous indications.
- Acute diarrhea
- Antibiotic associated diarrhea
- Allergy prevention
- Probiotics reduce 57% diarrheal diseases especially acute infection diarrhea.
- Antibiotic-associated diarrhea is an acute inflammation of the intestine mucosa by the administration of a broad spectrum of antibiotics.
- Several probiotic bacteria reduce risk from 28.5% to 11.9%.
- Nosocomial diarrhea is reduced by B. bifidum, S. thermophiles.
- Lactobacillus normally inhabit the vagina.
- Lactobacilli bacteria produce H2O2 which keeps the healthy balance of virginal microorganism.
- H2O2 interacts with peroxidase present in vaginal fluid.
- Disruption in microflora balance in vagina results in disease.
- Probiotics cure and reduce the reoccurrence of the vaginal disease.
- It can be administrated orally or vaginally.
- It is a disease in which the body cannot regulate the amount of sugar in the blood.
- Diabetes is increasing alarmingly; it is estimated that 342 million people will be suffering from it by 2030.
- Prebiotics (insulin) controls the glycemic index by reducing the absorption rate of glucose.
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Probiotics and Prebiotics