News article

Nutrition & probiotics are key factors for digestive health

Posted:  Friday, March 14, 2014

Having a healthy and balanced diet along with probiotics, has been known to preserve gut health in gastrointestinal tract. Through recent studies the importance and the underlying mechanisms of gut health is becoming clearer. Further, the more targeted application of probiotics has a positive impact on gut microbiota.

“Diet is a central issue when it comes to preserving our gastrointestinal health, because by eating and digesting we literally feed our gut microbiota, and thus influence its diversity and composition,” says the distinguished microbiota expert Professor Francisco Guarner (University Hospital Valld'Hebron, Barcelona, Spain). “If this balance is disturbed, it might result in a number of disorders, including functional bowel disorders, inflammatory bowel diseases and other immune mediated diseases, such as celiac disease and certain allergies. Also, metabolic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, and perhaps even behavioural disorders, such as autism and depression, can be linked to gut microbial imbalances. Although a disrupted microbial equilibrium can have many causes — infectious pathogens or use of antibiotics among them — the role of our daily food and lifestyle is crucial. Thus, the maintenance of our gastrointestinal health is to a considerable extent in our own hands.”

Nutrition and Probiotics

How does the consumption of probiotics help our digestive health? The consumption of probiotics helps in increase in the gut microbiota which is responsible in maintaining digestive health. Probiotics and prebiotics are good bacteria that are essential for the smooth running of the digestive system.

“The crucial challenge is to clearly determine which organisms are beneficial and exert a preventive or therapeutic effect. And for those that can duly be termed 'probiotics', the range of applications has to be defined more precisely than has been done so far,” says Prof. Guarner.

He further adds, “Through different molecules, probiotics interact with the host via various mechanisms and pathways. Some probiotics, for example, can hold pathogens at bay: by improving the intestinal barrier function, they defend the host against disease-causing microorganisms trying to invade.”

Maintaining a balanced and healthy diet with the probiotics can help strengthen the immune system by developing immune cells and mechanisms internally and externally in the gut. This helps in controlling gut health, along with inflammatory compounds that have an impact outside the gut.

Additionally, health nutrition and probiotics have benefits in all stages of life. Certain probiotics have a positive impact on gastroenteritis, colic, eczema, diarrhoea and necrotizing enterocolitis (a condition in premature children that leads to tissue death in parts of the bowel) in children. Further, probiotic such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus can aid in supporting prevention of disease in children who tend to have decreased gut microbiota diversity due to the over exposure to antibiotics or born via a C-section and the lack of breast feeding. Owing to these issues, the development of a rich a diverse gut microbiota are hindered or delayed.

Eating a healthy and balanced diet is key to healthy gut leading to a better digestive health.