Monday, May 16, 2016
Live microbes for what ails the body and mind
Probiotics are functional foods consisting of live microorganisms that confer health benefits on the host. Consequently, they represent the best of the symbiotic relationship between human beings and bacteria. Today, probiotics are the focus of growing research on account of their numerous local and systemic effects on the human body. An article featured in the Maternal and Pediatric Nutrition Journal sheds light on the impact of probiotics on maintaining natural health and the role of probiotics in promoting nutrition and cognitive function, as well as immunity.
1. Impact on nutrition:
• Probiotic bacteria are able to produce hydrolytic enzymes, such as amylase and lipase that aid digestion and nutrient absorption.
• Foods with probiotics have enhanced nutritional value, increased bioavailability of micronutrients, and possess anti-oxidative properties.
• Probiotic organisms facilitate the breakdown of naturally undigestible food constituents (such as inulin, galactooligosaccharides, resistant starches), anti-nutritional food components (such as tannins, phytates), and chelate minerals (such as iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium).
2. Impact on cognitive function:
• Probiotic organisms enhance the gut-brain communication, development of the nervous system, and improve cognitive functions.
• Probiotics have also been investigated for their efficacy in the management of mood disorders - to overcome anxiety and depression symptoms
3. Impact on immunity:
• Infant formulas enriched with probiotics may stimulate the growth and development of infants with milk protein allergy or lactose intolerance.
• Probiotics help in the early colonisation of the infant's gut with the good microbiome, and provide immunity against several diseases.
• Probiotics may help in controlling microbial infections of the gut and antibiotic-associated diarrhoea.
Probiotics are becoming increasingly synonymous with healthy diets. They can be consumed in the form of capsules or drinks. Pre-treatment of foods with probiotics may also enhance their nutritive value. Future research may be directed towards investigating the impact of probiotics on the malignancies of the gut.
News Source: Protics for Total Health: Better Today and Tomorrow. Gayathri D. Matern Pediatr Nutr 2016, 2:1.