Generally, the healthiness of food has been linked to a nutritionally rich diet recommended by specialists. Therefore, the role of healthy food in totality has been emphasized rather than emphasizing individual components. Life is a constant battle and we do need some warriors to combat its ill effects So my dear friends, let’s see how we can work on our systems without disturbing it.
During the past few decades, the lifestyle within the developed and developing countries has been changing fast, with regards to the living standards, diet, hygiene, and usage of antibiotics. The prevalence of chronic diseases like allergies and gut-associated disorders have gained importance within the world nowadays. Hence, the balance in the microbiota of gut is taken into account to supply the colonization resistance against infectious agents and promote the anti-allergic processes, stimulate the immune system, and reduce hypersensitivity.
Have you ever heard about PROBIOTICS?
Look down at your arm. They’re on you right now. They’re everywhere. On your skin, in your mouth, on your teeth, just crawling, breathingall over the place. – Aw, come on! – Relax. I’m just talking about bacteria, and I know reflexively you’re thinking, well, bacteria, that must be a bad thing. Not really. You have more good bacteria than bad bacteria in your body. Our bodies are home to over 100 trillion good bacteria, well over 1,000 species, and somewhere between seven to 9,000 strains of these species. Not only are these bacteria good for us, but they’re practically essential to our survival.The type of good bacteria, I want to talk about today lives primarily within your gut, and you’ve heard the term, probiotic. It’s become a mega-industry, where a large number of people are selling supplements, selling probiotic-rich foods.These good bacteria, have the potential to communicate with our Immune cells and this enables our body to communicate with them in establishing a defence. Therefore, we do need a protective shield of excellent flora to defend us.
For the foremost part, we have a considerable community of excellent bacteria in our gut. We know that the gut is a vital part of our body and carries a large range of microflora in it. By taking care of our gut, we take care of our immune system too.
The Rationale for probiotics.
Probiotics may act as a barrier against common enteric pathogens. These microflorae are capable of preventing the adherence, establishment, replication, and /or pathogenic action of entero-pathogens. The beneficial effects of probiotics could be caused by mechanisms like the excretion of lactic/ acetic acids, competition for nutrients, gut receptor sites, Immunomodulation, and therefore the formation of specific antimicrobial agents.
Probiotics help in boosting the immune function of the human body and inhibit the expansion of harmful gut bacteria while promoting the production of natural antibodies in the body. Within the current scenario of COVID-19,since there is no vaccine available, or specific efficacious clinically proven treatment at the moment, preventing COVID-19 by maintaining high hygiene by washing our hands, avoiding contact with infected people and reinforcing our immune system are the best strategies. Probiotics are considered critical for reinforcing immunity as they provide a balance for overall immune system health by fighting off bad bacteria.In one of the studies it was found that in 10% cases COVID 19 causes gastrointestinal disturbances such as nausea and diarrhoea.Anything that affects the gut inadvertently involves the gut microbiota therein.In India, just like health supplements, Probiotics are regulated through the Food Safety and Standards (Health Supplements, Nutraceuticals, Food for Special Dietary Use, Food for Special Medical Purpose, Functional Food and Novel Food) Regulations, 2016 and are regulated by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI standard) (3).
Commonly used probiotics
The basic concept behind probiotics is quite clear: restore the depleted microbial ecology of the intestine with new, beneficial bacteria. Many different microorganisms are added to dairy products for their probiotic potential (Fuller,1997;Gibson & Fuller 1998). These microorganisms are designed for delivery in food or dairy products, via supplementation or fermentation. These include Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. Non-pathogenic microorganisms have the potential to occupy the niches within the host gut or tissues and are used as human and animal probiotics.
Health-promoting aspects of probiotics.
The term probiotics was derived from the Greek and means ‘for life’ (Fuller1992) defined a probiotic as a live microbial feed supplement, which beneficially affects the host by improving its intestinal microbial balance. According to the expert panel commissioned by the ‘Food and Agriculture Organisation’ of the ‘United Nations’ and the ‘World Health Organisation’, the present-day interpretations of probiotics are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amount confer a health benefit to the host (FAO/WHO 2002). There has been extensive research that is focusing on the health benefits of ingesting viable probiotic organisms (Seki et al.,1978;Gade and Thorn 1989; Yadav et al., 2006; ) and some potential health benefits associated with health-promoting probiotics are:
1). Reduces the possibility of infection from common pathogens
2). Stimulate gastrointestinal immunity
3). Inhibit the growth of pathogen and translocation
4). Specific and non-specific immune response
5). Lowered serum cholesterol concentrations and also help in minimizing the symptoms of daily lactose intolerance.
When studying probiotics, scientists try to figure out which probiotic works best and how much needs to be taken to help with a particular health condition.
About the Author:
Dr. Aarti Bhardwaj is Doctorate in Dairy Science and Technology from CCS University, Meerut and Post Graduate in Microbiology. She is having an experience of more than 13 years in Academic and Research. She has been the coordinator of the Microbiology Department where she gained experience guiding many students in the field of Food and Dairy for Ph.D. and Post Graduation program.
- FAO/WHO (Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization) (2002c). Joint FAO/WHO Working Group Guidelines for the Evaluation of Probiotics in Food. London, Ontario/Canada.
- FSSAI Standard is available on www.fssai.gov.in/cms/health-supplements.php
- Fuller R 1997 Probiotics 2: Application and practical aspects. Chapman and Hall London.
- Gade J Thorn P 1989 Paraghurt for patients with irritable bowel syndrome.Scandinavian J Primary Health Care 7:23-26.
- Seki M, Igarashi T Fukuda Y Simamura S Kaswashima T Ogasa K. The effect of Bifidobacteriumcultured milk on the “regularity” among an aged group. Nutr Foodstuff 1978;31:379-387.
- Yadav H, Jain S, Sinha PR 2006 effect of Dahi containing Lactococcuslactison the progression of diabetes-induced by a high fructose diet in rats. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry 70:1255-8.