Probiotics, Prebiotics, and the Microbiome

Numerous of microbes inhabit the human body, collectively forming the human microbiota. These microbes create complex, organ-specific and adaptive ecosystems, which continually impact the host’s physiology. The bacteria that colonize, or live in, our intestinal tract, we typically sort them into two categories: beneficial strains of bacteria (non-pathogenic), including those in the genera Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, and potential disease- causing strains of bacteria (pathogenic), including enteropathogenic (EPEC) and enterohemorrhagic (EHEC) Escherichia coli, Shigella etc.

The collection of the genetic information from all these microorganisms in a specific environment is referred to as the microbiome. The balance between beneficial and harmful bacteria is important for maintaining health. The diversity, or different types of microorganisms, of our gut microbiome is critical – greater diversity allows our gut to be resilient and bounce back from any disturbances to the balance. Several factors can upset this balance, including diet, stress, hygiene, and medications, particularly antibiotics. Dysbiosis occurs when there are shifts in the balance of the microbiota.

The intake of probiotics and prebiotics plays an important role in the restoring the normal intestinal flora favoring the growth of beneficial bacteria and reducing the risk of development of chronic ailments, such as cardiovascular disease. Therefore, the interest of these compounds as ingredients for the elaboration of novel foods with functional characteristics is well accepted. Prebiotics are different from probiotics. They are nutrients in food. The body does not digest prebiotics, but these nutrients help stimulate the growth or activity of useful bacteria.

Probiotics may be good for issues like diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, gingivitis, and pregnancy nausea. Probiotics may lower your risk of certain cancers and COVID-19, and could boost your immune system, prevent food allergies, and aid weight loss. Prebiotics impart many health benefits like improvement in bowel movements, stimulation of mineral absorption, reducing post-prandial glucose levels, reducing risk of obesity.

A food item to qualify as a prebiotic has to have desirable attributes like resistance to acid or enzymatic attacks in the GIT environment, improved absorption in upper GI tract, selective fermentability by microbes to selectively stimulate indigenous gut microflora. main types of prebiotics are inulin, variety of oligosaccharides, pyrodextrins, lactulose, lactosucrose, polydextrose and lactitol.

Key concepts for the development of the probiotics and prebiotics fields. For example, not only the probiotics and prebiotics themselves should be considered, but also the real-time interactions with the host, microbial functionality, individual factors, and the regulation and safety aspects. Furthermore, various environmental and social needs can and should be addressed by probiotics and prebiotics.

Probiotics interact with both the host and the microbiome via molecular effectors present on the cell structure or secreted as metabolic products. Probiotic metabolites can act on the microbiota by cross feeding interactions, changes in the gastrointestinal microenvironment (e.g., pH lowering), competition for nutrients and binding sites, and inhibition of growth via the production of strain-specific antibacterial compounds including bacteriocins.

Overlapping with, and adjacent to, the probiotic and prebiotic fields, new variants of microbiome-modulating interventions are developing, including synbiotics, postbiotics, microbial consortia, live biotherapeutic products, and genetically modified organisms, with renewed interest in polyphenols, fibres, and fermented foods Personalised nutrition and precision medicine are beginning to influence the application of probiotics and prebiotics, with growing interest in modulation of microbial signatures of health and disease.

Demand for probiotics and prebiotics across divergent product formats is driving innovation in quality assurance techniques to measure dose, viability, and structural and functional integrity.

Recent studies provide evidence that the health benefits of Ayurvedic herbal medicines may be mediated by the glycan catabolic activities of the human gut microbiome. These studies are novel in highlighting the significant prebiotic potential of herbal medicines and suggest that the health benefits of these herbs are due, at least in part, to their ability to modulate the gut microbiota in a manner predicted to improve colonic epithelium function, reduce inflammation, and promote protection from bacterial opportunistic pathogenic infection. Although various products with probiotic, prebiotics and symbiotic are usually available in food and supplement formats, in near future these products will target to specific disease and will be available as drug.

Dabur research foundation has worked on Probiotic and Prebiotic formulation and developed the products for Gut health with Synbiotics (a combination of Probiotic and Prebiotic) in the Granulated Powder and Capsule. The Product composition is suitable for balanced routine health wellness. The development, characterization and evaluation of the products has been done as per ICH guideline under qualified and experienced professionals at Dabur Research Foundation Ghaziabad.