Pre- and probiotics

A long time since has passed since my last nutrition blog. but a great deal of information regarding gut bacteria, also known as the gut flora or gut microbiota,has been discovered.

My colleague and I have developed a new product, a prebiotic that has a surprising array of biological properties some of which are described below. Whereas probiotics contain microorganisms  that are believed to provide health benefits when taken orally, prebiotics are typically compounds that are not digested by the gut flora but affect them by acting as a substrate for them. Almost three years ago, a panel of experts in microbiology, nutrition and clinical research, was convened by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics to review the definition and scope of prebiotics

The main conclusion of the panel was that:

• A prebiotic is ‘a substrate that is selectively utilised by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit’

• Although most current prebiotics are administered orally, they can also be administered directly to other body sites colonised by bacteria, such as the vaginal tract and skin

• The health effects of prebiotics are still being discovered but currently include benefits to the gastrointestinal tract, for example immune stimulation and the inhibition of pathogens and influence on brain function, energy and cognition.

  • Our prebiotic, which is still being investigated in pre-clinical studies has been shown to be anti-inflammatory, significantly reducing the concentration of pro-inflammatory biomarkers.
  • When it is administered orally it changes the ratios of the types of bacteria growing in the gut and has been shown to reduce inflammation.
  • It has also been shown to improve behaviour in mares in oestrus with the implication that prebiotics can affect mood.
  • Increasing evidence shows that therapeutic modulation of gut microbiota by the use of pre- and probiotics may be helpful in disorders involving microbiota – gut- brain axis disturbances.