Probiotics and Prebiotics

Probiotics and Prebiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when ingested lead to a transient alteration in the gut microbiota(Kristensen 2016).Probiotics-containing foods include fermented milk and vegetable products such as yoghurt and pickles, and have formed a part of many traditional diets.

Other fermented foods include: beer and wine, sourdough bread, sauerkraut, olives, cured meats, kefir (a fermented milk drink), lassi (Indian fermented yoghurt and milk), kombucha (a fizzy fermented tea), raw milk cheeses, kimchi (spicy Asian fermented cabbage), natto (Japanese fermented soya beans), Indonesian tempeh (tofu-like), chocolate, coffee and miso.

 

These fermentedfoods usually contain strains of either Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium bacteria. Supplementation with specific species of probiotics is increasingly common with the purpose of improving health. Evidence to date suggests that probiotics in isolation assist in the management of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea, eczema and mental health disorders among other things. Given that most microbe supplements are unable to establish themselves in the gut, they fail to lead to a sustained change on resident microbiota, and continued dosing may be necessary for sustained effect (Kristensen 2016, Walter 2018).  

 

There is promising research on the benefits of probiotic supplementation combined with an energy substrate able to nourish the introduced species. This combination is termed a symbiotic, and there have been several papers with positive findings including reduced risk of neonatal sepsis(Panigrahi 2017) and necrotising enterocolitis (Feinberg 2017). This indicates the importance of appropriate substrate supply in permitting the persistence of introduced microbial species.