Gut micrcobiota, probiotics, bioactives (such as CLA, USFA), trans-fatty acids and their relationship to health
The human gastrointestinal tract harbours ten times more microorganisms than somatic cells in the human body. These organisms are part of a diverse and complex ecosystem comprising over 3.3 million genes that encode a vast repertoire of enzymes and metabolites with the ability to significantly influence human health and wellbeing. While a majority of these microbes exert health-promoting effects on the host, some possess the potential to cause disease. In a healthy state, the gut microbiota is known to confer a range of health benefits relating to immune function, nutrition, host metabolism and protection against pathogens. Alterations in the normal composition of the gut microbiota, are associated with an enhanced predisposition to immunoinflammatory, autoimmune, metabolic and degenerative disorders. Consequently, there has been an increasing interest in developing nutrition/diet-based strategies for correcting gut microbiota dysbiosis. The use of probiotics is one such strategy that has been found to be effective in restoring perturbed gut microbiota composition and function, and promoting/restoring optimal health. Amongst the many health benefits associated with probiotics, a large proportion of research attention over the last two decades has focused on their immunomodulatory and anti-infection properties. There is evidence that specific probiotics strains are effective in preventing and/or managing a range of enteric infections, and modulating the functioning of the immune system. In healthy subjects and subjects with suboptimal immunity, specific strains are able to boost immune function, whilst in subjects with dysregulated immune system, such as allergy and inflammatory bowel disease, probiotics are effective in restoring immune homeostasis and reducing the severity of immunoinflammatory disorders. A variety of mechanisms by which probiotics mediate their health-enhancing or disease-preventing effects have been suggested. These include direct interaction with the host immune system and through the production of diverse array of bioactive molecules/metabolites. Dairy-based products are common vehicle for delivering probiotics. Being a rich source of essential nutrients and a variety of biologically active substances with synergistic physiological effects, these products offer a significant advantage over other non-dairy products. Milk also contains trans-fatty acid, vaccenic acid which humans convert into rumenic acid, the biologically active form of CLA. Other fatty acids in milk are also known to exert beneficial health effects. This presentation will provide an overview of recent advances in health-promoting effects of gut microflora, probiotics and bovine milk fatty acids, especially related to immunoregulation, and novel health-enhancing food products.
micrcobiota, probiotics, bioactives