[NH] Re: Probiotics As Functional Food For Health


On Saturday, November 1, 2008 5:32:51 PM UTC-5, rpautrey2 wrote:
Probiotics As Functional Food For Health
Gita Sapkota

Probiotics are currently defined as live microorganisms which when
consumed in sufficient quantity confer health benefits to the host.
Probiotics live microorganisms such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobac-
terium bacterial species, as well as yeast have beneficial effects
upon ingestion by restoring the balance of the host's intestinal
microflora. It is important to maintain a healthy community of
bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.

The word "probiotics" literally means "for life" and refers to living
microorganisms that, when consumed in sufficient numbers, exert health
benefits beyond basic nutrition.

The microfloral colony on the digestive tract is ordinarily composed
of both benevolent and potentially harmful bacteria. When the delicate
balance between these bacteria becomes adversely affected, the body
becomes exposed to excessive toxin levels, which then manifests as
various type of diseases. Probiotic bacteria are used to alter this
intestinal microfloral balance in such a way that, by
being more abundant than
the harmful bacteria, they inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria,
promote good digestion, boost immunity and increase resistance to

At present, probiotics are added to yogurts, various fermented milk
products and dietary supplements during production. The majority
probiotics currently marketed as nutritional supplements and used to
supplement functional foods are strains of Bifidobacterium and
Lactobacillus. Most of the probiotics available at present are
bacteria whereas Saccharomyces boulardii is one example of probiotics
yeast. Organism should meet the following basic requirements for
consideration as a probiotic food product: exhibit biosafety
characteristic, have the ability to survive in the human stomach,
beneficial for host health and easy to process and cost effective
(stability/long shelf life, commercial scale production). Dr.Tika
Karki, a food scientist, says it should contain 10 million live
micrporganism per gram for probiotic yogurts .

Probiotics may exhibit antimicrobial, immunomodulatory,
anticarcinogenic, antidiarrheal, antiallergenic and antioxidant
activities. Considerable ongoing research is currently being
undertaken focusing on the development of target specific probiotics
containing well characterized bacteria that are entering the
marketplace in the form of nutritional supplements and functional
foods, such as yoghurt and other functional food products. Probiotic
bacteria also produce substances called bacteriocins, which act as
natural antibiotics that kill undesirable microorganism. Relief of
lactose maldigestion symptoms and decreasing the duration of rotavirus
diarrhea are health benefits conferred by many probiotics strains.

The potential benefits of probiotics foodstuffs.

Acidification of the colon: Benevolent microflora produces lactic and
acetic acids, which are essential in combating the growth of
potentially harmful bacteria such as salmonella, shigella and coliform
species on the gastro intestinal tract.

Vitamin production: the intestinal flora enhances the production of
several vitamins that are necessary for human health, including folic
acid, B2, biotin, pantothenic acid B6, B12 and vitamin K.

Elimination of intestinal gas and bloating: the benevolent bacteria
prevent harmful bacteria from becoming dominant in the colon where
they of the produce foul-smelling waste products and create painful
intestinal gas and bloating. Excess gas resulting in chronic
flatulence is often a direct result of having too few benevolent
floras on the colon, which in turn allows harmful bacteria and yeast
to proliferate and multiply very quickly.

Normalizes bowel movements: constipation is often alleviated by
ingesting large quantities of benevolent bacteria because they promote
the processing of bodily waste considerably; decreasing the amount of
time it takes for waste products to travel through the digestive

Improves immune system functioning: the benevolent bacteria act to
provide powerful nature "internal vaccination" by stimulating the gut
associated lymphoid tissue, which in turn combats harmful substances
and organism in the body that might otherwise cause infections and

Deactivation of carcinogenic compounds: numerous carcinogenic
compounds derived from ingested foods and byproducts of other
organisms are scavenged by the activities of benevolent bacteria.

Regulation of cholesterol levels: through a complex process, the
benevolent flora helps to reduce the accumulation of cholesterol on
the bloodstream and promote its excretion through the bowels.

Additional benefits associates with probiotic foodstuffs: the
benevolent microflora of probiotics foods work in conjunction with
other species of beneficial intestinal microorganisms " native to the
human body" to produce additional benefits such as

creating a protective barrier against invasion by harmful
microorganism by colonizing and coating the intestinal mucosa, Aiding
in the production of natural beneficial antibiotic substances such as
acidophillin, bifidin, hydrogen peroxide, Breaking down carbohydrates,
facts and protein while rendering their toxic byproducts inert.

Probiotics are important for recolonizing the intestine during after
and after antibiotic use. Probiotics also promote healthy digestion.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is a source of lactase, the enzyme needed to
digest milk sugar, which is not present in lactose-intolerant people.
Since lactic acid bacteria produce acids, peroxides and bacteriocins,
it is expected that they could influence the incidence of cancer.

Probiotics, along with a very large and diverse range of other
bacteria, colonize the human body. These bacteria play a significant
role in human physiology.

Probiotic products have entered the market in the form of nutritional
supplements and functional food. The probiotic market, especially that
of dairy products such as yogurts and other fermented dairy products,
has experienced rapid growth in Japan, Europe and the USA. Fermented
milk drinks have been available in Japan for several decades and the
market for probiotics products is now mature. Probiotic beverage and
foodstuffs have begun to diversity into juices on the European market.
In addition, while probiotics products may already have become a vital
component in the diets of consumers' in the developed world, they have
yet to enter the markets of the developing world.

In general probiotics bacteria are sold in two different formats: food
and dietary supplements. Food products containing probiotic bacteria
are almost exclusively dairy products, capitalizing on the tradition
association of lactic acid bacteria with fermented milk. The
supplements market contains many different product formats and
contents, including capsules, liquids, tablets and even food-like
formats. Importantly, dietary supplements are designed to supplement
the diet and not replace any of the components of a diet.

In developed countries, market competition among producers of dairy
products supplemented with probiotics is intense. Functional foods,
dietary fiber, prebiotic and probiotics are the principle functional
ingredients in many of these dairy food products. Common dairy
probiotic products in Japan expected that prebiotic and probiotics
will continue to be the major functional food ingredients for the
foreseeable future in the world.

The development of successful probiotic products will be contingent on
both the proofs of a probiotic effect and the development of foods
that harbor high numbers of viable organism at the time of
consumption. At the start of the 21th century, globle probiotic
research efforts are focusing on the development of target- specific
probiotic products containing well characteristics. Reports are
already demonstrated number of beneficial effects associated with the
consumption of probiotics and sales are increasing worldwide as
consumers become more aware of their benefits.

In Japan consumer demands for probiotics is high, which is well suited
to the traditional Japanese concept of gaining good health through the
consumption of natural products, American and European consumers also
perceive the health benefits of probiotics and have increased their
consumption of fermented dairy products considerably in recent years.

Owing to the increased
awareness among consumers regarding health, probiotic products are
likely to enjoy very good prospects in both developed and developing

The Japanese have truly been leaders in the whole health and wellness
movements, of which probiotics are an important segments. After all,
Japnese was the country to give birth to the daily dose probiotics
drink yakult.

(This article was prepared after interacting with food scientists)


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