Welcome to our blog on gut health. To begin with we will provide an overview of gut microbiota and their impact on human health.
THE HUMAN GUT
When Hippocrates, the great Greek Physician made a famous statement sometime ~400 BC ago that
“Every Disease Begins in the Gut”
he would have not realized that he is creating a reference point for most of the researchers working in gut health area in 21st century. Several recent studies have indicated that digestive health and overall well-being of humans is impacted by the complex community of microbes that reside in the human gut. A human being has unique and dynamic gut microbiome comprising more than 100 trillion microbes. The human intestinal microbiota is responsible for multiple critical functions impacting human health, including metabolism of dietary substrate, prevention of pathogen colonisation and immune system modulation.
FACTORS THAT MODULATE THE HUMAN GUT MICROBIOTA
There are several factors such as lifestyle, food habits and health conditions that modulate the human gut microbiota. Bacteriodetes (B) and Firmicutes (F) are two major phyla that dominate the human gut microbiota. Obese persons have been shown to have higher F/B ratio compared to lean persons. Disturbance in gut microbiota commonly known as dysbiosis has been associated with increased inflammation, higher insulin resistivity and increased chances of rectal cancer. The short chain fatty acids especially propionate and butyrate produced by gut bacteria have been shown to have anti-obesogenic effects. It has been reported that acetate and propionate are mainly produced by the bacteria belonging to the phylum Bacteroidetes, whereas butyrate is the predominant product of the bacteria from phylum Firmicutes. Alteration in gut microbiota due to consumption of antibiotics also leads to reemergence of some of the opportunistic pathogen such as Clostridium difficile. Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei and lactobacillus brevis have been shown to produce tryptophan a precursor for serotonin associated with good mood. Bifidobacterium infantis has been reported produce neurotransmitters GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) and acetylcholine and reduces the corticosterone level and thus playing a role in normalized stress behavior and anti-depressant action. Due space limitation I am unable to describe the beneficial roles of many more bacteria residing in our gut.
CAN DYSBIOSIS BE REVERSED
The good news that gut dysbiosis can be reversed by consuming probiotics, prebiotics and balanced diet.
Tata Chemicals is taking a lead in deeper understanding of human metabolic signatures and how these are modulated by the interplay between human gut microbes and human gut cells. The ongoing research is focused towards developing a larger portfolio of prebiotics, Nutraceutical and functional ingredients to enhance and fortify our foods and improve our health in a manner unprecedented till now. The first set of prebiotic products, FOS and GOS are soluble non-digestible dietary fibres that are known to intervene at the level of the gut flora to improve gut health by promoting the growth of good bacteria at the expense of bad bacteria such as Clostridia.
So, take care of your GUT and stay HEALTHY!!