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THE PHARMA REVIEW (MAY 2009)

A Review on Nutritional Impact of Pre and Probiotics

Mahibalan S, Benedict Jose C, Sharanya G, Bhindu T and Gopal N.

Abstract: The health benefits of pre and probiotics have been the subject of increased research interests. The growing awareness of the relationship between diet and health has led to an increasing demand for food products that support health above and beyond providing basic nutrition. Pre and probiotics have been demonstrated to alter the pre existing intestinal flora so as to provide an advantage to the host. This review focuses on the scientific evidence both for and against their role in promoting health and treating disease. Specific attention is turned to their effects on Immunomodulation, Lipid metabolism, Cancer prevention, Diarrhea, Helicobacter pylori, Necrotizing enterocolitis infection, and Inflammatory bowel disease. Prebiotics are components present in the foods, or that can be incorporated into the foods, which yield health benefits related to their interactions with the gastrointestinal tract.
 
Introduction
The mammalian intestinal tract contains a complex dynamic and diverse society of non-pathologic bacteria. The number of bacteria that colonize the human body is so large, that researchers have estimated that of which only 10% belongs to the human body proper. Initial colonization is achieved with maternal vaginal and fecal bacterial flora. The first colonizers have a high reductive potential and include species such as enterobacter, streptococcus and staphylococcus. These metabolize oxygen, thus encouraging the growth of anaerobic bacteria including lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. The micro flora environment is regulated by the immune system with B cells secreting IgA to control its volume and composition [IgA-Immunoglobulin]. In cesarean deliveries the normal contact of child with maternal flora is avoided which results in delayed colonization by typical flora such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria by 10 days and 1 month respectively. Better understanding of the beneficial effects of developing a normal bacterial flora is achieved by the analysis of germ free animal models. An interest in understanding the importance of non-pathologic bacteria or “good bacteria” has resulted in increased efforts in this area. Accordingly this has led to the concepts of probiotics and prebiotics as mediators of human health. Prebiotics consists mainly of oligo saccharides, sugar molecules of 3-6 chains and soluble fiber.
 
This paper discusses these entities and specifically reviews the literature that argues for and against their role in the prevention and treatment of diarrhea, Helicobacter pylori infection, cancer, necrotizing enterocolitis infection, intestinal immunity, inflammatory bowel disease, and lipid metabolism. 

 

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