Gut microbiota play a very important role in health maintenance and disease prevention; host microbe interactions and signalling from intestinal microbiota regulate normal body function, metabolism and immunity, among others. Although it appears evident balanced gut microbiota is essential to health, the composition and functional characteristics of a healthy microbiome remain to be defined.
Alteration of the gut microbiota composition, diversity and its function (dysbiosis) is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases, allergy, atheroslerosis and cancer. However, it is not clear whether dysbiosis is the cause or the consequence of disease.
Our greater understanding of the communities of microorganisms residing within the human gut and the role of dysbiosis in various disease states will certainly result in targeted modulation of gut microbiota using selected probiotic bacteria or bacterial consortia in combination with natural bioactive substances. Current knowledge shows sophisticated modulation of gut microflora using probiotics, prebiotics, natural substances and functional foods could effectively decrease the measure of health risks.
Probiotics are defined as ‘live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.’ The efficacy of probiotics may be potentiated by the combination with synergistically acting components of natural origin. By the afore-mentioned method, more effective probiotic preparations—potentiated probiotics—are developed. It seems that to potentiate the effect of probiotics, several suitable components may be used such as oligosaccharides, maltodextrin, plants and their extracts and poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA).
Competition for receptors on the gut mucosa is one mechanism of inhibitory action of probiotics against pathogens in the digestive tract. Improvement in the colonisation of the intestinal mucosa by probiotic bacteria enhances the inhibitory effect of probiotics upon the adhesion of pathogens. It was demonstrated that dietary lipid influences the gastrointestinal microbiota. It is suggested that dietary PUFA affects the attachment sites for the gastrointestinal microbiota, possibly by modifying the fatty acid composition of the intestinal wall. We studied the effect of administration of PUFA on the adhesion of L. paracasei to the intestinal mucosa in gnotobiotic piglets. The number of Lactobacillus paracasei adhered to jejunal mucosa in the gnotobiotic piglets orally inoculated with seal oil was significantly higher in comparison with the control group (Bomba et al. 2003). In another study, the stimulatory effect of PUFAs on L. plantarum adhesion resulted in enhancement of the inhibitory effect of lactobacilli on E. coli K88 in the digestive tract of piglets (Nemcová et al. 2012).
It was observed that omega 3-polyunsaturated fatty acids potentiate the reductive effect of Lactobacillus plantarum on the activity of bacterial enzymes in the intestinal tract. The results of our study indicate that probiotic microorganisms and bioactive compounds could exert a preventive effect on chemically induced colon carcinogenesis in rats. The application of Lactobacillus plantarum in combination with bioactive compounds was more effective in comparison to the administration of probiotic alone (Bertková et al. 2010).
Fermented food containing probiotic culture can be considered an alternative to potentiated probiotics because contain probiotic micoorganisms and components potentiated their probiotic effects. Potentiated probiotics and fermented foods containing probiotic microorganisms represent two effective and natural ways of modulation of gut microbiota and its functions in prevention and therapy of diseases.
Future research should be aimed at the enhancement of the effectiveness of probiotics. It will be important to search for ways to improve the efficacy of probiotic microorganisms and natural bioactive compounds by their adequate combination to maximise their preventive effect and decrease disease risk.
Dr Bomba will be speaking on the Vitafoods Europe 2018 Education Programme. View the full programme and register to attend here.