Probiotics and Prebiotics in Food, Nutrition and Health
Sara Diana Garduno Diaz
Arcler Education Inc
Since approximately 2000 BC, some form of medicine has been practiced for the treatment of maladies. Beginign with the use of roots, then progressing to using prayer and potions, and, ultimately, in the 1940s, to the discovery and use of pharmaceuticals, particularly antibiotics, the use of external concoctions to aid the body in regaing and maintaining a state of health has been persued by both the lay man and the health professional. Currently, it has become apparent that most medication and alleopathic forms of medicine, although curative for many conditions, are not without risk and may have many adverse effects. This is particularly evident with the use of antibiotics, which are leading to the creation of resistant strains of bacteria that are often more deadly than those originally being treated. To counteract these effects of antibiotics, scientists have returned to natural substances, such as probiotics.Probiotics, probiotic research and probiotic foods are fast growing topics. Probiotics are living microorganisms that, when consumed, have the potential to confer a beneficial health effect. Most scientists today will agree that the microbiome plays an important physiological role for the host when it comes to bacterial interaction. Thus, dietry modifications to manipulate said interaction are being explored. In principle, there are two major strategies for influencing the microbiota: one is the use of living bacteria added to the food, which must survive the gastrointestinal tract to be active in the colon (probiotics). The second strategy is the use of dietary ingredients that are nondigestible, reach the colon, and can be used by health-promoting colonic bacteria (prebiotics). Most people today suffer from some form of diet-related health condition, including obesity, cancer, hypersensitivity, vascular diseases and degenerative ailments. The use of prebiotics as a functional food component in the diet seems to be an attractive alternative to improve the quality of life from the previously mentioned health conditions. This possibility is being explored by several clinical trails, the food industry, and large scale research project such as the Human Microbiome Project. All of these efforts are expected to revolutionize the prebiotic and probiotic world by developing specific functional properties. Health claims related to pre and probiotics include the prevention of weight gain in adolescents and improving immunity in geriatrics and infants. These functional foods are also expected to enter the dermatological sector and boost skin health, perhaps not in their food form but encapsulated. Prebiotics are also likelt to replace the antibiotics used as growth stimulants in apiary, fishery, poultry and animal husbandry. The clinical significance of both pre and probiotics remains to be clarified, the claims of efficacy proved and underlying mechanism decoded. Owing to its wide range of preventative and therapeutic possibilities prebiotic and probiotic research is certainly catching momentum.
Dr. Sara D. Garduño-Diaz has a background in nutrition with a PhD in Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom. She has further specialized in Sports Nutrition with the International Olympics Committee, Switzerland. Dr. Sara has worked as Research Fellow for several EU-funded research projects and was awarded research grants from CONACYT (Mexico) and the BBSRC (UK). She is currently Senior Nutrition Consultant at Your Choice Nutrition in Kuwait, where she has been working on functional nutrition and wellness since 2014. Dr. Sara sits on the editorial board of various international journals, including the Journal of Obesity and Weight Management, E-Cronicon Nutrition, Research in Health Science, Insights in Nutrition and Dietetics and Nourish, for whom she is the Executive Editor. She is the author of several peer-reviewed publications and a book: Diet, Ethnicity and the Metabolic Syndrome (Saarbrucken, Germany: 2013). Her research interests include the dietary patterns of migrant populations and their impact on health, as well as investigating the environmental factors that influence food selection. Dr. Garduño-Diaz is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Overseas Dietetics Association, Professionals in Nutrition for Exercise & Sport, and the World Public Health Nutrition Association, for whom she is also Membership Secretary. With over 10 years of experience in the field of nutrition, and having lived and worked in various continents, Dr. Sara’s approach to food is one of integrating strategies to design individual programs based on her client’s needs. Dr. Sara advocates for real food and the art of eating.