Probiotic and Prebiotic drinks – An overview

1. An Introduction to Probiotics & Prebiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria, when consumed adequately confer good health benefits to the human body. Nowadays, humans have started to consume junk food that causes an accumulation of harmful bacteria that causes diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, gastric inflammation, and other health issues, so in these cases, probiotics can help us maintain the gut microflora by destroying the harmful bacteria.

The food feeds probiotic bacteria and helps them to grow. Prebiotics can’t be digested by the human body. Prebiotics promotes the growth of the colonizing bacteria in the gut that are beneficial. Prebiotics help in maintaining normal bowel function i.e., Prebiotic fiber cause foods to be digested normally not quickly. Prebiotics help in preventing colon cancer by sweeping away carcinogens and dangerous toxins. Probiotic bacteria such as Bifidobacterium digest inulin in the gut and produce short-chain fatty acids.

2. How do probiotics work in the human gut?

To improve the human gut flora and destroy the bad bacteria the mechanism of probiotics includes:

        • Production of antimicrobials:

Production of antimicrobials such as organic acids (acetic acid and lactic acid are the main antimicrobial compounds responsible for the inhibitory activity of probiotics against pathogens). And the production of antibacterial substances termed bacteriocins.

        • Increased adhesion & inhibition of pathogen adhesion:

The interaction between surface proteins and mucins may inhibit the colonization of pathogenic bacteria and are a result of antagonistic activity by some strains of probiotics against the adhesion of gastrointestinal pathogens.

        • Enhancement of epithelial barrier:

The intestinal barrier is a major defense mechanism used to maintain epithelial integrity and to protect the organism from the environment. Consumption of non-pathogenic bacteria can contribute to intestinal barrier function, and probiotic bacteria have been extensively studied for their involvement in the maintenance of this barrier.

        • Modulation of the immune system:

These immunomodulatory effects are due to the interaction of probiotic bacteria with epithelial cells and Dendritic cells and with monocytes/macrophages and lymphocytes.

        • Competitive exclusion of pathogenic bacteria:

When the probiotics are consumed the bacteria will compete with the pathogenic bacteria and destroy them by reducing the Ph and secreting the antimicrobials.

3. How do prebiotics help the probiotics & human body when they are consumed? 

        • Prebiotics help the probiotics to survive, by providing the required nutrition they need. That helps probiotic bacteria to grow and colonize the human intestinal gut.
        • Prebiotics Suppress the putrefactive bacteria because they act on the tissues and prebiotics stimulate the beneficial flora in the human gut creating unfavorable conditions for the pathogenic bacteria.
        • Dietary fibers act as effective prebiotics by stimulating main shifts indirectly affecting the mucosal immune system and gut microbial composition, causing an advancement in intestinal inflammatory disorders and the complete immune response.
        • SCFA are formed when the prebiotics are fermented in the large intestine that acts as carbon and energy sources for the probiotic bacteria.
        • As microbiota have been tangled in the pathogenesis of numerous GI disorders, for this purpose currently the research is focused on the practice of prebiotics. Since many of these polysaccharides can be metabolized by intestinal microflora, producing SCFA (including acetate, butyrate & propionate).

 4. Where do we find the probiotics and the products that are developed by the food industry?

In India, people with different cultures & regions have different cuisines. The best part is that every meal consists of fermented food such as dahi, lassi, tempeh, pickles, etc. These fermented foods have good probiotic bacteria good that help in maintaining good gut health. Some other products that contain probiotic bacteria are yogurt, miso, sauerkraut, kefir, etc. Due to the increase in population and work timings, people have habituated to instant things and food processing industries have developed probiotic products that are healthy & can be consumed instantly. The products that are available in the market are Yakult, epigamia yogurt, good belly, beyond berry, Dan active, etc.

Sources of prebiotics and the products that are available in the market

Sources of prebiotics are Oligosaccharides (garlic asparagus, soybean, wheat bran, etc), Fructans (powder from tubers of artichoke), Human kappa casein, and derived glycomacropeptide (chymotrypsin and pepsin hydrolysate), Stachyose and raffinose (soybean extract), Casein macro peptide (Bovine milk), Lactulose (a synthetic derivative of lactose).

And the products that are available in the market are VSL#3, Kiwi – lens, Prebiotic soups, Prebiotic nana flakes, Oli pop, Wonder drink, kevita prebiotic shots.

  1. What’s the deal with the prebiotic and probiotic drinks?

Probiotic drinks & prebiotic drinks became a trending topic in the market and have huge demand worldwide because of their health benefits. These drinks are available in nearby stores, and the labels of these drinks claim the benefits like “energy-boosting & detoxifying”. “Probiotics are not essential to our daily diet, but they are important in stronger immunity and healthful gut,” says the author Jackie, writer of “The with or without meat cookbook”.

The daily intake of food & beverages that have added nutrients and fortification functional foods including prebiotics is a global consumer trend. prebiotics can’t be digested and can improve the growth of probiotic bacteria. Besides the health benefits prebiotics are also used for enhancing the sensory features, lipid functionalities in low calories beverages & replace sugar.

      • Probiotics and prebiotic drinks do not improve the healthy immune system in minutes, but daily consumption may decrease GI bloat and help prevent constipation.
      • Prebiotics that are been incorporated in beverages mainly dairy industry are galactooligosaccharides, which are mostly used in dairy products & yogurts due to their stability in high water content & low Ph products, and the fructooligosaccharides used for instant beverages and they are more persistent on solid medium, these help in enhancing the products.
      • While these e beverages are beneficial for health, consuming probiotics ad other foods can cause throwing away the balance of the bacteria in the intestine.

6. Understanding the concepts of Symbiotic, Para probiotics & Postbiotics.

The technological advancement changed the thought process of this generation, that have been resulting in the development of new products with more effectiveness in usage & by improving health benefits.

The concept of synbiotics is “a combination of probiotics and prebiotics that have a good influence on the host’s health”. Combining probiotics and prebiotics is thought to be a promising new method, and there is currently a chance to test their efficacy and possible application in IBD in humans.

However, just a few studies supporting the use of synbiotic supplements in IBD have been published. In a study done by Ishikawa H et al., 2011 the combination of Bifidobacterium breve strain Yakult and GOS is tested on 41 patients with active ulcerative colitis, and it resulted in the synbiotic group, there was a significant reduction in clinical and endoscopic UC activity, as well as a decrease in the level of myeloperoxidase in rectal lavages as disease activity increased.

And now there are para probiotics, in these products the inactivated bacterial strains, fragments are used for consumption when consumed adequately they confer good health benefits. The probiotics have live microbes that can be dangerous to people with low immunity, premature babies, and impaired intestinal barriers. Term Para probiotics are introduced by Taverntiti et al. in 2011.

Para probiotics hold the ability to regulate the immune systems, antiproliferative and antioxidant activities. Para probiotics can be administered to weaker immunity people and the elderly. These products are also characterized by greater stability and can be stored without the cold chain, thereby facilitating industrial handling and wide commercialization.

Postbiotics refer to the waste material produced by the probiotics after consuming the prebiotics i.e., As intestinal microbes consume prebiotic fiber, the result of that fermentation or consumption is what is known as postbiotics. Organic acids, short-chain fatty acids, tryptophan, and bacteriocins are the most important postbiotics. Using postbiotics may provide direct or indirect benefits.

The impact of postbiotics on the host cells results in direct advantages. Indirect effects include the support of the proliferation of beneficial microbial strains and the suppression of the formation of harmful strains. Later in the essay, the methods of action are described. Postbiotics have a wide range of effects, just as prebiotics, depending on the type of microorganism, strain, and metabolic product. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics of postbiotics, particularly SCFA, are the most important benefits.

7. Upshot

From the above information, we have got an overall idea of pro & prebiotic drinks, para probiotics, postbiotics & synbiotics. Every product has its advantages and disadvantages, overdosage of can create unfavorable situations in gut health. there is no instant medicine that can act on the immune system, regular consumption may result in the gradual improvement of health. For example, prebiotic fiber should be 20 grams daily if exceeds causes gastrointestinal problems, etc. And consumption of different foods at a time may change the gut flora and can throw away the required beneficial bacteria.

8. References

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