From Microbes to Medicine

From Microbes to Medicine

From Microbes to Medicine: Fermented Foods for Health

In this insightful article, we delve into the remarkable world of fermented foods and their potential for promoting health and well-being.

From ancient traditions to cutting-edge research, the art of fermentation has intrigued cultures for centuries.

Join us on this captivating journey as we uncover the fascinating science behind fermented foods and explore their contribution to overall health optimization.

Introduction to the Role of Microbes in Human Health

Microbes are tiny living things that are found all around us and are too small to be seen by the naked eye. Some microbes make us sick, but others are important for our health. They live in water, soil, and in the air. The human body is also home to millions of these microorganisms.(1)

The gut microbiome refers to the collection of microbes associated with the human digestive tract. Healthy gut microbiota plays crucial roles in nutrient and mineral absorption, immune activation, synthesis of enzymes, vitamins, and amino acids, production of neurotransmitters which help in mood regulation, protection against pathogens (harmful microorganisms), and generation of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) which are energy boosters to cells in the colon, aiding in better absorption of nutrients. (2)

The gut microbiome aids nutrient absorption by breaking down complex food molecules which bypass human digestion. Gut bacteria possess enzymes for the release of these nutrients. Gut microbiota influences host health by shaping the biochemical profile of the diet (4)it produces metabolites to communicate with the immune system and modulate immune responses.(5) metabolites that regulate neurotransmitters, such as serotonin (Happy hormone), dopamine (brains reward system), and glutamate (excitatory neurotransmitter), which play important roles in neurological and immunological activities in the brain. (7) Changes to the composition of the gut microbiota have been related to obesity, such that the intestinal microbiome in obese patients tends to be more efficient in harvesting energy from the diet compared to normal weight patients.(6)

Humans need microbes to stay healthy, and many microbes need the environments provided by the human body to survive.

Fermented Food With Therapeutic Potential

There has been an old saying let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food’ Fermented food products have been proposed to have various beneficial effects on health for centuries. Fermentation is a process where microorganisms metabolize sugars and organic acid into simpler substances resulting in the formation of a different product.

The history of probiotics goes back to centuries ago when people drank fermented milk for their health. Fermented foods have been Consumed by humans for thousands of years, and these foods have been considered to promote the health. The beneficial bacteria and its metabolites in these foods bring diversity and various health benefits.
Potential health benefits of fermented foods include a reduced risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, diarrhea, thrombosis, and so on.

With fermentation, the levels of many vitamins such as vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B9 (folate), vitamin B12, and vitamin K in foods are increased. many potential health benefits are attributed to fermented foods and beverages due to the biologically active peptides, vitamins, and other compounds produced by the bacteria responsible for fermentation (3)

Microbes as Medicine

The good bacteria from these fermented foods typically known as probiotics (live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amount that confer to the health benefits) which may be used as food supplements to consume or as medicines in various forms.

Eli Metchnikoff was the first person to proposed the idea of using probiotics for health benefits. Then the strain of Escherichia coli (E coli nissle 1917) was isolated and was used to treat patients suffering from shigellosis outbreak. Since then, several others documented uses of probiotics are available in the literature.

It is generally accepted that the dose of probiotic microorganisms must be 100 million to 10 billion microorganisms for it to be effective.

Science Behind Microbial Neutraceutical

probiotic microorganisms have been applied to modulate the microbiome in a beneficial way and thus fighting against infections threatening human and animal health Probiotics help protect the stomach lining by strengthening its protective barriers and maintaining its overall health.

They ensure that the stomach lining stays strong and intact, preventing damage and promoting good digestive health.

Studies showed that probiotic supplementation can both increase bone density and protect against primary (estrogen-deficiency) and secondary osteoporosis Anti-carcinogenic, antimutagenic, and anti-allergic activities Production of antimicrobial agents, organic acids, and bacteriocins stimulates the production of intestinal mucins which will prevent the implantation of pathogens.

Lactobacillus GG, Enterococcus faecium (SF68 strain), and Saccharomyces boulardii have a strong recommendation for the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea, the treatment of C. difficile colitis, as well as treatment of gastroenteritis in addition to oral rehydration therapy. Lactobacillus delbrueckii subspecies bulgaricus and S. thermophilus in yogurts improve the intolerance to lactose as they possess the enzyme beta- galactosidase
Probiotics have many beneficial compounds which help in overall well-being and for critically ill patients.

Innovation in Microbiome Research

Innovation in microbiome research involves discovering new bacterial strains and enhancing their beneficial effects through various methods. This includes increasing colony-forming units (CFU) through different applications and targeting specific diseases or health conditions with particular bacteria. Formulating products with bacterial strain spores or metabolites to stabilize efficacy is essential.

Additionally, designing novel foods enriched with beneficial microorganisms and bioactive compounds is central to food innovation.

At ScienceOnWheels Bio

At Science on Wheels, we offer comprehensive support for probiotic research. In addition to formulating products and improving shelf life, we specialize in resolving challenges related to maintaining colony-forming units (CFU).

Our expertise extends to optimizing probiotic strains for specific applications and enhancing their efficacy through innovative techniques. Furthermore, we provide guidance on regulatory compliance and quality control measures to ensure the highest standards in probiotic development. Do reach out to us to discuss this further.

Conclusion

The significance of microbes in human health, notably through probiotics found in fermented foods, underscores a burgeoning field of research and innovation. From enhancing gut health to potentially mitigating diseases, the advantages of leveraging microbial capabilities are profound.

As our comprehension of the microbiome advances, so does the potential for novel discoveries and product advancements. At Science on Wheels, we spearhead probiotic research, offering comprehensive support to harness the full potential of these beneficial microorganisms. Our expertise spans from formulation to shelf life enhancement, CFU optimization, and regulatory compliance, ensuring the utmost quality in probiotic development. Through continued exploration of the microbiome, we pave the path toward a healthier future, propelled by the transformative power of microbes.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279387/#:~:text=Microbes%20are%20tiny%20living%20things,are%20important%20for%20our%20health.
  2. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-814330-8.00004-4.
  3. https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2017.1383355
  4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2022.999001
  5. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8101587
  6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopha.2022.112678
  7. https://doi.org/10.3390%2Fnu15143258

Article By:

Anisha Aroskar
Scientist, Scienceonwheels – Innovation Lab.

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