Food as Medicine
health benefits associated to the induction of high bifidobacteria levels in the colon by the use of prebiotics (inulin and oligofructose).
breast milk creates an environment in the colon (because of its high amount in galacto-oligosaccharides with prebiotic activity) favouring the development of a simple flora, dominated by bifidobacteria to which various health benefits have been ascribed. Currently, high colonic bifidobacteria levels has been considered favourably at all ages
This review summarises the current knowledge of the intestinal microbiome composition in the dog and evaluates the evidence for probiotic use in canine GI diseases to date. It wishes to provide veterinarians with evidence-based information on when and why these products could be useful in preventing or treating canine GI conditions. It also outlines knowledge about safety and approval of commercial probiotic products, and the potential use of faecal microbial transplantation, as they are related to the topic of probiotic usage.
Long-term weight loss studies have been shown to alter the ratio of the Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, the two major bacterial phyla residing in the human gastrointestinal tract. With aging, diet-related factors such as malnutrition are associated with microbiome shifts, although the cause and effect relationship between these factors has not been established. Increased pharmaceutical usage is also more prevalent in the elderly and can contribute to reduced gut microbiota stability and diversity. Foods containing prebiotic oligosaccharide components that nurture beneficial commensals in the gut community and probiotic supplements are being explored as interventions to manipulate the gut microbiome, potentially improving health status.
Of all the exogenous factors affecting gut microbiome, a long-term diet appears to have the largest effect to date. Recent research on the effects of dietary interventions has shown that the gut microbiome can change dramatically with diet; however, the gut microbiome is generally resilient, and short-term dietary intervention is not typically successful in treating obesity and malnutrition.
By our dietary choices, we are selecting substrates for some species and providing a competitive advantage over other GI microbiota. The more diverse the diet, the more diverse the microbiome and the more adaptable it will be to perturbations. Unfortunately, dietary diversity has been lost during the past 50 years because of decreased agrobiodiversity, or the decline in rearing varied edible plant varieties and animal breeds, is occurring at an incredible rate. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations], 75 percent of plant genetic diversity has been lost, Today, 75 percent of the world's food is generated from only 12 plants and five animal species.
With a 100-fold greater gene count than humans, the gut microbiome has huge potential to place a large metabolic burden (or advantage) on its host. The number of diverse gut microbial species is diminished in nearly all modern chronic conditions studied. The 'Western diet', rich in animal protein, fats and artificial additives, and lacking in fibre, beneficial microbes, plant phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, is thought to drive these conditions by encouraging gut dysbiosis. Evidence from recent dietary intervention studies suggest adopting a plant-based, minimally processed high-fibre diet may rapidly reverse the effects of meat-based diets on the gut microbiome. However, recent work has shown that individual diet responses may be complicated by host genetics and the wide variation in the gut microbiome.
Diets that have a high proportion of fruit and vegetables and a low consumption of meat are associated with a highly diverse microbiota and are defined by a greater abundance of Prevotella compared with Bacteroides, whereas the reverse is associated with a diet that contains a low proportion of plant-based foods. In a philosophical term, our consumption of processed foods, widespread use of antibiotics and disinfectants, and our modern lifestyle may have forever altered our ancient gut microbiome. We may never be able to identify or restore our microbiomes to their ancestral state, but dietary modulation to manipulate specific gut microbial species or groups of species may offer new therapeutic approaches to conditions that are prevalent in modern society, such as functional gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, and age-related nutritional deficiency
The use of particular food products with a prebiotic effect has thus been tested in clinical trials with the objective to improve the clinical activity and well-being of patients with such disorders. Promising beneficial effects have been demonstrated in some preliminary studies, including changes in gut microbiota composition (especially increase in bifidobacteria concentration). Often associated with toxic load and/or miscellaneous risk factors, colon cancer is another pathology for which a possible role of gut microbiota composition has been hypothesised. Numerous experimental studies have reported reduction in incidence of tumours and cancers after feeding specific food products with a prebiotic effect. Some of these studies (including one human trial) have also reported that, in such conditions, gut microbiota composition was modified (especially due to increased concentration of bifidobacteria). Dietary intake of particular food products with a prebiotic effect has been shown, especially in adolescents, but also tentatively in postmenopausal women, to increase Ca absorption as well as bone Ca accretion and bone mineral density. Recent data, both from experimental models and from human studies, support the beneficial effects of particular food products with prebiotic properties on energy homaeostasis, satiety regulation and body weight gain.
Agrarian diets high in fruit/legume fibre are associated with greater microbial diversity and a predominance of Prevotella over Bacteroides. ‘Western’‐style diets, high in fat/sugar, low in fibre, decrease beneficial Firmicutes that metabolise dietary plant‐derived polysaccharides to SCFAs and increase mucosa‐associated Proteobacteria (including enteric pathogens). Short‐term diets can also have major effects, particularly those exclusively animal‐based, and those high‐protein, low‐fermentable carbohydrate/fibre ‘weight‐loss’ diets, increasing the abundance of Bacteroides and lowering Firmicutes, with long‐term adherence to such diets likely increasing risk of colonic disease. Interventions to prevent intestinal inflammation may be achieved with fermentable prebiotic fibres that enhance beneficial Bifidobacteria or with soluble fibres that block bacterial–epithelial adherence (contrabiotics). These mechanisms may explain many of the differences in microbiota associated with long‐term ingestion of a diet rich in fruit and vegetable fibre.
these results support the view that NaNO2 may be a risk factor for colon carcinogenesis.