The relationship that exists between nutrition and diet with human health and diseases is known as dietetics. Lack of application of dietetics can lead to diseased condition in individuals while at the same time a proper utilization of it can help them recover from critical medical stages to an overall improved health. Therefore, the range of application of dietetics varies between healthy condition, clinical treatment, research and a wider reach out. The nutritional requirements vary between individuals. The requirements are also dependent on age, sex, body type, work culture, etc. The basic thing is that the food intake can greatly influence the health of human beings. Many times it has been a common observation that our dietetic practices are not well enough leading to various ailments. A number of dietetic food products have been tried out to complement the requirements of our body. In recent times there is a thrust towards the inclusion of probiotics and related products as functional foods to follow good dietetics. Such usage of probiotics is tried out for infants as well as for adults. There are a number of completed clinical trials to this effect with positive end results.
Modulation of Gut Microflora:
The gut microbial population of the human body to a large extent can regulate the health condition within the hosts. One of the ways the probiotics can maintain a good and healthy dietetics is via the modulation of the gut microbiota. There have been reportedly lower gastrointestinal incidences and related infections when the hosts were administered with probiotic products. The beneficial strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium as well as some others have successfully restricted the growth of the unwanted microorganisms through the production of various factors. They are potent producers of bacteriocins that could kill other bacteria. In addition, they would make the growth condition non-congenial for the proliferation of the pathogenic microflora. e.g., most of the probiotic strains produce organic acids such as lactic acid, propionic acid, butyric acid, etc. that can lower the pH of the medium which favors their rapid multiplicity while severely challenging the growth of their non-pathogenic counterparts. This provides a selective growth advantage to the probiotics.
Also, the probiotics compete out the pathogenic microorganisms for the nutrient utilization and subsequent adhesion and colonization of the epithelial layer of the gastrointestinal tract. The probiotic strains facilitate a better absorption and overall utilization of the available nutrient ingredients of the host diet. This promotes an enhanced energy extraction through nondigestible carbohydrate fermentation, salvage of nitrogen and water absorption. This is one of the major reasons why probiotics has been successfully utilized in the alleviation of lactose intolerance problem. Besides, they are also potent modulators of the immunological responses of the host which can significantly impact digestion and nutritional profile of their recipients. There are several reports that suggest the potential role of the probiotic strains in the synthesis of essential nutrients. Some of the most important nutrients include amino acids, vitamins, short chain fatty acids and their precursors.
Prebiotic-Probiotics Combinations in Dietetics:
The prebiotics has been considered as an important part of our nutrients that can supplement the host diet. However, the prebiotics although with significant potential could not be utilized properly due to the lack of ability of our system or at times a weakened useful gut microbiota. Under such circumstances the probiotics can be used to aid in the extraction of the beneficial ingredients of the prebiotics to its full potential. Therefore, the prebiotics and probiotics share complementary roles in human dietetic practices based largely on their combined efforts in the modification of the colonizing microorganisms of the body. A combined and effective intake of prebiotic-probiotic can render a number of health benefits that can compensate a lacklustre diet regime. Their common intake can enhance immune responses, clear the intestines from pathogenic microorganism colonization thereby improving the integrity of colon, reduction in the intestinal infection incidences, low allergic response, improvement in the absorption and overall digestion. Research data have proven beyond doubt that the combined intake of prebiotic-probiotic and not the prebiotics alone can achieve many other health benefits. However, before they are administered to render their positive effects, a good knowledge about the selection criteria for the products, the right strains of probiotics, the proper prebiotic choice and the guidelines for the dosage should be properly understood as the need for each individual’s dietetics is different. e.g., the intake of inulin like saccharides along with a specific probiotic strain with higher saccharidases activity would produce completely different result as compared to the strain which either lack the enzymatic activity or have negligible amount of it.
There is also a need for the consolidation of the basic research findings of the useful traits of using prebiotics and probiotics together through the rightful clinical trials before they are being put into the use as functional foods. It is noteworthy to mention that the proper application is a must according to the needs of the body and that it should not be overcooked. e.g., it has been demonstrated that the certain strains of Lactobacillus when used in combination of oligofructoses resulted in gain of weight in the infants. Research should be carried out to delineate the reason behind such undesired effects. However, very few other reports of that kind have been available particularly with regard to the adults. This goes on to suggest that the dietetic needs of the infants, adolescents and adults are quite different and should be dealt with them specifically. Likewise the nutritional requirements of the individuals might as well vary according to their sex. The gut microbiota in women tends to be significantly different from that of the men. Also, the physical and physiological stage of an individual can impact on the colonizing ability of the administered probiotic strains and has to be kept in mind. As for instance there undergoes a significant change in the associated microflora in women during pregnancy. Defined and rationale knowledge of the probiotics to be administered under specific set of conditions is therefore a prerequisite. The Human Microbiome project is intended to study the impact of the microbiome on human health.
The knowledge based application of probiotics to human dietetic practices can definitely bring about a much desired change in the nutritional pattern of the hosts that can influence their health and overall well being.