The gut microbiome: The key to overall health and wellness

The discovery of the gut microbiome’s effect on human health has changed how scientists understand disease, creating huge interest in finding ways to modulate our microbiome, reports Per Rehné, CEO, Clasado Biosciences

During the past decade, research into the microbial organisms that live in and on us has come to the forefront of human science.

The gut microbiome, in particular, is now being coined as an organ in its own right, carrying approximately 150 times more genes than are found in the entire human genome and representing almost 80% of the entire immune system.

Scientists have recognised its impact on human physiology, as well its ability to affect our mental and physical health status, and are now suggesting this vast ecosystem may ultimately be able to better help guide the diagnosis of disease.

This revelation is driving scientists to look at the benefits of microbiome-altering ingredients such as prebiotics and probiotics, which have been researched to show they have positive effects on the health of the human body. But what is the difference between the two?

Probiotics are live organisms that promote our well-being, and prebiotics act as the fuel for probiotics and other beneficial members of the microbiome. Put simply, probiotics would not be half as effective without the equally powerful prebiotics.

Although microbial communities exist in all areas of the human body, the highly complex intestinal microbiome has become a core area of research. Scientists have already established that the gut microbiome is heavily involved in the development of the human immune system. As well as helping the body to digest certain foods, the gut microbiota also protects it from disease, can influence behaviour and synthesises certain vitamins, including B and K.

The benefits of diversity

A diverse gut microbiota is known to be a symptom of good health, as these bacteria produce essential substances that our own human cells cannot. Abnormalities in microbial diversity or altered microbiota composition correlate with several inflammatory diseases, as well as colon cancer, diabetes and obesity. This is known as dysbiosis and studies from the past decade alone support its connection with a variety of health issues.

Research has shown that reduced bacterial diversity has been observed in people with conditions such as obesity, high cholesterol and type 1 diabetes, showing that the health of our gut may influence and contribute towards chronic disease.

Interest has particularly increased towards microbiota-altering therapeutics, using probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics that present exciting avenues for forms of disease management and increasing overall health and well-being. This understanding is allowing leading biotechnology companies to research and develop clinically proven solutions in the field of gut mediated wellness.

Biotechnology specialist Clasado BioSciences, for example, develops and manufactures microbiome-based products aimed at consumers gastrointestinal wellness for the food and healthcare sectors, including the well-known prebiotic brand, Bimuno.

The patent-protected technology is a blend of non-digestible galacto-oligosaccharides, which enhance the production and activity of bacteria in the colon and can be added to any food, drink or existing supplement to improve gut health. It is the only second-generation prebiotic that increases the level of intestinal health-promoting bacteria such as Bifidobacteria and has multiple biological activities that impact the gut, immune system and overall health and well-being.

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Bimuno has been shown in preclinical and clinical studies to have a unique triple mode of action, including the ability to create positive change in gut microbiota, have a beneficial impact on the innate immune system and directly protect against certain pathogens.

It has also been shown to be highly effective in individuals whose bacterial balance has been altered by triggers such as stress, ageing, travel abroad or certain aggressive antibiotics.

The examination of the gut microbiome is an illuminating and rapidly expanding field of research. It is becoming ever more evident that the balance of gastrointestinal microbiota is significant for the overall health of the entire body; and, as consumers and the nutraceutical industry learn more about this, scientists will continue their research and manufacturers will endeavour to develop innovative, microbiome-based products to help with systemic well-being.

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