Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, May 2018

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■ NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK MAY 2018 Probiotics/Prebiotics required to maintain a 'functional core' through dietary inputs as well as identif cation of critical probiotics would be hugely benef cial." Prebiotic Power Probiotic R&D might appear to be the primary benef ciary of a well- mapped and -understood microbiome. But, says Petrosino, "Don't underestimate prebiotics. To date, diet is one of the greatest means by which to impact the microbiome, and supplements harnessing the best part of our diet—insoluble f ber—will have a positive im- pact on our microbiome without having to worry about whether the strains in a particular probiotic will be accepted or sustained by the community of microbes that currently reside in the gut—that is, tol- erated by the immune system." For his part, de Souza is "personally excited" about the opportunity to use specif c soluble f bers and prebiotics to target specif c benef - cial members of the microbiome, or "guide populations toward more natural assemblages to mitigate disease symptoms, maintain healthy states, and proactively address health imbalance without compro- mising our pursuit of convenience, improved health, and wellbeing." Smarter Antibiotics Anyone who's had a bacterial infection owes a debt to our modern catalogue of antibiotics. But "while we've benef tted greatly from an- tibiotics," de Souza says, "what has their true impact on the current microbiome been, and have some of our best microbial allies gone ex- tinct as collateral damage in the war against microbial pathogens?" Perhaps an even more interesting question is whether or not we could "harness the collective power of the microbiome to maintain the balance in our favor when it comes to general health and well- being," he continues. As antibiotic-resistant bugs emerge, he sees increasing knowledge of the microbiome and prebiotics as of ering an "opportunity to address this issue in a smarter way that's more sustainable, and just as ef ective." Good Start If he could wake up one morning and answer any pressing question about the microbiome's ef ects on human health, Petrosino would pose this: "What single-best measure can be taken to ensure that you set your microbiome on the right foot immediately after birth? Or is it actually even during pregnancy?" T at's because mounting data show that the seeds of everything from mental health, obesity, and BMI to asthma and more may germinate under the inf uence of early microbiota/microbiome exposure and development. "And the means to establish, protect, ensure, or correct these early-life exposures so that we all set of on the right foot toward ideal health may have a great impact on quality of life, and may also have a positive impact on the cost of healthcare," he says. Kimberly J. Decker writes for the food and nutrition industries from her base in the San Francisco area, where she enjoys eating food as much as she does writing about it.

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