The influence of probiotics beyond the gut
We used to think of probiotics as only benefitting intestinal health. We are now learning that having the proper balance of healthy gut bacteria plays a role in protecting against a wide range of disorders beyond the gut.
Inside our body are trillions of microbes, collectively knows as the microbiome. They live in the gut and their job is to digest food, synthesize vitamins and fight infection.
The digestive tract works through a complex network of integrative functions. At the level of the gut, this integration occurs between the immune, neuromotor and enteroendocrine systems, coordinating the physical and chemical elements of the intestinal barrier in order to facilitate digestion whilst protecting the gut from unwanted components of the luminal contents. Perturbations in this complex network could lead to gut dysfunction and abberations outside the gut.
Factors such as stress, an erratic lifestyle, travelling or consumption of spoiled food have been shown to disturb the intestinal microbiota. A total of over 25 diseases, syndromes or other aberrations are now associated with disruptions of the intestinal microbiota. These include for example; allergies, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), cardiovascular diseases and obesity.
Probiotics can restore the balance of the gut microbiome, resulting in amelioration or prevention of intestinal and other systemic diseases. Winclove's scientists are researching how prolonged imbalance in intestinal bacteria triggers diseases outside the gut and how probiotic therapies can effectively interact.