Can gut bugs promote good health?

Professor Buttriss: ‘The evidence base has grown’

The interest in bugs – in this case those that inhabit the human gut – continues to grow as research reveals the fascinating symbiotic relationships that exist between them and us, and the impact of these on our health.

For many years, there has been interest in the potential of foods and drinks containing viable bacterial cultures, known as ‘probiotics’, to interact with these relationships and thus, contribute to health.

No approved EU health claims

Nevertheless, no approved EU health claims have yet emerged. This has often been attributed to the poor characterisation of the bacterial cultures, or to the small subject numbers in studies limiting study power.

Reports of gastrointestinal discomfort are widespread in the adult population, especially women, and a beneficial role for probiotics in promoting gut health has been speculated.

Evidence base has grown

Over time, the evidence base has grown and a recent meta-analysis has pooled data for a specific dose and specific mix of Bifidobacterium lactis and four lactic acid bacteria strains, finding a significant effect in favour of a probiotic fermented milk.

This does not yet amount to authorisation of a health claim, but illustrates that progress is being made.

  • Professor Judy Buttriss is director general of the British Nutrition Foundation

Related News

Gut bacteria from overweight people impacts the health of mice, according to the NFI

Obesity in mice linked to gut bacteria, study reveals

Potatoes, along with grains, pulses and seeds, are a natural source of resistant starch

Resistant starch shown to offer gut health boost

Professor Buttriss: ‘Sugar intakes are deemed too high’

Sugar reduction aims thwarted by sweetener confusion

Quadram researchers will study links between gut microbes and health

IFR becomes Quadram Institute in search for healthier food

Professor Buttriss: ‘Resistant starch is naturally present in some foods’

Evidence for benefits of resistant starch is growing

A ‘fat-busting’ microbe has been identified in healthy intestines that helps combat obesity

Nutrition advice questioned by gut microbe scientist

Probiotics are defined as live micro-organisms that benefit their host

First health claim in sight for vitamin B12 probiotic

Professor Buttriss: ‘Purchases of fruit and vegetables have continued to decline’

Family Food survey reveals fruit and veg decline

The digestive health market is full of life, ingredients makers claim

Lack of probiotics progress fails to slow gut health market

Buttriss: ‘Bigger, high quality trials are needed and now underway’

Can turmeric really help cure cancer?

Professor Buttriss: ‘The challenge has been to find substitutes that provide the same functionality in food production’

Sat fat replacement research ramps up

EU health claim studies must show improvement in a healthy group of people: Bush

EU health claims for probiotics ‘nearly impossible’

Protein new to the local food chain has the potential to cause allergies: Buttriss

New protein sources – new allergens?

Buttriss: ‘At the heart of the concept is a changed relationship with food’

How mindful eating can boost positive dietary choices

Buttriss: ‘A substantial number of 11 to 18-year-olds had low intakes of vitamin A’

Diet and nutrition survey results are a mixed bag

Buttriss: ‘A two-egg omelette or sandwich provides a third of the daily target’

Government advice on vitamin D supplements

Buttriss: ‘PHE now has a set of guiding principles for distinguishing free sugars from others’

Labelling of sugar content under scrutiny

Related Products

See more related products

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.