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08A review article in Gastroenterologica e Dietologica explores the evidence for the use of LGG as a therapeutic probiotic.[1] Probiotics are becoming increasingly important in basic and clinical research, but they are also a subject of considerable economic interest due to their expanding popularity. They are live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit to the host.

From this very well-known definition, it is clear that, unlike drugs, probiotics might be useful in healthy subjects to reduce the risk of developing certain diseases or to optimise some physiological functions. They also may offer some advantages in already ill persons in relieving symptoms and signs, e.g. people with acute diarrhoea.

PrintThe idea that bacteria in the gut may have many twists in their skill set to enhance human health has been around for a while. That they may have the capability of inducing a cytoprotective enzyme called Nrf2 in local tissues, which in turn promotes the production of glutathione, detoxification and numerous other health supportive elements has until recently been less well understood.[1]

Nrf2 activation upregulates a regulon of genes including those involved in xenobiotic and reactive oxygen species (ROS) detoxification, as well as pro-restitutive function. This pathway has attracted considerable attention because small molecule inducers of Nrf2 have cytoprotective effects against oxidant and electrophilic environmental stressors.[2],[3]

PR-cover-v78_n2.inddFor some time now there has been a growing body of supportive evidence that the relationship between the bacteria in our digestive tract and our central nervous system may not be as tenuous as some may like to think. In a recent study published in Pediatric Research[1] a retrospective review of data in a small but informative group of children, indicates there may be a positive relationship between the use of a well studied probiotic and reduced risk of developing neuropsychiatric illness.

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