Microbiome research is still in its infancy and there are plenty of things that the research needs to answer. The fact is that the number microbial cells is ten times higher than that of human cells, which shows that they certainly play an important role in our overall health.
This is the reason why various organizations across the world have invested as much as $920 million during the period from 2012 to 2014. And the trend will only continue, as the White House is currently investing $121 million into the future research of microorganisms in our stomach. Additionally, the government also hopes to raise more than $400 million in the coming years, to keep the research needs on track.
All of this indicates that microbiome, prebiotics, probiotics and synbiotics have a significant effect on our body’s overall health. With that in mind, let’s take a more detailed look at exactly why the research in this field is of such great importance.
The importance of microbiome research
Even though microbiome research is still in its developing stages, it looks to be paving the way to teaching dietitians how to make your immune system stronger. There is an abundance of evidence showing a number of ways in which it affects our health, including:
● Better overall gut health and smooth digestion – through the intake of fiber and prebiotic rich food, it is possible for people to improve their digestive system and passively normalize their metabolism, preventing the digestive system inflammation of any type.
● Cancer protection through an impeccable immune system – another positive effect that prebiotic food has on the body is strengthening of the immune system. The immune system benefits from prebiotics because these nutrients positively affect the gut, as it improves the absorption of nutrients taken in through other types of food. Additionally, a digestive tract rich with microorganisms decreases the number of cancer-causing enzymes.
● Reducing the risk of heart disease – prebiotics and probiotics have a hypocholesterolemic effect, making the body ready to prevent the majority of heart diseases. Furthermore, potassium and sodium levels directly affect blood pressure and these nutrients stay balanced with the presence of probiotic and prebiotic nutrients in the digestive tract.
● Weight balance – intake of fiber is known to provide a variety of positive benefits for general health. This is because prebiotic and probiotic organisms stimulate the sense of fullness, as they are digested for a longer period of time, preventing the hunger centers to activate in the brain.
All this seems that this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to prebiotics, probiotics and synbiotics. This is why so much is being invested in the research and the future of this scientific branch is looking bright. Let’s take a look at the potential benefits future research is going to bring.
The future direction of the research
The above-mentioned benefits have been proven through various studies, however, there is so much more to microbiome microorganisms in our bodies. Future research is going to be focused on the following:
● Fiber – we are all aware that fibers should be in our daily nutrition, however, scientists are yet to determine the different fiber elements coming from different food. This is very important, as it is likely that some fibers coming from particular food sources are more effective than the others.
● Long-term effects of prebiotic intake – the researchers are yet to find the long-term effects of prebiotic intake.
● Duration of positive effects – when the positive effects are reached, researchers need to understand for how long they are going to last, and whether prebiotic and probiotic intake should become a long-lasting activity.
● The perfect dosage – after years of research, the scientists should be able to determine the right prebiotic dosage for the wide population.
● Effects on different individuals – as none of us are the same, the aim of the research is to find the effects of prebiotics and probiotics on various types of people. This will help with the creation of different doses needed for different people, as every single organism functions in a slightly different way.
These are the questions that need answers, which is why the US government is investing so much in this scientific field. There is much to be learned, however, it is certain that microbiome research will teach us how to make your immune system stronger. It is eventually going to lead us to reaching longer life-spans, as we get to know more about our digestive system and its impact on our overall wellbeing.
Nature.com – White House goes big on microbiome research
Nature.com – An assessment of US microbiome research
Nutrition.org – Prebiotics and the Health Benefits of Fiber: Current Regulatory Status, Future Research, and Goals
Pubmed.org – Prebiotic fibres dose-dependently increase satiety hormones and alter Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes in lean and obese JCR:LA-cp rats.
Pubmed.org – Probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics.
Pubmed.org – Prebiotics and the health benefits of fiber: current regulatory status, future research, and goals.
Pubmed.org – Prebiotic effects: metabolic and health benefits.