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Gut-Health Breakthroughs by Global Luminaries at a Two day Symposium on “Good Microbiome, Probiotics and Good Health – The Evidence gets Stronger”

The symposiumwas organized by the Gut Microbiota and Probiotic Science Foundation (India) and Medanta Institute of Education and Research, Gurugram and Amity University, Gurugram on March 5-6, 2022.

Prof. Reiko Shinkura, The University of Tokyo, Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, Laboratory of Immunology and Infection control, Tokyo, Japan

Our gut plays a vital role in extraction of nutrients, building our immune system and is connected to the brain via the vagus nerve also called the gut-brain axis. The microbial species in the gut are body’s unsung heroes which regulate the brain function in good health & disease. Prof. N.K Ganguly (President, Gut Microbiota and Probiotic Science Foundation (India)s inaugurated the event along with Dr. Naresh Trehan Chairman and Managing Director, Medanta, TM – The Medicity, Gurugram), Dr. Padmakali Banerjee (Pro Vice chancellor, Dean Academics, Amity University, Haryana, India) & Mr. Arun Singhal (CEO, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India). They stressed on the stellar role of probiotics in boosting immunity and the importance of a superior regulatory framework to ensure compliance and quality.

Key Participants and Speakers

The two day event also witnessed presentations by 6 International speakers, 10 National speakers, 3 young investigators and two exciting panel discussions on “Emerging critical issues” and “Application of Probiotics“.

Prof. Siew C Ng from the Chinese University in Hongkong shared recent findings on the differences in the intestinal microbiota in COVID-19 patients. There was a depletion in the beneficial microbes in these patients which was observed even after they had recovered which could be linked to Long COVID.

Dr. Ryuta Amamoto from the Yakult Central Institute in Japan highlighted finding from studies which showed that regular consumption of a probiotic fermented milk drink resulted in stabilizing the intestinal microbiota in an elderly population aged 66-91 years and improved both hypertension and frequency of bowel movements.

While Dr. Mahendran Appukutty, Professor of Nutrition from the University of Malaysia discussed about the use of psychobiotics in managing stress and anxiety in athletes to help improve their performance. Prof. Saurabh Dutta, Professor, Division in Neonatology, Post Graduate Medical Education and Research indicated that an imbalance in the intestinal microbiota precedes the onset of Necrotizing Enterocolitis and several meta-analyses have shown that prophylactic probiotics may reduce the risk of Necrotizing Enterocolitis and sepsis in neonates.

Prof. Nitya Gogtay, Prof. and Head, Clinical Pharmacology, KEM Hospital, Mumbai discussed the role of the gut microbes in shaping immune system maturation and activity said that Probiotics may influence the immunomodulatory effect of vaccines and offers an exciting area for both research and potential implementation with COVID and Non COVID vaccines.

Prof. A.K. Srivastava, Members, Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board, spoke on the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emission from livestock to improve human health. He said that enteric fermentation is the greenhouse gas contributor in the animal food production system. Literature on the role of probiotics to reduce CH4 production in rumen of livestock is available.

Dr. Kamini Walia, Scientist, Indian Council of Medical Research spoke on the role of gut microbes and probiotics reducing risk of infections and their possible role in combatting antimicrobial resistance.

Dr. Asana Urooj, Professor of Nutrition, University of Mysore, deliberated on the differences in the intestinal microbiota in 30 autistic children with an increase in Prevotella and Sutterella sp. In Autistic Spectrum Disorder(ASD) cases, Succinate and Butyrate were the significant metabolites for the bacterial signatures identified. This link opens up avenues to modulate the gut microbiota in ASD by means of probiotics as a therapeutically safe option.

According to Prof. Reiko Shinkura, Professor of immunology, University of Tokyo, the antibody IgA plays a critical role in the defense against pathogens and maintenance of intestinal homeostasis. W27 IgA selectively binds to multiple bacteria but not beneficial ones like Lactobacilli and can therefore improve intestinal environment, modulate gut microbial composition and could be a potential remedy for a variety of diseases associated with dysbiosis. She suggested the possibilities of oral IgA drug as a gut microbial modulator.

Dr. Philippe Langella, Research Director at the French National Institute of Agricultural Research (INRA), Paris, FranceIdentified Faecalibacterium prausnitzii as the first anti – inflammatory commensal bacterium and identification of anti – inflammatory metabolites produced by Faecalibacterium prausnitzii from human clinical data. Diminished abundance of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii has been observed in Gastrointestinal disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disorders.

Dr. Murriel Derrien, Senior Researcher, Danone Research Institute, France maintained that Probiotics alleviate the negative side effects of oral antibiotics. Metagenomic analysis of fecal microbiota to test the effects of a 7- strain fermented milk on microbiome recovery after a 14 day Helicobacter pylori eradication therapy showed significant improvement in the recovery of the microbiota composition.

Importantly, Dr. Sesikeran, Former Director, National Institute of Nutrition captured the completed and ongoing Industry funded randomized controlled clinical trials in India and reliable evidence based proof of efficacy in specific clinical conditions.

Prof. Ajay Bhalla, Director and Head, Department of Gastroenterology, Fortis Hospital, Noida said the role of probiotics is well established in infective and antibiotic associated diarrhoea but there is emerging evidence for their role in Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Constipation. An open label study on 40 patients with functional constipation showed that probiotics along with standard of care, improved overall constipation assessment score more than standard of care alone. There was also an improvement in bowel movement, rectal pain and abdominal distension in the probiotic group.

Prof. Keya Lahiri, Former Head, Dept of Paediatrics, DY Patil Hospital, Mumbai stated that studies have shown benefit of probiotics as an adjuvant therapy along with ORS and zinc. The inclusion of a probiotic reduced the duration and frequency of diarrhoea in children. It also reduced the economic burden and hospital stay of children and care givers.

Dr. V. Mohan, Chairman. Mohan Diabetes centre, Chennai stated that Gut microbiota and host interactions play a key role in pathophysiology of Type 2 diabetes, modulates energy homeostasis and glucose homeostasis and alters insulin secretions as well as insulin sensitivity and action. A large Indo Danish metagenomic project showed that differences in the gut microbiota composition of prediabetic and Type 2 diabetic patients. The interaction between the gut microbiota and antidiabetic drugs and microbiome influence on drug functions has become a thrust area of research.

The presentations by the Young Investigators, Ms. Mousumi Sarkar from National Institute of Biomedical Genomics, Kalyani showed differences in the composition of the intestinal microbiota between term and preterm delivering mothers. In preterm delivering mothers there was a decline in Lactobacillus crispatus, Lactobacillus jensenii and Lactobacillus acidophilus whereas Lactobacillus iners and Gardnerella vaginalis were significantly higher. Lactobacillus crispatus is a keystone species for a healthy vaginal microbiome. Ms. Ayushi Purohit from the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, Faridabad identified Collinsella aerofaciens with 29 genes with potential virulence, pathogenicity and disease development – linked to pathogenesis of Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver disease. Ms. Meena Kumari from the Central Food Technology Research Institute, Mysore formulated a probiotic curd that was stable at room temperature for 15 days, had better sensory acceptability and showed a reduction in serum triglycerides, cholesterol and glucose.

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