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Abstract

ASSESSMENT OF COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE PROBIOTICS SUPPLEMENTS

Manmath Purohit* and Akanksha Patel

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Abstract

The gastrointestinal tract harbours trillions of microbes, forming the gut microbiome, which plays a pivotal role in human health. The balance of microbes was previously thought to be heavily skewed towards microbes, but recent estimates suggest a more balanced ratio. Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes are dominant bacterial groups, while others like Proteobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, Actinobacteria, and Fusobacteria make up a smaller fraction. Diet significantly influences the gut microbiome composition, with fiber promoting Prevotella and fat favouring Bacteroides growth. Prebiotics, non-digestible compounds in food, stimulate the growth of beneficial microbes, mainly in the large intestine. Prebiotics are abundant in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes, serving as substrates for gut bacteria. They support digestion, gut cell health, calcium absorption, blood sugar balance, and immune function. While beneficial, excessive intake can cause gas or bloating, and they may worsen symptoms for individuals with irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics are live microorganisms with potential health benefits, though their effectiveness remains debated. They are explored for managing conditions like allergies, infections, and digestive disorders. Commercial probiotics vary widely in quality and adherence to label claims. Studies have exposed discrepancies between labelled and actual bacterial content in many products. Gastric acid can also impact their viability. In animal health, veterinary probiotics show similar concerns about content and efficacy. In conclusion, the gut microbiome's role in health is profound, shaped by diet and influenced by prebiotics and probiotics. While prebiotics nourish beneficial microbes, the quality of commercial probiotics remains a concern, necessitating rigorous assessment and regulation to ensure consistent efficacy and benefits for human and animal health.

Keywords: Gut microbiome, Probiotics, Microbial balance, Dietary influence, Commercial products, GI Health.


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