The term “probiotic”
was introduced for the first time in 1965 by Lilly and Stillwell; unlike antibiotics, probiotics are defined as factors of microbiological origin that stimulate the growth of other organisms. In 1989, Roy Fuller emphasised the requirement of viability for probiotics and introduced the idea that they have a beneficial effect on the host.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can be included in the preparation of a wide range of products including food, medicines and dietary supplements. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the species most commonly used as probiotics.
Strictly speaking, however, the term "probiotic" should be reserved for live microorganisms that have been shown in controlled human studies to be beneficial to health.
As defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO), probiotics are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host. Many studies have been made of the general benefits of consuming probiotics and sufficient evidence is gradually appearing in humans to demonstrate the regulatory effects of probiotics in the accumulation of abdominal visceral fat.
"Microorganisms", also known as microbes or microscopic organisms, are living beings that can only be seen under a microscope. Derived from the Greek "mikros", small, and "organismos", organism, the word therefore means "tiny living things". These are organisms endowed with individuality bodies that present -unlike plants and animals- a basic biological organisation. Most are unicellular, although in some cases they may be organisms formed by multinucleated cells or even multicellular.
Microorganisms include bacteria, yeasts and fungi.
Some are pathogens, others are innocuous and still others, such as probiotics, are beneficial to our health.
Are all bacteria probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when added as a dietary supplement, have a beneficial effect on the development of microbial flora in the intestine and/or on our health.
Probiotics stimulate the protective functions of the digestive system and are also known as biotherapeutics, bioprotectors or bioprophylactics. They are the opposite of pathogenic bacteria, which cause diseases, some with important effects on human history.
Bifidobacteria are a group of bacteria that normally live in the digestive tract. They can be cultivated outside the body and then taken orally as supplements or foods.
Bifidobacteria belong to a group of bacteria known as "probiotics". They are "friendly" bacteria that are taken so that they grow and multiply in the areas of the body areas where they would normally grow.
Bifidobacteria are used to treat many conditions that affect the intestines. They are used to prevent diarrhoea in infants and children and for traveller's diarrhoea in adults. Some people take them to restore the balance of "good bacteria" that have been eliminated by diarrhoea, radiation, chemotherapy, antibiotics or other problems. Bifidobacteria are also used to treat intestinal diseases in both adults and children (inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis) and to treat atopic eczema, fungal infections (candidiasis), to stimulate the immune system or to reduce cholesterol.
The intestinal microbiota has many beneficial functions related to human health. Several studies suggest a possible relationship between the composition and development of certain metabolic diseases, such as obesity. The composition of the intestinal microbiota causes alteration in energy homeostasis, in the use of diet ingested and in lipid storage. Studies have also shown that the increase in bifidobacteria after dietary manipulation is associated with weight reduction, the adipogenic effects of diet, intestinal permeability and inflammatory markers, so that an increase in bifidobacteria may be accompanied by loss weight and a reduction in parameters linked to obesity.
Is a probiotic the same as a prebiotic?
They have very similar names, so it is understandable that we might confuse the terms probiotic and prebiotic, but in reality they are different concepts.
The human intestine is colonised by over a thousand different species of bacteria which form the intestinal flora. Good and bad bacteria co-exist, although there is usually a balance between the two that protects against attacks by other microorganisms. However, poor diet, stress or the appearance of certain illnesses can cause the growth of harmful bacteria. Probiotics are available to improve the intestinal bacterial flora. Probiotics are non-pathogenic bacteria that contribute to balance in the intestinal flora, strengthen our defences and enhance our general health.
Unlike probiotics, prebiotics are not live bacteria, but carbohydrates that our body does not digest and that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. In other words, prebiotics are food for probiotics and promote their reproduction, helping to improve our health and wellbeing. Ingesting them improves the intestinal functions and, by inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria, reduces the risk of contracting such illnesses as infectious diarrhoea is reduced. Two of the most studied prebiotics are inulin-a dietary fibre- and fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which are derived from inulin.
Synbiotics are mixtures of probiotics and prebiotics. Their purpose is to ensure that, when they reach the intestine, probiotics are accompanied by substances (prebiotics) that help their growth and colonisation.
How can we select the right probiotic?
For an organism to perform its protective function, it must fulfill the postulates of Huchetson: to be a normal inhabitant of the intestine; to have a short reproduction period: to be able to produce antimicrobial compounds; and to be stable during the production, marketing and distribution process so that it reaches the intestines alive. It is important that these microorganisms should be capable of crossing the gastric barrier in order to multiple and colonise the intestine.
In order to asess the properties of probiotics, a joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation entitled "Probiotics in Food: Health and Nutrition Properties and Guidelines for Evaluation" proposed that the following guidelines be used: (a) the probiotic microorganisms used should not only be capable of surviving passage through the digestive tract, but also have the capability to proliferate in the intestine. This means they must be resistant to gastric juices and be able to grow in the presence of bile under conditions in the intestines, or be consumed in a food vehicle that allows them to survive passage through the stomach and exposure to bile; (b) Probiotics must be able to exert their benefits on the host through growth and/or activity in the human body. However, it is the specificity of the action, not the source of the microorganism, that is important; (c) There is a need for refinement of in vitro tests to predict the ability of probiotics to function in humans or to conduct clinical trials in humans that enable this relationship to be studied directly.
What is the intestinal microbiota?
There are more than one thousand bacterial species the digestive system, and than half the weight of the material found in the colon corresponds to bacterial cells, whose number is ten times that of all the tissue cells that go to form the human body. It has been suggested that these bacteria have in their genomes around 150 times as many unique genes as the entire human genome (about 3.3 million genes). Most of these microorganisms are found along the digestive tract, with the highest concentration in the colon. The bacterial colonisation of the intestine begins at birth and continues throughout life, undergoing substantial changes according to age.
Over the course of life, the composition of the digestive microbiota increases, in terms of both diversity and richness, reaching its peak development in adulthood with a bacterial composition that then remains relatively stable throughout life. Although this composition is individual, varying from one person to another, there is a stable number of bacterial genera and species in the body, known as "enterotypes".
Changes in eating habits could explain up to 57% of the variation in the composition of the intestinal microbiota. This would indicate that diet plays an important role in changes to key populations in the intestinal microbiota, with the capacity to transform the healthy phenotype into a disease-inducing entity or vice versa. Studies conducted in humans show that the intestinal microbiota of the obese phenotype is characterised by increased capacity to obtain energy from the diet by overexpression of the genes related to the fermentative metabolism.
What is the "intestinal microbiome"?
The intestinal microbiota is the aggregate of microorganisms that reside in the human intestinal tract. There is ample evidence to support the idea that the intestinal microbiota and its genome (microbiome) play a key role in the physiology and development of the organism. The composition and functions of the microbiome depend on many factors related to lifestyle that, in turn, determine health and the risk of developing food-related and behavioural disorders. These factors include diet, eating habits, the intake of antibiotics and even the type of delivery in childbirth. Age and sex also play an important role in this. Moreover, all these factors can influence the communication and functions of the intestine, the brain and peripheral tissues such as the liver, the pancreas and the adipose tissue.
Amongst the new methods used to study the microbial ecology of complex bacterial communities, the metagenomic approach is considered the "gold standard" method for sequencing quality. Metagenomics is the study of microbial communities through base sequencing, functional analysis and/or compositional information on all the microbial genomes in a sample. Alterations to eating habits, as well as age and genetics, not only affect energy balance but also have greater impact in modifying the intestinal microbiota and its gene expression. This can help to cause obesity and increase the risk of developing metabolic disorders.
Although the mechanisms by which the microbiome influences health and well-being are not yet fully known, progress in understanding these will assist in the development of dietary recommendations and nutritional intervention strategies enabling greater control of their functions, in this way preventing behavioural and food-related disorders.
How does the "intestinal microbiome" influence weight gain?
Recent studies of the intestinal microbiote
have shown that obesity is associated with a reduction in Gram-negative bacteria (Bacteroidetes), and an increase in Gram-positive bacteria (Firmicutes). Other studies found that obese patients presented larger numbers of Firmicutes than of Bacteroidetes compared to thin people, demonstrating that the intestinal microbiota in obese individuals is less diverse than that of non-obese individuals. It has also been found that the microbiota that resides in the gastrointestinal tract may be one of the factors that affect the energy balance.
Changes in the Bacteroidetes-to-Firmicutes ratio lead to alterations in the fermentation pattern that may explain weight gain. Most Bacteroidetes are associated with the carbohydrate metabolism, whereas Firmicutes are associated with transport systems, which suggests that any deviation in this microbiome may lead to obesity. We can therefore affirm that intestinal microbiomes composed mainly of Firmicutes facilitate the intake and fermentation of indigestible carbohydrates in Short Chain Fatty Acids, the mechanism responsible for the obese phenotype in humans.
How does the intestinal microbiome differ between thin and obese people?
There are in the human body ten times more microbial cells than human cells. Almost always, these microorganisms are our partners in health and help to maintain a strong immune system and ensure the digestion of food to produce essential nutrients, among many other tasks. However, there is growing evidence that, under certain conditions, some of these microorganisms can worsen our health and increase the risk of contracting illnesses.
Using new genomic tools, researchers have systematically identified many microorganisms that reside both in and on our bodies. With the tools and information available to study these microbial ecosystems, researchers are changing their focus and, instead of asking: "Who's there?", they now ask: "What are they doing?" The goal is to understand what microorganisms do to help maintain human health or create the conditions for illness. Early work in this field linked the microorganisms found in the intestines to obesity, which is a risk factor for cancer.
Research work has found that the communities of microorganisms that reside in the intestines affect or are affected by food. Researchers have been aware for a long time that microorganisms digest the food that humans cannot digest, and in this way provide the nutrients that humans need, so that the type of bacteria that reside in our colon directly affects the amount of energy produced from the food we eat. It is, therefore, not only a case of what we eat, but also of the bacteria we reside in our intestines and which break down what we eat.
If it is determined that different configurations of microorganisms can be associated with a reduced risk of certain illnesses, then these same illnesses could be prevented (or even treated) by simply modifying microbial communities. In order to design strategies to prevent and treat illnesses, it is vital to identify the mechanisms through which these bacteria signal their effects on the human host.
Numerous researchers have discovered differences between obese and thin people in more than 300 bacterial genes
, many of which are involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. The bacteria that reside in the intestines help to digest food and affect the efficiency with which the metabolism functions, absorbing the calories in the body. Using obese and thin twins as subjects, researchers have found various differences in their microbial communities. This suggests that overweight people are unable to incorporate calories into the metabolism as efficiently as thin people, and that this is due to the type of bacteria found in their respective intestines.
Can the intestinal microbiome of obese people be modified so that they lose weight?
Studies carried out in animals that received the intestinal bacteria of obese humans showed that these animals became fatter and accumulated more fat than animals that received the microbiota of thin humans. It was observed that the Bacteroidetes were capable of colonising the intestines of obese animals, settling into unoccupied niches and activating changes in the metabolism
, whilst none of the bacteria from the obese individuals was capable of invading the thin individuals to make them accumulate fat. This research shows that the transmission of physical and metabolic characteristics through microbial communities in the intestine depends on diet.
Scientists believe that this discovery may represent an important step towards the development of new therapies based on the use of personalised probiotics for the treatment or prevention of obesity.
As changes in the Firmicutes-to-Bacteroidetes ratio in the intestinal microbiota have been associated with obesity in humans, a probiotic capable of reversing this situation would be able to achieve weight reduction.
Since 1954, more than 10,000 international scientific studies on probiotics have been conducted, suggesting various forms of treatment. In recent years, around 2,000 articles per year are published, demonstrating growing interest and awareness of the health benefits of probiotics.
The safe use of probiotics becomes more and more important as their popularity increases. To this end, the World Health Organisation establishes a series of critical issues to be evaluated in preparations: absence of transmissible antibiotic resistance genese; absence of harmful metabolic activities that produce substances like D-lactic acid, which can cause neurological changes; determination of toxin production and haemolytic capacity and prevention of the same if the strain belongs to a potentially producing species; absence of infectivity in immunocompromised animals; existence of surveillance studies on the potential adverse effects of continued consumption; existence of surveillance studies on possible adverse effects of continued consumption.
Clinical trials conducted to date have not demonstrated that the use of probiotics is associated with the occurrence of adverse effects of clinical relevance.
To study the B. animalis subsp. lactis CECT 8145 strain thoroughly with regard to safety for human consumption, all guidelines recommended by the WHO and the FAO were followed. Moreover, everything its entire genome has been sequenced in accordance with the recommendations of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The results of all these studies support the conclusion that the strain B. animalis subsp. lactis CECT 8145 is safe and can be classified within the GRAS and QPS lists of safe species.
What are the effects of an overdose of probiotics?
It is extremely difficult to cause an overdose of probiotics. It is possible to take supplements containing up to a total of 30 thousand million probiotic microorganisms per day without creating any negative organic effect.
Can probiotics cause adverse side-effects?
Some people experience increased intestinal gas, mild diarrhoea or stomach upset while their body is adjuting to high doses of probiotics.
What precautions should be taken into account when taking probiotics?
There is insufficient information about the use of bifidobacteria during pregnancy and lactation, and the use of these products at these times is therefore not recommended.
There is some concern that probiotics could grow too well in people with weak immune systems and cause infections. Although this has not occurred with bifidobacteria specifically, those with weakened immune systems should consult with a doctor before taking probiotics.
Interactions may take place between probiotics and antibiotics, so their combination is not recommended, as doing so could reduce the effectiveness of these microorganisms. On the other hand, no interaction has been observed between probiotics and herbs, supplements or foodstuffs.
What is the best way of storing probiotics?
Probiotic bacteria must be viable in the product so that consumers can benefit from their positive effects on health. These bacteria must survive several phases, including processing treatments, storage conditions and tolerance to conditions in the human body. Research has been conducted on several factors that affect the viability and stability of probiotic bacteria over these phases, and gastro-resistant capsules and packaging have been developed to protect the viability of probiotics.
Could I be allergic to probiotics?
Probiotics do not in themselves produce allergic reactions, but other associated ingredients can, so it is always essential to read the list of ingredients, especially if you have any defined allergy.
Can I take probiotics on an empty stomach?
Although the health benefits of probiotics are also obtained when taken on an empty stomach, it is best to take them with food. The stomach is a highly acidic environment, but after eating it becomes less acidic, allowing more live bacteria to survive gastric acidity and make their way to the intestinal tract.
What is the Dieta y Más probiotico?
The Dieta y Más probiotic
is the Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis CECT 8145 strain, which is capable of reducing body fat and enhancing metabolic syndrome biomarkers.
It has been shown that this strain significantly reduces body fat content compared to other commercial strains.
How does the Dieta y Más probiotico cause weight loss?
At present, it is believed that the intestinal microbiota is an additional factor that influences the energy metabolism and obesity
, and that the intestinal colonisation process increases the capacity of the host both to extract energy from the diet and to store this in the adipocytes, using various mechanisms.
Commensal intestinal bacteria have a group of enzymes and transporters that are specialised in digesting complex polysaccharides, which otherwise would be inaccessible to humans. Microbial fermentation of non-digestible compounds in the diet can provide around 10% of daily energy. The intestinal microbiota may also influence the energy balance by modifying the expression of host genes involved in the metabolism of lipids and glucides. The colonisation of the intestine by the conventional microbiota may also help to cause the development of obesity derived from the consumption of a diet that is high in fats and sugars. Some commensal bacteria also appear to regulate the levels of serum lipoproteins and cholesterol through their activity on the metabolism of bile acids, contributing to their deconjugation and hydrolysis.
The Dieta y Más probiotic
has been shown in several studies to act on peptides in the neuroendocrine system (neuropeptides) involved in intake, as well as reducing the size of adipocytes, lowering ghrelin levels and increasing adiponectin serum levels. This suggests an effect on regulation of the growth of adipose tissue and on obesity. All this enhances hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance. The Dieta y Más probiotic has been demonstrated to have positive effects on the lipoprotein and cholesterol metabolism.
What is the difference between the Dieta y Más probiotic and other products?
Of all the factors that can lead to modulation of the composition of the intestinal microbiota and body weight, changes in diet are possibly the most immediate when it comes to establishing therapeutic guidelines to combat overweight and obesity. To this end, based on the functions that certain probiotic bacteria perform in the intestinal metabolism, the administration of probiotics is considered a possible alternative to correct dysbiosis of the intestinal microbiota associated with obesity, as well as certain biomarkers associated with this pathology.
The principal difference between the Dieta y Más probiotic and others is that the Dieta y Más probiotic is supported by substantial scientific evidence
. This has been recognised by the granting of a patent (P201331088: “New strain of B. animalis subsp. lactis CECT 8145 and its use for the treatment and/or prevención of overweight and obesity and associated illnesses”. Patricia Martorell Guerola, Mª Empar Chenoll Cuadros, Daniel Ramón Vidal, Pepa Ortiz Serrano, Silvia Llopis Pla, Núria González Martinez, Salvador Genovés Martinez, Beatriz Casinos Ramos. Ángela Silva Angulo, Amaya Aleixandre).
Studies of the Dieta y Más probiotic have shown that this product reduces body weight and the tendency towards obesity, as well as restoring the intestinal microbiota and reducing inflammatory and metabolic syndrome biomarkers. It has also been observed that the probiotic reduces the size of adipocytes, the weight of white adipose and total cholesterol after a high-fat diet. In this regard, it is notable that the results from such trials are specific to the strain analysed, and that the results or action mechanisms cannot be extrapolated to the species or genus as a whole.
Generally speaking, the Bifidobacterium genus is consistently and negatively associated with obesity and control of adipose tissue accumulation. This appears to be due to its capacity to transform linoleic acid in diet into conjugated linoleic acid in adipose tissue. It was also recently shown that the administration of certain strains of the Bifidobacterium genus reduces the absorption of dietary fat with the subsequent reduction of visceral fat, fat deposited in the liver and body weight and a decrease in adipocyte size and serum levels of cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose, enhancing insulin sensitivity. Finally, the Bifidobacterium genus is capable of reducing the inflammatory pattern of obesity and its comorbidities.
How can I tell whether I need Dieta y Más?
Obesity is a multifactorial condition associated with an increasing tendency towards excessive energy intake compared to caloric expenditure in diet. However, it is also influenced by genetic, physiological, metabolic, social and cultural factors. In most European countries, including Spain, the rate of obesity has increased by 20-40% in the last 10 years, rising alarmingly amongst children. Obesity also constitutes a serious public health problem, as it is accompanied by the development of related metabolic and chronic disorders such as insulin resistance and diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, fatty liver and dyslipidemia, among others. It has recently been pointed out that the microbiota that colonises the human intestine may play an important role in the development of obesity and other metabolic and immunological illnesses in the host. This theory is based on recent metagenomic studies which have determined that there are differences in intestinal microbiota between thin and obese individuals. The differences observed are associated with the presence in obese individuals of a microbial population with greater capacity to retrieve energy from diet and/or encourage a state of chronic low-grade inflammation to appear.
Over the course of their joint evolution, the intestinal microbiota and the individual have established a symbiotic partnership that has enabled them to achieve functional stability. The intestinal microbiota performs or complements a number of metabolic functions that are necessary for the development of the organism. Amongst other tasks, the microbiota is involved in retrieving energy from diet through the use of indigestible compounds, the synthesis of essential vitamins, the absorption of micronutrients, the biotransformation of xenobiotics, the stimulation of the immune system and resistance to pathogens. The human intestinal microbiota is dominated by Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes. Study of the human metagenome has grouped the human intestinal microbiota into characteristic enterotypes represented by dominant microbiological groups. Differences in the composition of the intestinal microbiota and its functionality appear to be associated to diet.
The purpose of taking Dieta y Más is to use its potential to have a beneficial effect on health, improving the digestive and metabolic function by reducing the adipose tissue associated with overweight and obesity.
Can children use Dieta y Más?
The theory of programming or development suggests that human health is determined by events that occur during the earliest stages in life, including the intrauterine period and early infancy, which is when the system is more malleable and sensitive to the environment and the nutritional environment, which can lead to an increased risk of disease in adulthood. This theory of development takes into account nutritional, hormonal and metabolic factors, as well as exposure to the maternal microbiota via utero and during birth and lactation in stages that are critical to immune development. Pregnancy and early infancy are, therefore, the most important stages and the focus of new dietary and other interventions to reduce the risk of the spread of overweight and obesity in future generations.
Studies of the fecal microbiota of children who had developed overweight and obesity reveal that they presented lower levels of bifidobacteria compared to children with normal weight. Generally speaking, these results support the hypothesis that Bifidobacteria, which comprise the predominant microbiota of babies, could modulate the development of the body through mucosal colonisation, maturation and regulation of the immune response and control of inflammation. There is a consensus, based on reviews of the bibliography and meta-analysis, that breastfeeding provides the newborn with a certain amount of protection against the subsequent development of overweight and obesity. This protection may be enhanced by the direct transfer of maternal Bifidobacteria to the baby through breastfeeding.
The consumption of probiotics in infancy may, therefore, contribute to correcting intestinal microbial dysbiosis that may generate a predisposition to overweight and obesity. This predisposition to increased risk of childhood overweight has been observed particularly after treatment with antibiotics.
In conclusion, then, children can take Dieta y Más, though it is recommended for children from three years of age.
How much Dieta y Más should I take every day?
The recommended dose is one capsule per day.
At what time of day should I take Dieta y Más?
Preferably with food, because in this way the survival rate of probiotics is higher and more probiotics also reach the intestine, where they perform their function.
For how long should I take Dieta y Más?
The recommended use of Dieta y Más is consumption for three months, rest of 1 month followed by another 3 months' use (3-1-3).
In order to obtain full benefit from the product, this consumption pattern should be followed for 2-3 cycles.
What happens if I don't take Dieta y Más for one day?
There is no problem is this is just for one day, as the Dieta y Más probiotics taken on previous days will continue to affect the intestinal microbiota, positively modifying its balance.
What will happen if I stop taking or interrupt my use of Dieta y Más?
The purpose of Dieta y Más is to act as an adjuvant in the necessary changes in lifestyle in people who are overweight, assisting with the modification of the intestinal microbiota towards patterns present in people with normal weight. If its use is interrupted before the recommended period has elapsed, the intestinal microbiota reverts to the previous situation and the individual will continue to gain weight in the mid term.
What am I taking with each Dieta y Más capsule?
Each capsule of Dieta y Más contains 1x10⁹ CFU bifidobacteria (Bifidobacterium animalis subespecie lactis) and calcium carbonate (300 mg, equivalent to 120 mg calcium, 15% VRN).
What purpose is served by the calcium in Dieta y Más?
Numerous experimental and epidemiological studies have demonstrated that daily intake of calcium is effective in achieving weight loss, and that the metabolism of calcium may contribute to the energy balance and so play a role in weight management.
An increased in calcium intake in the diet reduces lipogenesis and increases lipolysis increases, to the effect that an increase in the daily calcium intake of an obese person over one year helps achieve a loss of 4.9 kg of body weight.
What biotechnology company endorses the development of Dieta y Más?
BIOPOLIS is a biotechnology company that provides research, development and production services for the agrifood, pharmaceutical, chemical and energy industries. Its main mission is to seek solutions which help to produce better probiotic supplements.
BIOPOLIS has patented a strain,
(Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis cepa CECT 8145), which forms part of the human commensal microbiota and possesses beneficial properties to prevent and treat obesity and associated pathologies (metabolic syndrome, diabetes, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular pathologies, etc.) and to enhance the immune function, reducing inflammation.
Is it suitable for coeliacs?
Is it suitable for users who are allergic to lactose?