A pinboard by
Gemma Zeybel

PhD, MRes, BSc Hons


Fermented food contains bacteria to proliferate bacterial growth in the gut microbiome

In 10 seconds? Do you have a gut feeling for foods which are good for you? Fermented food improves the level of good bacteria in our gut microbiome. The byproducts of these have been shown to have a huge impact on our health.

Why is bacteria important? Our intestines are home to billions of species of bacteria called the gut microbiome. To name a few, you may have heard of lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria and Bacteriodes. The bacteria entering our gut proliferates and makes more bacteria. The more good bacteria we have in our gut, the better. The gut microbiome communicates with our immune system. It tells it to attack disease causing invaders, while being gentle enough so that it doesn’t attack our body.

Don’t believe it? Scientists at Harvard Medical school have listened to crosstalk between gut bacteria and immune cells. Gut bacteria boosted the activity of immune cells, while others reduced the activity. Bacteria can turn on and off certain genes in the intestines. Professor Dennis Kasper said bacteria can be used as a therapeutic to fine-tune certain immune responses in the future.

What are the health benefits of fermented foods? If we eat fermented food every day we will maintain the right amount of good bacteria in our gut. Scientists say this may diminish allergies. A population study found that communities of people who eat a lot of fermented food have lower rates of allergies and asthma.

People who have rheumatoid arthritis have low levels of Bifidbacterium and Bacteroides in their gut. In an animal study, arthritic mice had the good bacteria removed from their gut and this resulted in worse arthritic symptoms. This shows that it is important for those with arthritis to have good bacteria in the gut microbiome.

When fibre is fermented in your gut, it produces short chain fatty acids. Inflammatory bowel disease patients have low concentrations of short chain fatty acids in their microbiome. Consequently, symptoms improve once short chain fatty acid levels increase. To support this, research shows that populations who eat a lot of dietary fibre have a low incidence of colitis, type 2 diabetes and colon cancer.


Probiotics and their fermented food products are beneficial for health.

Abstract: Probiotics are usually defined as microbial food supplements with beneficial effects on the consumers. Most probiotics fall into the group of organisms' known as lactic acid-producing bacteria and are normally consumed in the form of yogurt, fermented milks or other fermented foods. Some of the beneficial effect of lactic acid bacteria consumption include: (i) improving intestinal tract health; (ii) enhancing the immune system, synthesizing and enhancing the bioavailability of nutrients; (iii) reducing symptoms of lactose intolerance, decreasing the prevalence of allergy in susceptible individuals; and (iv) reducing risk of certain cancers. The mechanisms by which probiotics exert their effects are largely unknown, but may involve modifying gut pH, antagonizing pathogens through production of antimicrobial compounds, competing for pathogen binding and receptor sites as well as for available nutrients and growth factors, stimulating immunomodulatory cells, and producing lactase. Selection criteria, efficacy, food and supplement sources and safety issues around probiotics are reviewed. Recent scientific investigation has supported the important role of probiotics as a part of a healthy diet for human as well as for animals and may be an avenue to provide a safe, cost effective, and 'natural' approach that adds a barrier against microbial infection. This paper presents a review of probiotics in health maintenance and disease prevention.

Pub.: 16 May '06, Pinned: 05 May '17

The impact of a consortium of fermented milk strains on the gut microbiome of gnotobiotic mice and monozygotic twins.

Abstract: Understanding how the human gut microbiota and host are affected by probiotic bacterial strains requires carefully controlled studies in humans and in mouse models of the gut ecosystem where potentially confounding variables that are difficult to control in humans can be constrained. Therefore, we characterized the fecal microbiomes and metatranscriptomes of adult female monozygotic twin pairs through repeated sampling 4 weeks before, 7 weeks during, and 4 weeks after consumption of a commercially available fermented milk product (FMP) containing a consortium of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis, two strains of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus, Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris, and Streptococcus thermophilus. In addition, gnotobiotic mice harboring a 15-species model human gut microbiota whose genomes contain 58,399 known or predicted protein-coding genes were studied before and after gavage with all five sequenced FMP strains. No significant changes in bacterial species composition or in the proportional representation of genes encoding known enzymes were observed in the feces of humans consuming the FMP. Only minimal changes in microbiota configuration were noted in mice after single or repeated gavage with the FMP consortium. However, RNA-Seq analysis of fecal samples and follow-up mass spectrometry of urinary metabolites disclosed that introducing the FMP strains into mice results in significant changes in expression of microbiome-encoded enzymes involved in numerous metabolic pathways, most prominently those related to carbohydrate metabolism. B. animalis subsp. lactis, the dominant persistent member of the FMP consortium in gnotobiotic mice, up-regulates a locus in vivo that is involved in the catabolism of xylooligosaccharides, a class of glycans widely distributed in fruits, vegetables, and other foods, underscoring the importance of these sugars to this bacterial species. The human fecal metatranscriptome exhibited significant changes, confined to the period of FMP consumption, that mirror changes in gnotobiotic mice, including those related to plant polysaccharide metabolism. These experiments illustrate a translational research pipeline for characterizing the effects of FMPs on the human gut microbiome.

Pub.: 28 Oct '11, Pinned: 04 May '17

Gut microbiota and energy balance: role in obesity.

Abstract: The microbial community populating the human digestive tract has been linked to the development of obesity, diabetes and liver diseases. Proposed mechanisms on how the gut microbiota could contribute to obesity and metabolic diseases include: (1) improved energy extraction from diet by the conversion of dietary fibre to SCFA; (2) increased intestinal permeability for bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS) in response to the consumption of high-fat diets resulting in an elevated systemic LPS level and low-grade inflammation. Animal studies indicate differences in the physiologic effects of fermentable and non-fermentable dietary fibres as well as differences in long- and short-term effects of fermentable dietary fibre. The human intestinal microbiome is enriched in genes involved in the degradation of indigestible polysaccharides. The extent to which dietary fibres are fermented and in which molar ratio SCFA are formed depends on their physicochemical properties and on the individual microbiome. Acetate and propionate play an important role in lipid and glucose metabolism. Acetate serves as a substrate for de novo lipogenesis in liver, whereas propionate can be utilised for gluconeogenesis. The conversion of fermentable dietary fibre to SCFA provides additional energy to the host which could promote obesity. However, epidemiologic studies indicate that diets rich in fibre rather prevent than promote obesity development. This may be due to the fact that SCFA are also ligands of free fatty acid receptors (FFAR). Activation of FFAR leads to an increased expression and secretion of enteroendocrine hormones such as glucagon-like-peptide 1 or peptide YY which cause satiety. In conclusion, the role of SCFA in host energy balance needs to be re-evaluated.

Pub.: 19 Dec '14, Pinned: 04 May '17

Fermented foods, microbiota, and mental health: ancient practice meets nutritional psychiatry

Abstract: The purposeful application of fermentation in food and beverage preparation, as a means to provide palatability, nutritional value, preservative, and medicinal properties, is an ancient practice. Fermented foods and beverages continue to make a significant contribution to the overall patterns of traditional dietary practices. As our knowledge of the human microbiome increases, including its connection to mental health (for example, anxiety and depression), it is becoming increasingly clear that there are untold connections between our resident microbes and many aspects of physiology. Of relevance to this research are new findings concerning the ways in which fermentation alters dietary items pre-consumption, and in turn, the ways in which fermentation-enriched chemicals (for example, lactoferrin, bioactive peptides) and newly formed phytochemicals (for example, unique flavonoids) may act upon our own intestinal microbiota profile. Here, we argue that the consumption of fermented foods may be particularly relevant to the emerging research linking traditional dietary practices and positive mental health. The extent to which traditional dietary items may mitigate inflammation and oxidative stress may be controlled, at least to some degree, by microbiota. It is our contention that properly controlled fermentation may often amplify the specific nutrient and phytochemical content of foods, the ultimate value of which may associated with mental health; furthermore, we also argue that the microbes (for example, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species) associated with fermented foods may also influence brain health via direct and indirect pathways.

Pub.: 15 Jan '14, Pinned: 04 May '17

The gut microbiota and inflammatory noncommunicable diseases: associations and potentials for gut microbiota therapies.

Abstract: Rapid environmental transition and modern lifestyles are likely driving changes in the biodiversity of the human gut microbiota. With clear effects on physiologic, immunologic, and metabolic processes in human health, aberrations in the gut microbiome and intestinal homeostasis have the capacity for multisystem effects. Changes in microbial composition are implicated in the increasing propensity for a broad range of inflammatory diseases, such as allergic disease, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), obesity, and associated noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). There are also suggestive implications for neurodevelopment and mental health. These diverse multisystem influences have sparked interest in strategies that might favorably modulate the gut microbiota to reduce the risk of many NCDs. For example, specific prebiotics promote favorable intestinal colonization, and their fermented products have anti-inflammatory properties. Specific probiotics also have immunomodulatory and metabolic effects. However, when evaluated in clinical trials, the effects are variable, preliminary, or limited in magnitude. Fecal microbiota transplantation is another emerging therapy that regulates inflammation in experimental models. In human subjects it has been successfully used in cases of Clostridium difficile infection and IBD, although controlled trials are lacking for IBD. Here we discuss relationships between gut colonization and inflammatory NCDs and gut microbiota modulation strategies for their treatment and prevention.

Pub.: 09 Jan '15, Pinned: 04 May '17

Ethnic and diet-related differences in the healthy infant microbiome.

Abstract: The infant gut is rapidly colonized by microorganisms soon after birth, and the composition of the microbiota is dynamic in the first year of life. Although a stable microbiome may not be established until 1 to 3 years after birth, the infant gut microbiota appears to be an important predictor of health outcomes in later life.We obtained stool at one year of age from 173 white Caucasian and 182 South Asian infants from two Canadian birth cohorts to gain insight into how maternal and early infancy exposures influence the development of the gut microbiota. We investigated whether the infant gut microbiota differed by ethnicity (referring to groups of people who have certain racial, cultural, religious, or other traits in common) and by breastfeeding status, while accounting for variations in maternal and infant exposures (such as maternal antibiotic use, gestational diabetes, vegetarianism, infant milk diet, time of introduction of solid food, infant birth weight, and weight gain in the first year).We demonstrate that ethnicity and infant feeding practices independently influence the infant gut microbiome at 1 year, and that ethnic differences can be mapped to alpha diversity as well as a higher abundance of lactic acid bacteria in South Asians and a higher abundance of genera within the order Clostridiales in white Caucasians.The infant gut microbiome is influenced by ethnicity and breastfeeding in the first year of life. Ethnic differences in the gut microbiome may reflect maternal/infant dietary differences and whether these differences are associated with future cardiometabolic outcomes can only be determined after prospective follow-up.

Pub.: 31 Mar '17, Pinned: 04 May '17

A Fermented Whole Grain Prevents Lipopolysaccharides-Induced Dysfunction in Human Endothelial Progenitor Cells.

Abstract: Endogenous and exogenous signals derived by the gut microbiota such as lipopolysaccharides (LPS) orchestrate inflammatory responses contributing to development of the endothelial dysfunction associated with atherosclerosis in obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), bone marrow derived stem cells, promote recovery of damaged endothelium playing a pivotal role in cardiovascular repair. Since healthy nutrition improves EPCs functions, we evaluated the effect of a fermented grain, Lisosan G (LG), on early EPCs exposed to LPS. The potential protective effect of LG against LPS-induced alterations was evaluated as cell viability, adhesiveness, ROS production, gene expression, and NF-kB signaling pathway activation. Our results showed that LPS treatment did not affect EPCs viability and adhesiveness but induced endothelial alterations via activation of NF-kB signaling. LG protects EPCs from inflammation as well as from LPS-induced oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress reducing ROS levels, downregulating proinflammatory and proapoptotic factors, and strengthening antioxidant defense. Moreover, LG pretreatment prevented NF-kB translocation from the cytoplasm into the nucleus caused by LPS exposure. In human EPCs, LPS increases ROS and upregulates proinflammatory tone, proapoptotic factors, and antioxidants. LG protects EPCs exposed to LPS reducing ROS, downregulating proinflammatory and proapoptotic factors, and strengthening antioxidant defenses possibly by inhibiting NF-κB nuclear translocation.

Pub.: 08 Apr '17, Pinned: 03 May '17

Oral administration of red ginseng powder fermented with probiotic alleviates the severity of dextran-sulfate sodium-induced colitis in a mouse model.

Abstract: Red ginseng is a well-known alternative medicine with anti-inflammatory activity. It exerts pharmacological effects through the transformation of saponin into metabolites by intestinal microbiota. Given that intestinal microflora vary among individuals, the pharmacological effects of red ginseng likely vary among individuals. In order to produce homogeneously effective red ginseng, we prepared probiotic-fermented red ginseng and evaluated its activity using a dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis model in mice. Initial analysis of intestinal damage indicated that the administration of probiotic-fermented red ginseng significantly decreased the severity of colitis, compared with the control and the activity was higher than that induced by oral administration of ginseng powder or probiotics only. Subsequent analysis of the levels of serum IL-6 and TNF-α, inflammatory biomarkers that are increased at the initiation stage of colitis, were significantly decreased in probiotic-fermented red ginseng-treated groups in comparison to the control group. The levels of inflammatory cytokines and mRNAs for inflammatory factors in colorectal tissues were also significantly decreased in probiotic-fermented red ginseng-treated groups. Collectively, oral administration of probiotic-fermented red ginseng reduced the severity of colitis in a mouse model, suggesting that it can be used as a uniformly effective red ginseng product.

Pub.: 17 Apr '17, Pinned: 03 May '17

Aggregation and Adhesion Activity of Lactobacilli Isolated from Fermented Products In Vitro and In Vivo: a Potential Probiotic Strain.

Abstract: Approximately 25 strains of lactobacilli isolated from different dairy products and fermented vegetables were screened according to their possibility to show the high auto-aggregation and co-aggregation. The strains Lactobacillus helveticus INRA-2010-H11, Lactobacillus rhamnosus INA-5.1, and Lactobacillus acidophilus JM-2012 were determined to have the high auto-aggregation (approximately 73, 46, and 70.5% correspondingly). A high co-aggregation capacity (75.53%) for strains INRA-2010-H11 and JM-2012 was shown. The adhesion degree of INRA-2010-H11 on the surface of buccal epithelial cells was 88.23%. The study of INRA-2010-H11, JM-2012, and both strains' mixture (1:1) adhesion capacity on the surface of epithelial HeLa cells revealed the adhesion of 1.1 × 10(6), 6.3 × 10(4), and 2.3 × 10(5) CFU, respectively, from starter amount of CFU 10(7) and 10(8) for both strains. In vivo experiments of LAB adhesion in gastrointestinal tract of mouse revealed the presence of 2.5 × 10(9), 1.2 × 10(9), and 1.5 × 10(9) CFU of LAB in control and groups of mouse, fed by INRA-2010-H11 and mixture, respectively. Feeding by investigated lactobacilli was suggested to lead to microbiota biodiversity reduction in small intestine and colon and its augmentation in stomach. Thus, INRA-2010-H11 demonstrated a high aggregation and adhesion activity so it has the potential as a good probiotic strain.

Pub.: 30 Apr '17, Pinned: 03 May '17

Fermented barley and soybean (BS) mixture enhances intestinal barrier function in dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis mouse model.

Abstract: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is characterized by chronic or relapsing immune system activation and inflammation within the gastrointestinal tract. The lack of safety and efficacy of standard therapies, the use of food supplements for managing IBD is increasing, and many studies have reported that various food supplements provide many beneficial effects for the IBD.This study aimed to evaluate the anti-colitis effects of dietary supplementation with a fermented barley and soybean mixture (BS) on intestinal inflammation using a murine model of IBD. Female C57BL/6 mice were administered with either BS (100 and 200 mg/kg/day) or vehicle (PBS) control through oral gavages for 3 days and received 5% dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) drinking water to induce colitis. Mice body weight was measured every two days and disease activity index (DAI) score was determined on Day 15; mice were sacrificed and colons were analyzed by H & E staining and RT-PCR. We also measured intestinal barrier function in vitro using DSS-treated Caco-2 cells by assessing ZO-1 immunofluorescence staining and Western blotting and in vivo by measuring serum level of FITC-Dextran and by performing bacteria culture from mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN) extract. The gut microbiota was examined by real time PCR using fecal DNA.We found that BS alleviated the severity of colitis in a DSS-induced colitis mouse model, and suppressed levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in colonic tissue. Moreover, BS prevented epithelial barrier dysfunction, inducing an increase of tight junction protein levels in colonic tissues, BS also inhibited FITC-dextran permeability, and suppressed bacterial translocation to MLNs. In addition, BS increased the levels of Lactobacilli and Bacteroides, which have anti-inflammatory properties.Our study suggests that BS has protective roles against inflammatory bowel disease through changes in inflammatory activity, tight junction protein expression, and gut microbiota composition in DSS-induced colitis.

Pub.: 04 Dec '16, Pinned: 24 Apr '17