Probiotics and Prebiotics to save human microbiota enhancing health and well-being.
It is well established that human microbiota and a balanced diet influence health of the individual. The microbiota has a physiological role, and its modification, e.g. by unbalanced nutrition or use of antibiotics, can cause colonization by non-resident microorganisms, leading to different diseases. According to recent studies, the correlation between microorganisms and humans has to be considered as a mutualistic-symbiotic relationship and not a merely commensal activity.
High-resolution spatial, temporal and functional microarrays of the human microbiota are still needed, and the effects of environmental perturbations, the change in diet habits, and the today use of probiotics/prebiotics has to be deeper elucidated.
Hence the necessity to further international rules to coordinate the production and distribution on the market of prebiotics and probiotics, determining their composition, labels and advertisements for obtaining a sure safeness and effectiveness of this new category of special foods. This is the challenge for our future.
Human body is the social network where trillions of microorganisms living on the skin, saliva, oral mucosa, gastrointestinal tract and genital area, participate in maintaining the health (1, 2). Most of these microbial inhabitants, classified into 3 major phyla and referred to as the microbiome/microbiota, perform tasks that appear not-harmful at all, but rather assist in maintaining the key physiological processes necessary for our wellbeing (Figure 1). It has been calculated that a human adult houses about 1012 colony forming units (CFU) species of bacteria on the skin, 1010 in the mouth, and 1014 in the gastrointestinal tract. The latter number is far in excess of the number of eukaryotic cells in all the tissues and organs which comprise the human body (3, 4). These microorganisms are more than 10 times the human cells accounting for 1-3 precent total body mass. The 3.3 million of genes of the gastrointestinal tract (GI) result about 150 times more than the global human genome (5, 6).
The purpose of the article is to share some informations connecting the human microbiota with health and regular use of probiotics.