2008 round-up: This year’s most read articles about probiotics
Interestingly and importantly, the most read probiotics article this year was coverage of Professor Gregor Reid’s review in the International Dairy Journal of the need for industry to produce products that adhere to the definitions to avoid damaging itself.
Prof Reid, who heads up the Canadian R&D Centre for Probiotics at the Lawson Health Research Institute, and The University of Western Ontario, told NutraIngredients.com that we had reached a "particularly important time in the evolution of probiotic and prebiotic research".
"At this point there is a risk of damaging the credibility of probiotics," he said.
The review noted that misuse of the term represents a potential major problem. Such misuse arises when products are poorly manufactured, he said, or are labelled as probiotic without any relevant supporting science.
To read Definition and regulation vital for probiotics future: expert, please click here.
Getting to the ‘omics’ of the issue
The second most read article covered results of Finnish research that applied the lipidomics technique to study lipid metabolites in human volunteers, reportedly the first application of lipidomics for probiotic intervention.
Researchers from the University of Helsinki, Valio Ltd, and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland report that the potentially probiotic bacteria may function by beneficially changing the lipid profile in the intestine.
The probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) bacteria was associated with decreased levels of lysophosphatidylcholines (LysoGPCho) and sphingomyelins (SM), both associated with detrimental health effects. .
“Lipidomics may provide powerful tools for identifying new biomarkers behind the clinical effects of probiotic intervention trials and for establishing relationships between molecular profiles and other known data from the same individual,” wrote lead author Riina Kekkonen in the World Journal of Gastroenterology.
To read Probiotic’s gut benefits get "omics" boost, please click here.
Start early for benefits
Number three in the top 5 most read articles about probiotics covered the publication of findings that probiotic bacteria may reduce the occurrence of gut complications in premature infants.
The study, performed in piglets, found that supplementation of formula with Bifidobacterium animalis and four Lactobacillus strains had a 20 per cent lower occurrence of necrotising enterocolitis (NEC), a serious gastrointestinal disease that frequently affects premature newborns, compared to piglets fed a standard formula.
To read Early probiotic consumption stops gut problems: study, please click here.
Add the cranberries
Fourth out of five is the article was our coverage of a Chilean study that reported that cranberry juice or probiotics may clear the stomach of children of Helicobacter pylori, a bacterial strain linked to ulcers and cancer.
Ingestion of Lactobacillus johnsonii La1 (La1) or cranberry juice could be an effective tool for managing H. pylori colonisation, reported researchers in the journal Nutrition. The conclusions were based on results of a multi-centred, randomised, double-blind, controlled trial involving 271 children with H. pylori infection.
To read Cranberries, probiotics may fight ulcer-causing bacteria in children, please click here.
A look at the market
A non-science story brings our top 5 to a close. Market: How global consumers view digestive health formed part of our gut health series and looked at the rise of the digestive health category, which products like Yakult and Danone’s Actimel a leading the field.
While the category has surged in Europe, the uptake has been a little slower in the US. Indeed, one study in the US found only 15 per cent of American adults were familiar with probiotics.
Statistics obtained from Mintel in October show there were 511 launches in Europe in 2008 - 2.5 months shy of year’s end. On the other hand, North America saw 171 digestive health product launches over the same period.
To read the full article, please click here.