According to a few studies, the gut microflora is considered to have an influence on various health conditions, which may include obesity, allergies, asthma, also acute diseases such as colon cancer, Parkinson ’s disease, and even Alzheimer’s. Researches on animals have revealed that the intestinal microflora has a key role in the maintenance and ensuring the proper functioning of the immune system, along with maintaining body metabolism.
As per these studies, a balanced, abundant and diverse composition of these tiny microorganisms is highly essential to our health. It has also been noted that diet may play a pivotal role in this connection between health and the gut microbiome, this is due to the fact that what we consume as a very drastic impact on the gut microbiome composition.
Mariangela Caroprese, an Italian researcher from the Department of the Sciences of Agriculture, Food and Environment -University of Foggia (Italy), along with his team published a study in the International Journal of Nutritional Sciences which focused on the effect that dairy derived products have on the gut microbiota.
The study suggests that the gut microbiome can serve as biomarkers so as to indicate the consumption of healthy food by the human body. This can be done as some fatty acids inherent to milk along with a few byproducts have been identified which could potentially function as compounds which are bioactive in nature and pose beneficial actions on certain gut microbiota and chronic diseases.
The researchers quote in the article that “Some kind[s] of food compounds also exerts [sic] significant effects on the intestinal environment, changing the gut microbiota composition and probably its functional effects on [the] human organism”, emphasizing on the need for extensive research on the connect between consumption of bioactive food compounds and specific type of intestinal microorganisms.
The authors highlight that rich and active microflora, such as lactic acid bacteria, are producers of a larger amount of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are known for their anti-inflammatory functions. SCFAs such as butyric acid possesses immune system modulation activities. It has also been shown that certain fatty acids present in dairy products i.e., polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFA, influence certain gut microflora, such as Lactobacillus strains, thus leading to beneficial effects on human health. Researchers also speculate the pre-effects of PUFAs in combating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), though it has not been evidentially established.
Certain studies have shown that PUFAs have a direct positive effect on the immune system, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as cardiovascular function. The studies also shed light on the fact that, though, the fatty acid content of dairy products such as in cheese dependent upon the initial fatty acid content of the raw milk.
Concluding this study, the authors quote that “It could be interesting to investigate how milk and dairy products can influence the gut microbiota and subsequently outputs.”