Gut health may be affected by various factors including stress, aging, environment, antibiotics, lack of physical activity, gastrointestinal diseases, etc (1). Still, healthy food is essential to regulate the gut microbiota. Food provides the energy intake and nutrients required by the body to function properly, but also the nourishment for the microbiome.(2) Therefore, the type of food that you consume will greatly impact the type of bacteria (good or bad) that you nourish. It is better to benefit from a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fresh ingredients, in comparison to a diet full of processed food. However, the consumption of fresh food is decreasing whereas the intake processed food is increasing worldwide.(3) Processed food now constitutes a large part of the world’s food consumption. The proportion of food that is processed is 60% in the USA, and it varies per country. In Asia, it used to be much less, but it is increasing rapidly.

The reason why processed food has become more popular is mainly because chemicals are added to food to enhance appearance, improve the shelf life, and enhance taste. These chemicals include emulsifiers, preservatives, colorings, non-sugar sweeteners, and coloring agents. The number of additives permitted by regulatory authorities differ per country. Still, there are thousands of ingredients used to make foods. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains a list of over 3000 ingredients in its data base “Everything Added to Food in the United States“, many of which you use at home every day (e.g., sugar, baking soda, salt, vanilla, yeast, spices, and colors).(4) If you want to stay healthy and prevent metabolic and chronic conditions that may affect your overall wellness, it is best to understand how processed foods affect your gut health, and how important it is for your immune system.

(1) Hasan, N., and Yang, H. (2019). Factors affecting the composition of the gut microbiota, and its modulation. Peer J, 1–31

(2) Singh, R.K., et al. (2017). Influence of diet on the gut microbiome and implications for human health. J. Transl. 15, 1–17.

(3) Rauber, F., et al. (2020). Ultra-processed food consumption and indicators of obesity in the United Kingdom population (2008–2016). PLoS ONE, e0232676.

(4) Overview of Food Ingredients, Additives & Colors. November 2004; revised April 2010.

What processed foods do to your gut?

When thinking about health, there are many abnormal health conditions you may get based on several factors, like genetics, diet, and lifestyle. But there are also some of them that you can prevent by adjusting the diet, and by understanding and implementing the way you eat. For example, metabolic syndrome is a collection of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.(5)

The gut microbiota or microbiome is an ecosystem of microorganisms in your gut, and it is now considered vital to a range of gut-related diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), obesity, and diabetes.(6) Recent studies have demonstrated that chemical food additives interact with the gut microbiota to affect or to contribute to the development of any of these conditions. One study demonstrated that food additives like polysorbate-80 (P-80) and methylcellulose might be harmful in low concentrations. These are usually found in human processed food, and the study showed that they induced low grade inflammation and metabolic syndrome in wild-type mice.(7)

(5) Metabolic syndrome. Mayo Clinic.

(6) White, L.S., Van den Bogaerde, J., and Kamm, M. (2018). The gut microbiota: cause and cure of gut diseases. Med. J. 209: 312–7.

(7) Chakrabarti, A., et al. (2022). The microbiota-gut-brain axis: pathways to better brain health. Perspectives on what we know, what we need to investigate and how to put knowledge into practice. Cell Mol Life Sci 19;79(2):80.

How probiotics can improve gut health

Increasing awareness of the significance of gut health and the gut microbiome is driving an increase in interest in probiotics and prebiotics (Fucoidan) that have the potential to improve not only gut health but also overall health, including immune health.(8) Probiotics in the form of fermented foods and drinks have a prolonged history of use going back centuries but the concept of probiotics as you know it today was discovered in 1907 by a Russian scientist, Elie Metchnikoff of the Pasteur Institute in Paris.(9)

Elie Metchnikoff discovered that residents of the Caucasus mountains drank a fermented yogurt daily. His further findings led to the discovery of the bacteria, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, which, he thought, may have been responsible for their long lives. Since that time, good bacteria, described as probiotics for their potentially positive impacts on human health.

Probiotics are defined as “live microorganisms like bacteria and yeasts that, when administered in a viable form and adequate amounts, are beneficial to human health”.(10) Nevertheless, consumption of traditionally fermented foods and drinks has been associated with health benefits. Fermented dairy products (mainly yogurt) have been associated in epidemiological studies with reduced:

  • risk of metabolic syndrome (11)
  • risk of obesity (12)
  • risk of cardiovascular disease (13)
  • risk of colon cancer (14)

(8) De Vos, M., et al. (2022). Gut microbiome and health: mechanistic insights. Gut. 71(5):1020-1032.

(9) Nobel laureate Ilya I. Metchnikoff (1845-1916). Life story and scientific heritage.

(10) Chen, L., and Wang, J. (Gut microbiota and inflammatory bowel disease. WIREs Mechanisms of Disease Volume 14, Issue 2 e1540

(11) Khorraminezhad, L., and Rudkowska, I. (2021). Effect of Yogurt Consumption on Metabolic Syndrome Risk Factors: A Narrative Review. Curr Nutr Rep. 10(1):83-92.

(12) Sayon-Orea, C., et al. (2017). Associations between Yogurt Consumption and Weight Gain and Risk of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome: A Systematic Review Adv Nutr 7;8(1):146S-154S.

(13) Sonestedt, E., et al. (2011). Dairy products and its association with incidence of cardiovascular disease: the Malmö diet and cancer cohort. Eur J Epidemiol. 26(8):609-18.

(14) Sun, J., et al. (2022). Higher Yogurt Consumption Is Associated with Lower Risk of Colorectal Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. Front Nutr. 3;8:789006.

How Brimmune’s formulation of fucoidan, 12 probiotics, and B-complex vitamins are ideal

Several B-complex vitamins like thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2) and Pyridoxine (B6) are important for gut health. Some studies have showed that when thiamin (B1) was incorporated in the diet, it can reduce intestinal inflammation, improve intestinal antioxidant capacity, and play an important role in keeping intestinal structure and microflora recovery.(15) Riboflavin is important for the body and intestinal tract to sense nutrients, specifically micronutrients such as vitamins. The body needs vitamin B2 to grow, and this vitamin is also involved in the process by which cells make chemical energy. This vitamin is found in the diet and is also produced by good bacteria in the gut. Therefore, for this vitamin to be produced, providing the body with the proper probiotics is important.(16) Finally, vitamin B6 or pyridoxine is also important because it plays a crucial role as a cofactor in several enzymatic reactions, and it is involved in supporting the digestive system to process protein. It is also an essential vitamin to prevent inflammation in the gut.(17)

In addition to B-complex vitamins, probiotics, and prebiotics (Fucoidan) are also important to promote better gut health. Probiotics have been shown to restore the gut microbiome and prevent gut inflammation and other intestinal problems.(18) Health benefits have mainly been proven for specific probiotic strains of the following genera: Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Streptococcus.(19) Your body needs to probiotics and prebiotics (Fucoidan) to function because they may:

  • enhance immune function
  • keep bad bacteria away to prevent infection
  • improve digestion
  • promote the absorption of food and nutrients

Regarding prebiotics (Fucoidan), these are a type of fiber that the human body cannot digest. They serve as food for probiotics. Fucoidan is mainly found in brown seaweeds like Mekabu (U. pinnatifida), Mozuku (C. okamuranus), and Fucus (F. vesiculosus). The best way to obtain Fucoidan is as a dietary supplement because it is mainly extracted from these species to provide the best concentration available. Prebiotics (Fucoidan) and probiotics work in synergy to support good bacteria and other organisms in the gut, and by incorporating B-complex vitamins like B1, B2 and B6, you can improve and maintain good gut health.

(15) Wen, K., et al. (2021. Thiamine modulates intestinal morphological structure and microbiota under subacute ruminal acidosis induced by a high-concentrate diet in Saanen goats. Animal 15, 100370.

(16) Qi, B., Kniazeva, M., and Han, M. (2017). A vitamin-B2-sensing mechanism that regulates gut protease activity to impact animal’s food behavior and growth. eLife.

(17) Mayengbam, S., et al. (2020). Dietary Vitamin B6 Deficiency Impairs Gut Microbiota and Host and Microbial Metabolites in Rats. Biomedicines. 8(11): 469.

(18) Hemarajata, P., and Versalovic, J. (2013). Effects of probiotics on gut microbiota: mechanisms of intestinal immunomodulation and neuromodulation. Therapy Adv Gastroenterol. 6(1): 39–51.

(19) Fijan, S. (2014). Microorganisms with Claimed Probiotic Properties: An Overview of Recent Literature. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 11(5): 4745–4767.

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