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Knowledge Center on Functional Foods, Immunity and Gut Health

Background

Gut Microbiome is an exciting new field of research. Most of the  bacteria in the gut are found in the large intestine  (colon)  and,  over  the  past  30  years  or  more,  interest in the gut microbial population – the microbiota –   and   its   environment   has   intensified.   Numerous   research studies have shown that, far from being passive inhabitants of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the habitual residents   of   the   gut   (commensal   micro-organisms)   interact with their host in a very intricate manner. They may:

 

  • Modulate the effect of potentially harmful bacteria.
  • Impact the host’s GI tract, digestion and metabolism.
  • Strengthen immune system.
  • They might even influence functions beyond the gut such as influence the eating psychology.

 

Environmental factors like Diet, Antibiotic Usage and Lifestyle behaviors influence the diversity and composition of microbiota (healthy microbiota profile).

 

These environmental factors may adversely alter gut ecosystem (dysbiosis) that is frequently associated with increased susceptibility to infections as well as to non-communicable diseases like obesity, mental health, behavior, metabolic syndromes (e.g., diabetes and cardiovascular diseases), allergy and other inflammatory diseases.

 

These observations imply that it may be possible to design new strategies for the management of diseases by manipulating gut microbiota. The common practice now available is the use of functional foods including prebiotics, dietary fiber and probiotics to rehabilitate gut ecosystem.

 
Need For a Knowledge Center

Functional foods including Probiotics and Prebiotics and their impact on gut health and immunity is a growing area worldwide. After deliberations with scientists from academia and industry ILSI India felt that it is important to move forward with cooperation and collaboration of leading public sector and private sector organizations and create a platform for sharing the knowledge. A formal structure will facilitate focused attention to this important area of work.

 

The Knowledge Center was launched in New Delhi on October 4. It is unique and will focus on collation and dissemination of information generated by research organizations worldwide and act as a bridge between research and practical applications.

 
Objectives
  • Provide a knowledge sharing platform by organizing seminars/ conferences/ workshops on recent advances in the science of human microbiome and functional foods including prebiotics, dietary fiber and probiotics.
  • Undertake studies to help fill/ understand gaps in consumer/industry understanding of science of functional foods including probiotics.
  • Share recent developments in research with all stakeholders.
  • Look at challenges faced by this sector and encourage all stakeholders to adopt global best practices.
  • Create a Think Tank, involving stakeholders from Government, Academia as well as Industry, that will work towards sharing relevant research and technological developments in the area of human microbiome and functional foods.
 
Governance
To ensure good governance of the project ILSI India has formed a Governing Council to provide an overall leadership and directions to run this initiative
 
Support
ILSI India provides the secretarial support for the Governing Council and looks after the management of the Knowledge Center.
 
Presentations
  Status Paper on Role of Probiotics in Promoting Healthy Microbiome for Health and Immunity, 2019
 

Presentations of Conference on Role of Probiotics in Promoting Healthy Microbiome for Health and Immunity, 2018

 

Monograph on Prebiotics in Foods and their Beneficial Effects, 2018

 

Monograph on Functional Foods Beyond Basic Nutrition, 2012

  Presentations of National Conference on Functional Foods entitled Processed Foods & Beverages for Health: Beyond Basic Nutrition, 2011
  Guidelines and Criteria for Evaluation of Efficacy, Safety and Health Claim of Probiotics in Food Products in India, 2009
  Abstracts of Presentation made at Symposium on Probiotics for Health An Indian Perspective, 2009
 
Report of Survey on -
  Probiotics and Consumer Perception
 
FAQs
  Frequently Asked Questions K-FFIG