ILSI Southeast Asia Region conference proceedings: The gut, its microbes and health: relevance for Asia

Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2017;26(5):957-971. doi: 10.6133/apjcn.112016.09

The human being is a complex entity, involving interaction between microbes and the human host. Evidence shows that the nutritional value of food is influenced in part by the structure and operations of an individual’s gut microbial community, and food in turn shapes the individual’s microbiome. A conference was held to promote understanding of the intestinal microbiome and its implications for health and disease, particularly among Asian populations. Methods and Study Design: Papers describing 1) the intestinal ecosystem in Asian populations, 2) changes in intestinal microbiota through life and its effects, 3) the Asian gut microbiota in disease conditions, 4) indigenous probiotics to maintain a healthy gut microbiota, 5) probiotic regulation in an Asian country, and 6) the results of a panel discussion are included in this report. Conclusions: The gut microbial inhabitants of Asian people differ from those of Europe and North America. Geographic location, diet, and ethnic background influence intestinal microbial composition. Urbanization and economic development have brought changes in traditional Asian diets, which in turn affected the gut microbiome, contributing to a shift in the region’s health burden from infectious diseases to non-communicable chronic diseases. Novel probiotic strains of Indonesian origin demonstrated significant enhancement of humoral immune response in human studies. Knowledge gaps and implications for research to further understand the Asian gut microbiome were discussed.

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