New probiotic from fermented Japanese vegetable may improve colon health

by Tony on Aug 26, 2016

 

Probiotics aim towards increasing and developing advantageous bacteria within the intestine.  These probiotics focus on assisting the healthy bacteria within the colon to grow. What these probiotics lack is the bacteria known as Bifidobacterium especially in probiotic foods such as yogurt.  This is due to the bacteria’s sensitivity.  Bifidobacterium is plentiful in a healthy intestine however as a person ages, this bacterium reduces in supply.  Unfortunately,this bacterium is difficult to grow and maintain.

However, recent research conducted on rats by doctors and researchers at the Hiroshima College in Japan have discovered that foods fermented in Aspergillus result in beneficial enzymes as well as Bifidobacterium.

This research was conducted on rats.  Some of the rats were given food that contained protease preparation produced from burdock (or gobo) that had been fermented through Aspergillus.  The control group of rats received a non-fermented food plan.  The results: the rats who ate the fermented food showed a higher level of Bifidobacterium in their colons than the control group.

For people this translates to a requirement to eat the Aspergillus enzyme of 0.1-0.4 grams daily; alternatively, five teaspoons per day of unfermented gobo in order to see similar results.

The untested hypothesis these researchers are wanting to explore is that of confirming if the protease will break down undigested proteins into amino acids thus improving nutrition and the growth of healthy bacteria.

The results in the meantime point towards the protease preparation of Aspergillus may be a new probiotic that will generate a more potent effect on Bifidobacterium in the intestine unlike its predecessor probiotics.

Other studies have found that increased Bifidobacterium produces improved mental health and immune function while reducing colon cancer and other bowel disease. These effects remain a mystery with researchers continuing to search for ways to practically increase Bifidobacterium in adult colons.

While many foods within Japanese cuisine contain fermentation with Aspergillus, including pickled vegetables, rice wine sake, and more, the Aspergillus is responsible for the enzyme production not the food being fermented.

The Hiroshima University research team has been researching fermented gobo for three years and only now find that they are beginning to understand what makes Aspergillus produce a beneficial effect on the colon’s bacteria.  

Further research is being conducted to establish the how’s and why between Aspergillus fermented food and improved health effects.  Further studies are being made to also establish the long term effects of the enzyme on rats’ colons and Bifidobacterium in human intestines.

The research findings done to date will be presented at the International Conference on Nutraceuticals and Nutrition Supplements in Bangkok, Thailand, this July by Norihisa Kat, Ph.D.  Yongshou Yang, doctoral student, will present the findings at the International Nutrition and Diagnostic Conference in October this year.

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