Vicki Koenig, MS, RD CDN, a Nutrition Consultant to individuals and food companies spoke to the attendees of the annual New Jersey Dietetic Meeting about the usage and benefits of probiotics. She reviewed some of the history behind the use of probiotics. The 1908 Nobel Peace Prize winner in the field of Medicine and Physiology, Mr. Elie Metchinkoff is said to have discovered the connection between probiotics and health. According to Ms. Vicki Koenig, he observed that Bulgarians lived a relatively long and healthy life which he attributed to their consumption of cultured food products. In fact, Lactobacillus bulgaricus is named after the Bulgarian people. Lactobacillus, found in the small intestine and Bifidobacteria which inhabits the large intestine are two of the major genera of probiotics noted for their health promoting properties. Some benefits of the use of bacteria are as follows: improved digestion, lower cholesterol, decrease in allergies and eczema, as well as improvement in the utilization of carbohydrates and proteins. Contraindications to usage of probiotics are GI bleeding and a immunocompromised system. The quantity of “good” bacteria in the gut is said to decline with age. Specific strains should be sought after for certain conditions, therefore, there is no one probiotic fits all according to the speaker.
During the poster session there were some interesting pieces of research by Dietetic Interns that were being exhibited. I will share some tidbits of research from this years College of Saint Elizabeth Dietetic Internship crew.
1.) Dietetic interns Andrea Ficarra, Alicia Henning and Victoria Kuebler completed a meta analysis review of studies relating to GI disease and nutrition. Current evidence does not strongly support the use of probiotics in the treatment of IBD, a low FODMAP diet for treating IBS, or a gluten free diet in caring for diarrhea prominent IBS.
2.) Another meta analysis review was completed by Jenna Graziano and Gabrielle Guiliano to investigate the impact of zinc supplementation on hepatic encephalopathy and wound healing. There appears to be a possible benefit of zinc supplementation with hepatic encephalopathy but researchers are not clear on dosage and whether other therapies should be implemented. Improvement of wound healing was noted whether the patient was zinc deficient or not when receiving supplementation. Data on this matter is inconclusive at this point.
3.) Finally, Lindsay Dolashewich reviewed the research between weight control and antipsychotic medications. Long term adherence of 6 months or more to a diet and exercise program showed improvement in weight control and metabolic abnormalities.
There was much more information that I wish I had the time to share with you!! But, I hope you enjoyed the information I did have time to share!