Solving societal challenges through the gut
By Ingemar Pongratz
The colonic microbiome has a critical role in health and disease. This is a recognized fact for quite a while now.
A functioning bacteria-gut symbiosis is a key factor for healthy living. Not surprising, alteration in the gut microbiome a closely connected to different disease conditions, including but not limited to Inflammatory Bowel Disease, other autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis etc.
In addition, neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimers Diseases may be linked to the microbiome. In these cases, the connection is not well understood. More research is required to understand how the connection between the and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers.
The close connections between the gut microflora and human health raises very important societal concerns. Solving societal challenges through the gut is thus an interesting possibility.
The costs for treating the different diseases affected by the gut microflora represent very heavy financial burden on the health care systems across the world. In many cases, even small health improvements can lead to considerable cost reductions. Moreover, the reduced suffering for the patients and their families is also an important factor that while difficult to quantify also leads to reduced societal costs.
In addition, gut health is connected to other societal challenges like antibiotics resistance. Previously, antibiotics were extensively and routinely used in the animal industry to increase growth of farm animals. The EU, the US, China and many other countries have banned the the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in farm animals. However, use of antibiotics is still widespread in many countries. Antibiotic overuse is closely connected to the development of antibiotic resistance. This creates considerable concern among the general public and medical community. How will be able to treat infections in the future?
A healthy gut and a healthy microbiome is a suitable approach to improve farm animal growth. This would further reduce the use of antibiotics in the food industry.
In fact, several scientific studies suggest that a healthy gut microflora can reduce the growth of harmful bacteria without the need to apply antibiotics. Therefore, it possible that new treatment strategies may target the gut microflora as well.
Ingemar Pongratz is a researcher and entrepreneur. Ingemar Pongratz established Fenix Scientific AB / Pongratz Consulting and Letavis AB. Letavis AB is currently working on new strategies to improve gut health in farm animals.