Saturday, November 19, 2005

Oligosaccharides...bug food?

Extract from product dossier of a Spanish Animal Nutrition company- revised, edited and translated by Span relating to prebiotics (e.g. oligosaccharides) and probiotics (good bacteria…I tell you that later…) sex, no smut, no pictures...shit, come back later if you want!

The term oligosaccharide is derived from oligo meaning ‘a few’- and saccharide - meaning sugar. An oligosaccharide is a complex carbohydrate, a polymer, containing three to six units of simple sugars (each a monosaccharide and in the same way that poly [saccharide] means many), simply put: oligosaccharides are short chains of sugar molecules.

Most of the few naturally occurring oligosaccharides are found in plants; important oligosaccharide carbohydrates being raffinose and stachyose; they are found in beans and legumes but cannot be digested properly by our small intestine and end up being metabolized and expelled from the large intestine….oh shit!

There are several kinds of oligosaccharides, each made from different types of sugars: fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and inulin oligosaccharides consist of short chains of fructose molecules, while galacto-oligosaccharides consist of short chains of galactose molecules. All three types of oligosaccharides occur naturally, but they can be only partially digested by humans. The undigested portions remain in the body, and serve as food for probiotics and other "friendly" intestinal bacteria.

Research has established a positive relationship between oligosaccharides and friendly bacteria; intake of oligosaccharides can increase the amount of friendly bacteria in the gut, while simultaneously reducing the number of harmful bacteria.

Good bacteria and Intestinal Microbial Imbalance…

At certain times in an animal’s life, different exogenous factors - changes in feed, infections and parasites, antibiotic treatments… - lead to the balance within the intestines being disrupted, the entire digestive system is affected to a greater or lesser degree; the first symptom of this disruption is diarrhoea…not just loose poop…OK…squits, but the sign of a weakening of the intestinal defenses, which affords the possibility of the entry of disease-causing pathogens that attach themselves and multiply in the cells of the intestine lining. Diarrhoea not only entails less water but also fewer nutritive substances being absorbed…the very life of the animal thus affected may depend upon how serious the degree of dehydration is, and the resulting imbalance of electrolytes - this is because in conjunction with these changes in the “moisture content”, once the quantitative and qualitative change in the intestinal bacteria has taken place yet further infectious agents may settle into other body tissues.

There are many determining factors involved in the disruption of the balance of the intestinal flora (…and preventing this imbalance in animal production takes on a major degree of monetary importance) and this explains the reasons why many research studies have been undertaken aimed at pinpointing chemical and/ or biological products capable of preventing or avoiding these negative changes in the digestive ecosystem. One outcome of these aforementioned research studies has been the discovery of specific microorganisms which, when administered regularly, are capable of keeping the intestinal flora of animals healthy; these are known as probiotics.

Definition of “Probiotic”: according to Guarner and Schassfsman (1998) a “probiotic” is termed as being “live micro-organisms, which, after being ingested by an animal in a certain number, lead to benefits to the animal’s health which go beyond the merely nutritional”. In this definition, it is assumed that the ‘probiotic’ must have a positive impact on the composition of the intestinal microflora and provide noticeable health benefits for the animal in question.

Prebiotics, on the other hand, are non – digestible feed ingredients that produce a positive influence on the animal’s health by the selective stimulation of the activity and growth of the lactic acid bacteria present in the colon.

Prebiotics are carbohydrates that are both indigestible and unabsorbable by the animal organism, but easily fermentable by the intestinal bacteria, especially those in the colon; to be effective they must be able to pass the upper tracts of the digestive system and arrive at the large intestine. Among the prebiotics most studied are inulin (and its derivative oligofructose), fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), soya oligosaccharides (e.g. raffinose) and lactulose (lactose and fructose). FOS and inulin are found naturally in many plants, for example: leeks, onions, burdock, chicory and asparagus; FOS products derived from chicory root contain significant quantities of inulin.

Inulin, FOS and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), are found in abundant quantities in mothers milk and are responsible for the intestinal flora in suckling animals. Mothers’ milk is not the only place that these prebiotic substances are found: they are present in many diverse feed ingredients that allow a modification of the micro flora stimulating the growth of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.

The flora in the colon of suckling animals includes a high percentage of bifidobacterias, when suckling finishes this concentration is reduced and so weaning becomes an important stage for the introduction of prebiotics in the diet to favour the colonisation of beneficial flora in the intestine. Prebiotics aid the proliferation of the bifidobacteria and lactobacilli that act against gastrointestinal infections with preventative effects from diarrhoeas and gastroenteritis and also constipation, colitis and flatulence.


Gavin Corder said...

There really is a kind of "need to know" issue that perhaps we should discuss...

Span Ows said...

hehehe...I bet you didn't read it all!