Reference Number: 457
Human gut microbiota plays an important role in several metabolic processes and human diseases. Various dietary factors, including complex carbohydrates, such as polysaccharides, provide abundant nutrients and substrates for microbial metabolism in the gut, affecting the members and their functionality. Nowadays, the main sources of complex carbohydrates destined for human consumption are terrestrial plants. However, fresh water is an increasingly scarce commodity and world agricultural productivity is in a persistent decline, thus demanding the exploration of other sources of complex carbohydrates. As an interesting option, marine seaweeds show rapid growth and do not require arable land, fresh water or fertilizers. The present review offers an objective perspective of the current knowledge surrounding the impacts of seaweeds and their derived polysaccharides on the human microbiome and the profound need for more in-depth investigations into this topic. Animal experiments and in vitro colonic-simulating trials investigating the effects of seaweed ingestion on human gut microbiota are discussed.
Significance of this study to the baker:
Seaweed is an important ingredient within our botanical blends. Seaweed has been part of the East Asian diet for centuries and now more recently it is consumed in western countries because of the association with improved human health.
Research like this shows that this mineral rich plant behaves like a prebiotic, feeding our beneficial gut microbiota and allowing them to become more abundant within our gut, boosting our gut health. It is rich in polysaccharides, which are fermented by our gut microbiota to enable them to produce short chain fatty acids (SCFA) favourable to our health.
It is important to consume Seaweed in moderation. It’s possible contamination with heavy metals may make high consumption dangerous.