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Tate & Lyle is funding research by APC Microbiome Ireland to examine the metabolic pathways that could affect the relationship between the microbiome and health.

The project aims to explain the functional effects across the gut-brain axis, such as immune regulation, glucose metabolism, gut hormone secretion, tryptophan metabolism, as well as the synbiotic potential of fibres and probiotic strains. It is also expected to reveal how different prebiotic fibres can have a positive effect on health and the most plausible metabolic pathways to explore them further.

Research is mounting that dietary fibres are essential to health and wellbeing – a leading trend today – however, the majority of consumers still come in way below the recommended daily intake of fibre – easily corrected.

Still many questions

Fibre has been found to have prebiotic effects, feeding ‘good’ bacteria in the gut, and promoting a healthy composition of the microbiome. A well-functioning microbiome is important because its bacteria help to digest food, regulate the immune system, protect against other bacteria that cause disease, and produce vitamins including vitamins B12, thiamine and riboflavin, and Vitamin K.

“Most people are starting to understand the importance of getting more fibre in their diet, for a host of health and wellbeing benefits, including cardiovascular, immunity, skin and gut health,”​ said Dr Kavita Karnik, global head, Nutrition & Regulatory Affairs at Tate & Lyle.

“Microbiome research has advanced significantly in the last decade, but there are still many questions to be answered in this area.