Pre-, Pro-, Synbiotics and Human Health 

Stig Bengmark*

Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, University College London, 74 Huntley Street, WC1E 6AU London, UK

Article history:

Received March 15, 2010
Accepted May 15, 2010

Key words:

prebiotics, probiotics, synbiotics, immune system, resistance to disease


Western lifestyle is associated with a sustained low grade increase in inflammation leading to an impaired innate immunity and reduced resistance to disease, changes which might explain the epidemic of chronic diseases spreading around the globe. The immune system cannot function properly without access to bacteria and plants, which when raw, are rich not only in bacteria but also in plant fibres, antioxidants, healthy fats and numerous other nutrients. Modern food technology with plant breeding, separation, condensation of food ingredients, heating, freezing, drying, irradiation, microwaving, an effective tool for destroying foods and hereby counteracting optimal immune function, is suspected to be a leading cause of so-called Western diseases. The supply of pre-, pro-, and synbiotics has sometimes proved to be effective tool to counteract, especially acute diseases, but has often failed, especially in chronic diseases. Thousands of factors contribute to unhealthy living. Numerous alterations in lifestyle and food habits are needed, if to prevent and cure 'treatment-resistant' chronic diseases. Among these are avoiding such processed foods that are known to be rich in pro-inflammatory molecules, and also eating substantial amounts of foods with documented anti-inflammatory effects such as turmeric/curcumin, molecules which might be included in future synbiotic compositions.


*Corresponding author:    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.