Online Safety Community

Microbiome, Diet, Health, and Disease: Policy Needs to Move Forward

Microbiome, Diet, Health, and Disease.jpg

This article covers policy needs concerning the rapidly evolving field of microbiome and diets with respect to health and disease. It captures some key outcomes of a multi-stakeholder dialogue (Brussels, May 2016), spearheaded by a joint effort of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Department of Economy, Science and Innovation of the Flemish Government (Belgium), to help design and/or interpret regulatory frameworks for food and drugs to support innovation to benefit society, while guaranteeing safety and efficacy of products and ensuring the science base.

Introduction

The combined genomes of the microbial ecosystems that live in symbiosis or as commensals with the human body can be defined as the human microbiome. These microbial ecosystems not only include bacteria and archaea, but also fungi, protozoa, and viruses. Different microbial ecosystems colonise the mouth, the skin, the vaginal and intestinal tract, of which the latter has the highest biodiversity, composed of more than 1000 phylospecies.

An Interface Between Human Genetics and Diet: the Gut Microbiome

The human gut microbiota has been described as a key biological interface between human genetics and environmental conditions, such as diet, that can modify the composition and the functioning of the intestinal microbiome. In that sense, it may be considered a virtual organ which is an integral and essential part of the body.1 Through nutritional intervention, the gut microbiome may be altered to generate better wellbeing and protection against many diseases or even to cure certain conditions.2-4

The gut microbiome can be linked to many Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome related to increasing incidence of obesity. More recently, also neurological diseases have been related to gut microbiota and diet and are considered as NCDs.5, 6 The burden of ageing related dementia and other NCDs is exponentially increasing in relation to changing life styles and ageing of the population, conditions that are associated with gut microbiome alterations. Changing demographics worldwide, combined with the broader adoption of the western diet and lifestyle increases the burden of NCDs, creating serious challenges for the public healthcare systems. Prevention and more efficient treatment of NCDs not only offer important economic advantages for healthcare systems, it also contributes to the reduction of poverty as only healthy people can actively participate to society and economies.7-9 Recent scientific studies are linking dietary habits to an array of health conditions in new ways and indicate that nutrition has a determining influence that start even before birth and can influence the development of complex pathologies.10, 11

Opportunities and Hype

New insights about the importance of the intestinal microbiome and the modulating effect of diet are opening new possible ways of treatment and prevention that may contribute to the sustainability of healthcare systems by keeping the increasing healthcare costs under control. Innovations based on better understanding of how the intestinal microbiome functions and regulates our health and how it is impacted by what we eat are expected also to lead to preventative medicine and contributions to longer wellbeing in general.

However, the field is subject to some hype. Although insights are growing fast, at this moment it is still unclear how health or disease is determined by the human microbiomes. In most cases, a certain microbiome composition can at best be associated with certain condition. The causal relation of nutrition, gut microbiome composition and health is not clearly understood yet, such as whether a healthy microbiome can be defined at population level, what determines its resilience when disturbed, or how its composition can be beneficially manipulated. Such primary knowledge is required before therapies targeting the microbiome can be developed.

Nevertheless, there is a clear interest of food and pharmaceutical developers and industries to develop new products that target the gut microbiome, for better well-being or to manage chronic disease conditions. Moreover, microbiomes are also a source of novel bioactive compounds that may be used for innovative applications.

Identifying Policy Needs

To follow the pace of new scientific insights and translate these to innovative applications, there is a need to accelerate policy actions at the national and international level, to address scientific and regulatory challenges as well as to ensure safety and efficacy and efficient take up by consumers and healthcare professionals.12-14

To stimulate innovation based on the new insights of how the human microbiome and the gut microbiome in particular is functioning, in May 2016, the department of Economy, Science and Innovation of the Flemish Government in Belgium organized a workshop on ‘The Microbiome, Diet and Health: Assessing Gaps in Science and Innovation’ in Brussels in collaboration with OECD and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC), the industry association linked to OECD.15

This workshop brought together scientists from academia and industry, experts in regulatory issues and policy makers to identify and discuss on policy needs for this field to progress and deliver upon the promises. The regulatory frameworks in place need to follow fast the new developments and combine a right balance between measures to ensure safety and consumer/patient protection and flexibility to adapt to these new developments.16-18

This article summarizes some of the policy needs that were identified as well as messages from workshop participants, how to address these and help move from hype to solid intervention or prevention. A complete workshop report is published by OECD.

continue

Views: 17

Comment

You need to be a member of Online Safety Community to add comments!

Join Online Safety Community

Take our poll!

Take our poll!

Latest Activity

Jam Blanco posted a blog post

Making Temporary Construction Fencing Panels

Fencing at construction sites is necessary since it keeps both workers and the general public safe from mishaps on site. If there aren’t any clear boundaries marking off a zone, anyone can wander in and get seriously hurt. With the right precautions in place you can avoid costly lawsuits, fines, deaths and stress.…See More
13 hours ago
John Robinson posted events
17 hours ago
Training Doyens posted events
19 hours ago
swetha posted a blog post

Nebosh IGC Training course - Chennai

Nebosh course in Chennai can be obtained by the safety individual who is doing work, fresher or any engaged indiviuals. The Nebosh course period is 18 days. As we are offering both class room teaching as well as e-learning training with comprehensive of book resources. If you want to perceive a profession in Health and safety sector GWG will give you a best Nebosh training in Chennani.We are…See More
yesterday

Forum

Python Condition Objects Tutorial in 2018

If you have knowledge of other programming languages, then you would know the importance of conditional statements. Conditional statements are required for taking decisions. Whenever we operate the…Continue

Tags: course, certification, training, languages, programming

Started by Elena Lauren Apr 2.

Automation Anywhere. How do I pick a value from dropdown 1 Reply

Automation Anywhere. How do I pick a value from dropdown. I tried 'set text' from a copied variable. Its very slow, and also doesnt…Continue

Tags: anywhere, automation

Started by emmablisa. Last reply by venkatesh Mar 29.

Agile overcome common software security challenges

Paradoxically, security is a negative goal. To secure something, you must understand how insecure it is. Start by trying to break it or by figuring out how other people might break it. The same is…Continue

Tags: agile, scrum, security

Started by nicolewells Mar 23.

Understanding Data Parallelism in MapReduce

In order to understand the goals of MapReduce, it is important to realize for which scenarios MapReduce is optimized. The MapReduce programming model is created for processing data which requires…Continue

Tags: program, Implementation, Mapreduce

Started by gracylayla Mar 14.

TensorFlow serving vs TensorFlow service

I have a question regarding the difference between TensorFlow Serving versus TensorFlow service. (Sorry that I'm not familiar with this at all.)I found TensorFlow serving's definition, which is "…Continue

Tags: training, online, tensorflow

Started by emmablisa Feb 27.

Badge

Loading…

© 2018   Created by Safety Community.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service