Associate Chief Researcher, Yakult Central Institute, Tokyo, Japan
Title of the talk: Probiotics for Prevention of Infectious Diseases and Cancers
Human gut is colonized by a huge number of bacteria, and this complex microbial community is called gut microbiota. It has been revealed that the gut microbiota is in close interaction with the development of the immune system. Also, the composition of the gut microbiota is known to be varied between healthy and diseased individuals. Although the cause-and-effect relationship between the microbiota dysbiosis and the manifestation of diseases remains to be established, the well-balanced gut microbiota is supposed to be critical to maintain human health. The human gut microbiota is stably controlled in healthy settings, but some factors such as imbalanced diets, severe stress, infections, medications, and surgery may affect the balance of the gut microbiota. The use of probiotics is being identified as a promising way to prevent the microbiota dysbiosis and to restore homeostatic balance. There has been considerable research on probiotics to see their beneficial functions to maintain human health. We have been accumulating clinical evidences on Lactobacillus casei Shirota (LcS), one of the most studied probiotics over the years. LcS is known to reduce symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders, to have a tendency to suppress an incidence of upper respiratory tract infection in the elderly, to suppress enteric infections in people with the immature or vulnerable immune system, and to prevent a recurrence of bladder cancer and colorectal cancer. Our epidemiological study also revealed that an incidence of breast cancer is reduced by long-term regular consumption of fermented milk containing LcS together with isoflavone from adolescence. This session aims to introduce some recent human studies assessing the benefit of LcS on our health and to describe the underlying mechanisms of these actions via the restoration of the gut microbiota and the immune modulation.
Graduated from the Faculty of Agricultural Chemistry, Kobe University and joined Yakult Central Institute in 1991. Received a Ph.D. degree at Kobe University in 2000. Worked at National Cancer Center Research Institute in Tokyo from 2000 to 2002. Joined Yakult U.S.A. Inc., California, in 2009 and assigned to be a vice president in 2012. Returned to Yakult Central Institute in 2015 and now serving as an associate chief researcher & manager for international science management section at research management center, Yakult Central Institute.