Integrative Practitioner Digital Summit


Session 1: Exploring Effectiveness of Probiotics

The past 15 years has witnessed a remarkable surge of interest in the human microbiome, now reflected by the annual publication of circa 3000 scientific articles. The reasons are clear: the microbiota population, established at birth and “part of us” for the remainder of our lives, connects with profoundly effects many parts of our physiology, including the immune, neuroendocrine, and metabolic systems. The implications of this are similarly clear, in that perturbations in the microbiome will undoubtedly affect the nature and outcome of this communication, potentially in an adverse way.

Probiotics can be considered as simple proxies for the vastly complex microbiome, and both scientific and commercial interest in their capabilities has similarly soared over the past 15 years. Probiotics can potentially work by preventing an adverse microbiome alteration, correcting one which has already occurred, and “improve” the physiological cross-talk homeostasis. But how effective are they?

Upon completion of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Discuss the evidence for the benefits of probiotic intervention on modifying both physiologies and pathologies
  • Describe current limitations of probiotics, as well as the exciting future prospects for next generation biotherapeutic products, including FMT
  • Understand the increasingly challenging navigation through the regulatory frameworks and commercial plethora of available probiotic solutions
  • Apply concepts to immune health, gut-brain axis, metabolic health, and more
Nigel Plummer

Speaker: Nigel Plummer, PhD

Nigel Plummer, PhD, has his doctorate in microbial physiology from the University of Surrey, United Kingdom, and began his career at Pfizer working on the development and manufacture of antibiotics.

This interest in disease control lead to the development in the 1980’s of his first probiotic product for the prevention of neonatal diarrhea in young pigs and calves. This commitment to R&D has continued both in the academic sphere with his research group having now published more than 100 original scientific papers in the areas of the human microbiome, probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, and the potential for use of plant antimicrobials for the treatment of infectious disease. In addition, 12 full human RCT’s have been published on the impact of probiotics on many aspects of human physiology and pathology, and this investment in R&D is accelerating.

Commercially, Nigel Plummer is CEO of Cultech, a specialist fully integrated, fully GMP approved manufacturer of probiotics, and supplies probiotic products to numerous retailer and proprietary brands globally.