“If we can figure nutrition out- and I believe we will within the next two decades-we’ll save millions of lives and improve even more.”
About 151 million children under five years of age i.e. one in four children worldwide – become ‘stunted’ through poor nutrition. Not only the growth and development is hindered but it leaves them cognitively impaired for life.
The popular billionaire philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates is trying to shape the future by tackling global health issues and inequality at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He said that by solving malnutrition, we can fix one of the biggest contributors to inequity.
Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, research programs have looked into driving progress in global health, addressing issues such as vaccinations, Tuberculosis eradication, childhood mortality and malnutrition. The foundation recently backed an initiative looking to maximise yield and minimise the cost of probiotic strains of human gut microbes in batch fermenters.
According to the World Health Organization, malnutrition contributes to about half of deaths in children under the age of five.
There is a plethora of health-benefiting functional foods, it just the awareness that we need to work on. Mr. Gates, who gave the annual Hawking Fellowship Lecture at Cambridge University Union, believes the science that lies under probiotics if decoded could save millions of lives.
Speaking about future possibilities, he mentioned that better understanding behind the science of human microbiome – specifically the microorganisms which inhabit the gut will enable the development of “smartly engineered” probiotic pills which will help us to retain more of the nutrients in the foods we eat.
The 63-year-old Microsoft founder turned philanthropist claimed that in the future, we’ll be able to create next-generation probiotic pills that contain ideal combinations of bacteria even ones that are tailored to your specific gut.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics, or “good” bacteria, are live bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial and aid in maintaining a healthy gut. You can find probiotics in foods like yogurt and some other fermented foods or supplements and it is known to cure digestive problems.
Always consult a doctor or a nutritionist before taking probiotics and supplements.
Concluding the matter, Gates also mentioned that decoding the science behind probiotics and its benefits in malnutrition will not only help prevent malnutrition and obesity, but much other diseases-like asthma, allergies, and some autoimmune diseases, which may be triggered by an unbalanced microbiome.
Malnutrition is an underlying cause and a predominant risk factor behind major diseases and deaths. We hope with this intervention we are able to tackle malnutrition-related issues in a better way.