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Personalised probiotics: Thai academic unveils prototype for customised probiotics dispenser – LISTEN

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Thai academic unveils prototype for customised probiotics dispenser – LISTEN

Related tags Probiotics Thailand personalised

A Thai researcher has invented a personalised probiotics dispenser machine that supplies consumers with probiotics strains that they lack in their gut, using bioinformatics and artificial intelligence (AI).

The inventor behind this concept is Dr. Krit Pongpirul, associate professor at Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University’s Department of Preventive and Social Medicine housed within the Faculty of Medicine.

The idea is that consumers should only take in probiotics strains which they are lacking, instead of blindly purchasing what’s available in the market.  

Dr. Krit Pongpirul

“You should not consume OTC probiotics, if you do not know what you are lacking,”​ said the guest of the latest Nutrachampion podcast.

The personalised probiotics approach will first analyse the consumers’ gut microbiome and the data will be feed to the personalised probiotics machine.

Using bioinformatics and artificial intelligence, the machine will prescribe the probiotics required, which include the number of strains, types of strains, and dosage required.

“Maybe a patient lacks three probiotics species, but we can’t find any OTC recipes that have exactly these three probiotics.

“So, why don’t we just come up with a prescription machine that can exactly provide the probiotics species at the amount needed?” ​he said, adding that the process was akin to designing a tailored suit.

He stressed that the method was the ‘real personalised’ approach, as it could generate a probiotics formula unique to the consumer, instead of providing the most suited solution from whatever product is available.

“My machine is different from the Nespresso machine in a way that you don’t enter what you want, but enter what you found, and then the AI will suggest what you should take,” ​he said.

As the project is still at a nascent stage, the machine is planned to be made available to clinics. In this case, the clinics can conduct follow-ups to measure changes in the users’ gut microbiome.  

The probiotics dispenser machine is currently pending prototype building.

Targeted solution

Aside from the personalised probiotics project, Dr Pongpirul’s other project is to provide targeted probiotics solution – which is to offer probiotics proven to address certain health problems.

One of the major health problems that he is studying is the association between fat metabolism and probiotics.

Out of the 23 probiotics species that are currently approved by the Thai FDA, he found that the strains from the two species, namely Lactobacillus acidophilus 5 ​(La5) and Lactobacillus plantarum ​Dfa-5​are useful in fat reduction.

Findings are published in Scientific Reports​ and Nutrients respectively.

“When people talk about the concept of microbiome and probiotics, they usually pick the word ‘dysbiosis’ and that is too generic.

“When we want to be accepted by conventional medicine doctors, we must have some clarified terminologies. So, when we talk about the purpose of the indications of the probiotics, we want to focus on what indication we are talking about.

“Dysbiosis is not an indication. It is just a situation. People always claim that consuming this and that can improve dysbiosis. But it doesn’t mean anything or make any sense. That’s why I started to talk about targeted probiotics, which is to tackle a specific health problem.”

The research, known as Comparative Microbiome Analysis for Probiotics Development, was supported by the Thailand Research Fund, which injected THB$10m (US$297K) into the research.  

Listen to the podcast to find out more.

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