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Article Title

Functional food in Japan: Current status and future of gut-modulating food

Authors

M. Shimizu

Abstract

Food for Specified Health Uses (FOSHU) is an official functional food approved by the Consumer Affairs Agency of Japan. The number of FOSHU items reached almost 970 as of October, 2011. It should be emphasized, however, that more than 70% of the current FOSHU products function in the gastrointestinal tract. They improve intestinal microflora or regulate nutrient absorption, thereby reducing the risks of metabolic syndrome. In addition to the gut-modulating FOSHU products already approved, many attempts have been made to develop new functional foods that regulate other intestinal functions. Modulation of the detoxification system is beneficial to reinforce the gut barrier, and also to suppress inflammatory reactions. Regulation of the T cell differentiation can also be a target for new gut-modulating foods to suppress allergy. Regulation of intestinal IgA production will be beneficial to lower the risks of infection. Recent studies have demonstrated that a variety of food factors, such as lactic acid bacteria, oligosaccharides, amino acids, and polyphenols, can be promising ingredients for the future development of gut-modulating functional foods.

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