Probiotics for human health
July 21, 2011

 

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Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that colonise the human gastrointestinal (GI) tract and act to promote the efficient functioning of digestion, help prevent digestive upsets and stimulate and maintain the natural immunity of the body.

 

Why do we need probiotics ?

The natural balance of the body’s bacteria can be upset by several factors, resulting in an imbalance which is referred to as dysbiosis. Dysbiosis can be caused by:

  • Prescribed medicines such as antibiotics and steroids
  • Increased acidity in the digestive system caused by stress, lack of sleep and poor diet
  • Constipation and diarrhoea, the former leading to a stagnant and toxic environment and the latter simply flushing out the bacteria

When dysbiosis occurs we can see a wide range of conditions and symptoms including Candida overgrowths, poor energy, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other intestinal conditions, bloating and excessive wind, poor skin quality, bad breath and headaches.   The best way to combat dysbiosis is to first identify the reason for it and address this and then supplement with probiotics. Alternatively, some studies have shown that taking probiotics can contribute to the normal functioning and healthy microbial balance of the digestive system [1] and may have an important role in the prevention of various digestive diseases [2,3,4].

 

Probiotics have been shown to work by the following mechanisms:

 

Competition for nutrients

Within the gut, beneficial as well as pathogenic microorganisms will be utilising the same types of nutrients. They will compete for these nutrients in order to grow and reproduce. The more the gut is flooded with beneficial microorganisms (probiotics), the more competition is created between beneficial and pathogenic microorganisms.

 

Competition for adhesion sites – colonization

Adhering to adhesion sites along the wall of the gut is an important colonisation factor and many intestinal pathogens rely on adhesion to the gut wall to prevent them being swept away by peristalsis along the intestinal tract.   An important function of these probiotic bacteria is to prevent or limit the growth and colonisation of potentially pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria, Campylobacter and Clostridia within the gut. These pathogenic bacteria are known to cause major disturbances within the gut thus preventing efficient digestion and nutrient absorption within the gut and may result in diarrhoea or vomiting. Where the gut microflora is well balanced, the beneficial microorganisms colonised within the gut can hence help to reduce the risk of pathogenic challenge.   The protective and immune barrier of the GI tract includes the epithelial layer, the mucous layer, the mechanics of peristalsis and desquamation, and actions of secretory Immunoglobulin A (IgA), all of which have an impact on bacterial adhesion. After adhering, colonic bacteria are prevented from mixing with the host’s eukaryotic cells by the epithelial layer, which acts as a vital barrier to invasion. The barrier’s healthy structure and proper functioning are essential for the health of the human host. In this complex system, the delicate balance between the gastrointestinal tract and the microflora is cooperatively maintained.

 

Stimulation of immunity

The immune system provides the primary defence against microbial pathogens that have entered our bodies. The immune system is extremely complex, involving both cell-based and antibody-based responses to potential infectious agents.   Probiotics have been shown to ensure the optimum microflora balance in order to stimulate and maintain the natural immune system of the host. Because 70% of our immune system lies in the digestive tract, the lack of adequate amounts of probiotics can result in many problems related to lo immunity.   Immunodeficiency can result from certain diseases (e.g., cancer, AIDS, leukemia) or, to a lesser extent, from more normal conditions such as old age, pregnancy, or stress. Autoimmune diseases (e.g., allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases) can also occur due to misdirected immune system activity.   Studies suggests that probiotics can enhance the immune responses, by activating immunoreactive cells (e.g. macrophages, lymphocytes), increasing levels of cytokines and by increasing natural killer cell activity (NK) and/or increasing levels of immunoglobulin [7,8] These enhanced immune effects help to prevent illness when probiotics are used regularly.

 

Direct antimicrobial effect

Many species of lactic acid bacteria also influence other protective functions of the intestinal mucosa including synthesis and secretion of antibacterial peptides (bacteriocins) or the production of organic acids (lactic and acetic acids) which can either have a direct effect or operate by reducing the pH of the gut, all of which inhibits undesired bacteria such as pathogens from growing [12].

 

Improvement in digestion

Probiotic microorganisms act like and add to the healthy microflora by producing enzymes which aid the breakdown of carbohydrates such as polysaccharides to allow the absorption of the energy obtained from these nutrients by the gut. The microflora also ferments carbohydrates which have not been digested in the upper gut and produces vitamins which supply a secondary source to the host.

 

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

IBS is frequently associated with an imbalance in the intestinal microflora and is a functional bowel disorder that can be characterized by symptoms of abdominal pain, cramps, gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. Surveys estimate that the prevalence rate ranges from 10-20% of the adult population and the condition is diagnosed 3 times more often in women than men. Controlled studies which have been conducted evaluating probiotics and IBS suggest that probiotics may alleviate some of the symptoms related to IBS incl. diarrhea or abdominal pain or bloating [5,6,10,11]. Constipation is one of the most common disorders in Western countries and it is known that dietary factors such as a low fibre diets and low caloric intake are associated with this condition.

 

Symbiolactis 5PB – product description

Symbiolactis 5PB is a concept based on 5 lactic acid bacteria strains, that will optimise the balance of the microflora and help to prevent digestive problems. The range of bacteria in the concept consists of carefully selected strains with complementary properties that act in various parts of the gastrointestinal tract, in order both to optimise intestinal health and to promote digestive comfort. The product has a total initial cell count of minimum 1 billion cfu per tablet equal a dose of 1 tablet per day.   The probiotic bacteria help to clean the intestines and to promote the growth of healthy beneficial bacteria that stimulate the natural defence system against harmful bacteria in the digestive tract. Furthermore the bacteria will promote intestinal peristalsis.   The strains included in the probiotic system are; Bifidobacterium longum BG3, Bifidobacterium Lactis BL2, Lactobacillus acidophilus LH5, Lactobacillus plantarum LP1, Streptococcus thermophilus ST3.

Bifidobacterium longum is a probiotic bacteria that inhabits the large intestine. Research suggests that bifidobacteria species can improve the nutritional value of foods. Bifido strains have the ability to produce B vitamins and contain the following enzymes: digestive, casein phosphatase, and lysozyme. Clinical studies suggest that Bifidobacterium longum reduces the frequency of gastrointestinal disorders (diarrhea, nausea, constipation etc.) and helps digestive functioning and comfort [5, 13].   Bifidobacterium lactis has been reported to be useful for supporting and balancing a healthy intestinal flora, for reducing the incidence of diarrhoea and intestinal infecti
ons, for promoting the absorption of nutrients, for supporting the immune system, for maintaining cholesterol levels, and for detoxifying the intestine, the blood, and the liver. Unlike most of Bifidobacterium species, it has high tolerance to Oxygen, salts, and acids.

Lactobacillus acidophilus is a probiotic bacterium and is one of the most important microorganisms in the small intestinal tract of humans. Studies suggest that some strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus may help control intestinal infections (and therefore help reduce the onset of diarrhea), plus improve the digestion of milk products by breaking down milk sugar (lactose). They may also provide an inhibitory response towards some types of cancer, stimulate the immune response against unwanted intestinal micro-organisms, including viruses, and may help control serum cholesterol levels. It performs many critical functions including inhibiting pathogenic organisms and preventing them from multiplying and colonizing. It is well documented that L. acidophilus produces natural antibiotics like lactocidin, acidophilin, etc., which enhances resistance or immunity. L. acidophilus has known antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, E.coli and Candida albicans.

Lactobacillus plantarum is a widespread member of the genus Lactobacillus, commonly found in sauerkraut, pickles, brined olives, korean kimchi, nigerian ogi, sourdough and other fermented plant material and also in some cheeses and fermented sausages. Lactobacillus plantarum is a gram positive bacteria that produces lactic acid in the human gastrointestinal tract. Studies show that Lactobacillus plantarum decreases pain, abdominal bloating, flatulence and constipation in patients with irritable bowel syndrome [10,11]. Lactobacillus plantarum secretes the naturally occurring antibiotic lactolin, and is also known to have the ability to synthesize the amino acid L-lysine, which has beneficial anti-viral activities. L. plantarum also produces glycolytic enzymes shown to degrade cyanogenic glycosides and is effective in eliminating nitrate while producing nitric oxide. This probiotic can preserve key nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants, eliminate toxic components from food, and eradicate pathogens such as S. aureus and Enterococci [9].

Streptococcus thermophilus is known to be efficient in breaking down lactose by producing the enzyme lactase. Those who are lactose-intolerant may be greatly helped by supplementation with this particular strain. Cytokine production is stimulated in tissue cultured cells by this bacterium. Other research suggests that Streptococcus thermophilus can improve the nutritional value of foods by making micronutrients available to the host. As it is not of human origin, it has a relatively low rate of adherence to the intestinal membrane, but its fast growth and acid formation allow its usage as a strain for the recovery of the intestinal balance.

 

Dual coating system

All strains are dual coated, based on patent protected technology, in order to maximize viability and efficacy. The coating system protects the live bacteria during ingestion against breakdown from gastric juice and bile and enables a high number of viable cells to reach the intestine alive and in a good condition to colonise and multiply. The coating system is made with a pH dependant release mechanism which protects the bacteria in the acid environment of the stomach (pH2-4) and releases the coating in the ph-neutral (pH 6-7) environment of the intestines.   Because of the dual coating system and gastric protection of the bacteria, the efficacy will be min. 10 times higher than that with conventional bacteria. Recommended intake is 1 tablet per day.

 

Symbiolactis 5PB forhandles i danmark af dfi

 

References:

 

  1. Bifidobacterium spp. and Lactobacillus acidophilus; biological, biochemical, technological and therapeutical properties relevant for use as probiotics. Trends in Food Science & Technology 10 (1999) 139-157
  2. Prebiotics and probiotics for gastrointestinal health, Clinical Nutrition, Volume 20, Supplement 1, June 2001, Pages 41-45
  3. Probiotics in prevention of antibiotic associated diarrhoea: meta-analysis. BMJ 2002;324:1361 ( 8 June )
  4. Protection from gastrointestinal diseases with the use of probiotics, Am J Clin Nutr 2001;73(suppl)430S–6S
  5. Effect of a symbiotic preparation on the clinical manifestations of irritable bowel syndrome, constipation-variant. Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2006.52.p. 349-58
  6. Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2006.52 359-63
  7. Immune System Stimulation by Probiotics, J Dairy Sci 78: 1597-1606
  8. Production of interferon induced by, Nutritional Biochemistry 825-31 1997
  9. Bengmark S. Colonic food; pre-and probiotics. Am J. Gastroenterol 2000;95;S5-S7
  10. Vanderhoof JA, Young RJ. Use of probiotics in childhood gastrointestinal disorders. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 1998;27:323-332.
  11. Nobaek S, Johansson ML, Molin G, et al. Alteration of intestinal microflora is associated with reduction in abdominal bloating and pain in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Gastroenterol 2000;95:1231-1238.
  12. Dodd and Gasson 1994; del Miraglia and De Luca 2004
  13. Diet and chronic constipation. ACTA BIOMED 2006; 77: 157-162

 

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