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Probiotics and The Immune System

Encouraging Healthy Inhabitants in the Gut

A major factor in maintaining healthy intestines is the beneficial lactic acid bacteria known as probiotics.

How do you know if you have healthy gut flora? The best way to assess the state of the flora is to check the stools. A healthy stool should be cylindrical in shape, not at all sticky, break up easily when flushed and have no odour. If this is not the case, take probiotics until you see a change (that will vary from weeks to months).


A Brief History of Probiotics

Probiotic is a Greek word which means “for life”. If these good bacteria are found in large enough quantities, the undesirable, disease causing bacteria will be kept in check1.

Until fairly recently probiotics were regarded with a certain amount of suspicion by mainstream medics. However now the research has stacked up, many gastro intestinal consultants are recommending probiotics to their patients.

The health benefits of cultured and fermented foods have a long history dating back to ancient civilisations. It wasn’t until the early nineteenth century however, that a culture of S. Thermophilus and L. bulgaricus was officially developed by Metchnikoff, the head of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, who proposed it as a tonic for the bowel.


What Probiotics Will Do for You

In addition to specific immune related functions, some of the researched effects of probiotics are:

  • Synthesis and absorption of B vitamins2 including B3, B6, biotin and folic acid.

  • Synthesis of vitamin K.

  • Recycling of oestrogen involved in female hormone imbalance.

  • Manufacture of lactase3, the enzyme that digests lactose in dairy products.

  • Absorption of minerals, particularly iron and calcium. This is good reason to take a probiotic when supplementing minerals.

  • Relief of constipation by helping to form soft, bulky and well lubricated stools which pass through the colon swiftly. A four week Canadian study in which probiotics were given to 70 people with chronic constipation found that 89% reported an improvement in symptoms.4

  • Binding of cholesterol in the gut, to lower excess levels.5

  • Prevention of travel bugs. A study by Professor Glenn Gibson, head of microbiology at Reading University showed that taking probiotics for five days before and during travel abroad resulted in a 30 percent reduced likelihood of picking up bugs. [6]

  • Supportive of healthy digestive function.

  • Management of inflammation.

  • Prevention/treatment of atopy in children.78

  • Production of antimicrobial substances which destroy yeasts and bacteria. Some species produce anti-tumour substances.

  • Detoxification of harmful substances.


Probiotics and Obesity

A recent review discusses the link between obesity and changes in the composition and metabolic function of gut microbiota, There is evidence to show that different strains of bacteria are found in the guts of overweight people compared to lean people. Gut microbes change according to the type of diet eaten and certain types (which can be passed from one generation to another) will affect the physiology of the host and influence weight gain.


Causes and Effects of Imbalanced Bacteria

Dysbiosis is the term given to an imbalance in the ratio between good and bad bacteria, when the bad outnumber the good. Stress, smoking, unhealthy food choices, medications and environmental pollution all negatively affect bacterial balance. Of the medications, antibiotics, steroids (e.g. cortisone, ACTH, prednisolone, the Pill, HRT) are particularly destructive to the bowel flora. Chemotherapy will mean intensive probiotic therapy is needed.

Dysbiosis is known to be a factor in many common conditions. For example, rheumatoid arthritis, allergy, IBS, diabetes, obesity and chronic fatigue syndrome.


It’s All in the Strain

Probiotics are classified according to the species, for example L. acidophilus or B. lactis and within the species are many different strains. This means that no two acidophilus supplements, will be the same.

Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1 is a particularly beneficial strain from human origin (as opposed to plant origin), making it highly compatible with the human body.

Research at a major American university showed how DDS-1 colonized well in the human gut. A study involving a 60 day treatment with a multispecies probiotic containing the DDS-1 strain, showed significant improvement in abdominal health, bloating and occasional elimination irregularities.

  • Lactobacillus casei works with other helpful organisms, and helps to encourage the growth of other beneficial bacteria.

  • Lactobacillus plantarum has been shown to be resistant to low pH conditions and able to survive bile concentrations in the intestine.

  • Lactobacillus salivarius promotes intestinal health and helps support oral health as well.

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus assists elimination and occasional intestinal discomfort by working to promote healthy intestinal microflora.

  • Lactobacillus brevis are beneficial lactic acid bacteria that helps support the GI tract.

  • Bifidobacterium lactis is a friendly bacteria often found in raw yoghurt known to help support healthy immune responses.

  • Bifidobacterium longum helps keep the digestive system running smoothly, and helps support the immune system.

  • Bifidobacterium bifidum helps promote a healthy balance of flora in the intestine.

  • Streptococcus Thermophilus is a high potency culture that helps maintain normal intestinal flora in the gut.


What To Look For When Choosing Probiotics

  • Resistance to stomach and bile acid in order to reach the required intestinal sites in tact.

  • Proven strains compatible with the digestive tract.

  • Good adherence to the intestinal wall.

  • Stability during storage at room temperature.

  • Resistance to antibiotics.

  • Free from dairy, soya, corn, wheat, and gluten, and non-GMO.

  • Vegetable based capsules.

  • Backed by academic and scientific research.


Probiotics from NutriVital

NUTRIVITAL ACIDOPHILUS

Containing:
Lactobacillus acidophilus1193
Bifidobacterium lactis 1413 (Formerly known as Bifidobacterium bifidum)
Fructooligosaccharides (Chicorium intybus root)
1129 108mg Providing:100mg FOS

8 billion CFU, 60 caps

DR MERCOLA COMPLETE PROBIOTICS

Containing:
Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1
Lactobacillus casei Lactobacillus
Lactobacillus salivarius Lactobacillus rhamnosus
Lactobacillus brevis
Bifidobacterium lactis.
Bifidobacterium longum
Bifidobacterium bifidum Streptococcus Thermophilus

35 billion CFU, 60 caps

DR OHIRO’S PROBIOTICS (please call 01730 233 414)
Created by award-winning microbiologist, Iichiroh Ohhira Ph.D. Ingredients are fermented for three years in a natural temperate environment.

Containing:
Bifidobacterium breve ss. Breve
Bifidobacterium infantis ss. infantis
Bifidobacterium longum
Enterococcus faecalis TH10
Lactobacillus brevis
Lactobacillus acidophilus
Lactobacillus bulgaricus
Lactobacillus casei ss. casei
Lactobacillus fermentum
Lactobacillus helveticus ss. jagurti
Lactobacillus plantarum
Streptcoccus thermophilus

900 million CFU

Additionally contains a proprietary blend of 82 additional wild organic crops including herbs, fruits, and organic plants which provide a natural prebiotic culture medium


When To Take Probiotics

The ideal time to take probiotics is on an empty stomach at least half an hour before breakfast or in the evening before bed, at least 2 hours after food.

The consensus amongst probiotic specialists is that it is worth taking a probiotic concurrently with a course of antibiotics and continuing the probiotic for a few weeks afterwards, rather than waiting until the antibiotics are finished before starting the probiotics. A gap of a few hours should be left between the probiotic and antibiotic when they are being taken simultaneously.


The Nutrivital Promise

Every one of our own-brand products comes with the promise that it is:

  • Additive Free – our range is offered in capsule form and contain nothing other than what is written on the label. Vitamins are sensitive to heat and pressure and are often destroyed in the tablet-making process. Tablets also require binders, fillers, glazes, and colourings, which we feel are best to avoid. The only excipient we use is stone-ground brown rice flour.

  • Hypoallergenic – containing no added sugar, wheat, gluten, lactose or yeast.

  • Vegan – 100% free from animal products or animal by-products. Capsules are made from vegetable sources.

  • Professional Grade – high potency, formulated for maximum absorption.

  • Produced and packaged in the UK which enables us to carry out quality control to the highest standard.


References

[1] Collado MC et al. The impact of probiotics on gut health. Curr Drug Metab. Jan;10 (1):68-78. 2009.

[2] Alm L et al. Effect of Fermentation on B Vitamin Content of Milk in Sweden. Journal of Dairy Sciences 65: 353-359. 1982.

[3] Alm L, Journal of Dairy Sciences. 64(4): 509-514. 1981.

[4] Koebnick C, Wagner I, Ising K, Stern U. Ernaehrungs-Umschau 48: 392-396. 2001.

[5] Marteau PR. Probiotics in clinical conditions. Clinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology 22 (3):255-73. 2002.

[6] Black FT et al. Prophylactic efficacy of Lactobacilli on travellers diarrhoea. Conference in international travel medicine 1, Zurich, Switzerland. Berlin. Springer 333-5. 1989.

[7] 7.Viljanen M et al. Probiotic effects on faecal inflammatory markers and on faecal IgA in food allergic atopic eczema/dermatitis syndrome infants. Pediatr Allergy Immunol 16(1): 65-71.

[8]Kirjavainen PV et al. Aberrant composition of gut microbiota of allergic infants; a target of bifidobacterial therapy at weaning? Gut 51(1):51-55. 2002.

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