PROBIOTICS (FRIENDLY BACTERIA)
Written by Slawomir (“Swavak”) Gromadzki, MPH
Read also: Psychobiotics (Probiotics) & Mood >
Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, the father of medicine said that, “All diseases begin in the gut.” Today we have enough evidence he was not far from the truth because many chronic and metabolic diseases do, in fact, begin in the gut. Also weakness of our immune system, which is greatly influenced by the ratio between good and bad bacteria in the gut, is one of the key causes of acute and chronic infectious diseases, cancers, or 160 autoimmune conditions.
The proper ratio of good to bad bacteria is a critical measure in determining overall health and well-being. It is believed that healthy human organism should contain more than 85% of beneficial bacteria and less than 15% of pathogenic (“bad”) bacteria. Unfortunately, due to unhealthy lifestyle, refined (low in fibre) diet, misuse of antibiotics, birth control pills, stimulants, chlorinated water, toxins, and other factors our gastro-intestinal tract is often very low in beneficial probiotic bacteria. As a result, our intestines are overloaded with pathogenic yeasts and bacteria producing toxins and causing intestinal damage, inflammations and contributing to all kinds of problems including constipation, diarrhoea, weak immune system, poor absorption of nutrients, skin conditions such as eczema, bloating, allergies, colic, etc.
KEY CAUSES OF BACTERIAL IMBALANCE
- Antibiotics kill good bacteria and increase number of harmful resistant bacteria
- Refined diet & lack dietary Fibre or supplemental Prebiotics (Chlorella, Psyllium Husk, Inulin, GOS, FOS, etc.)
- Strong alcohol (unlike moderate amount of red wine) harm beneficial bacteria
- Consumption of sugar, art. sweeteners (chlorine) and unhealthy fats
- Friendly bacteria in the gut naturally decline with age
- Stress affects bacterial balance in the gut
- Lack of sleep & physical activity
- Tap water (chlorine, fluoride, antibiotics, heavy metals, etc.)
RESULTS OF BACTERIAL IMBALANCE
- Weight gain
- Insulin resistance
- Intestinal inflammation & damage
- Candida albicans overgrowth
- Leaky gut (intestinal permeability)
- Colorectal Cancer
- Indigestion, Gas, Bloating
- Constipation or Diarrhoea
- Weak immunity & Allergies
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Autoimmune diseases
Over 30 different beneficial pharmacological actions of probiotics have been identified and hundreds of studies have demonstrated that probiotics can be helpful for over 170 ailments!
Titles of Articles Based on Scientific Research
- Lactobacilli protect against influenza virus infection
- Probiotics reverse gut damage caused by antibiotics
- Lactobacillus reuteri improves lactose intolerance
- Lactic acid bacteria produce B vitamins
- Lactobacillus reuteri produces cobalamin (B12)
- Bifidobacterium breve proved super protective for IBD
- L. reuteri and L. rhamnosus reduce inflammation in IBD
- Probiotics are safe and effective in treating persistent diarrhoea
- L. acidophilus & B. bifidum lower cholesterol
- Bacillus coagulans relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
- Probiotics help lose weight, clinical study confirms
- Probiotics could reverse diabetes
- Probiotics reverse milk allergy in toddlers
- Probiotics reduced extra-intestinal tumour size by 40% (in mice)
- Probiotics reduce blood pressure
- L. helveticus is beneficial for the treatment of cognitive decline & anxiety
- Lack of P. contributes to the development of autoimmune diseases
- L. Casei & L. rhamnosus effective in children with chronic constipation
- P. have a role in preventing recurrent urinary tract infections in women
- Probiotic supplementation significantly improved depression and anger
- L. acidophilus may have a therapeutic activity against breast tumours
- L. may have a therapeutic role in the treatment of multiple sclerosis
- P. have therapeutic role in treatment of anxiety & mood disorders
- Lactobacilli inhibit early stages of Candida albicans development
- L. may provide an ideal therapeutic strategy for IBS
- Bifidobacterium longum relieves symptoms of hay fever
- Probiotics can reduce the risk of ADHD and autism
- Bacillus coagulans exhibits antifungal properties
- Probiotics reduce sugar cravings
- P. prevent colon cancer
- Probiotics dramatically modulate liver cancer growth in mice
RESEARCH-BASED BENEFITS OF LACTOBACILLUS SPECIES
- L acidophilus: anti-inflammatory, digest lactose, mood, immunity, allergy, urinary & vaginal infections, IBS, eczema, gas, diarrhoea, digestion
- L brevis: acid- & bile-resistant, increases interferon (immunity) & l-arginine (blood pressure, circulation, ER), reduces production of polyamines associated with vaginal dysbiosis & intestinal carcinogenesis
- L casei: immune-modulating, intestinal IgA-production, antagonises Helicobacter pylori (cause of stomach ulcer), decreases proinflamatory cytokine secretion, inhibits E. coli
- L bulgaricus: breaks down lactose, lowers LDL cholesterol, anti-inflammatory
- L fermentum: produces superoxide dismutase & glutathione, promotes digestion & detoxification
- L gasseri: found in breast milk, makes hydrogen peroxide, fights pathogens & carcinogens, vaginal health
- L helveticus: anxiety & depression, sleep, cognition, 2 main milk protein allergies, hypertension, arthritis, Candida overgrowth, thrush, breast tumours, anti-inflammatory, increases butyrate, gut health, dermatitis,
- L paracasei: acid-resistant, helps eliminate excess insulin, makes lactic acid, antagonises Staphylococcus aureus & other pathogens, vaginal health, allergic rhinitis, diarrhoea, unique ability to support liver function
- L plantarum: acid-resistant, make hydrogen peroxide against pathogens, IBD, IBS, leaky gut (reduces gut permeability), guards gut lining fending off pathogens, quickly digest protein preventing food allergies, reduce inflammation in MS, improves assimilation of Omega-3, vitamins & antioxidants, makes folate
- L salivarius: anti-inflammatory, immune & oral health, protects intestinal lining, enhances calcium uptake
- L reuteri: most effective in making B12, breaks down lactose, oral & immune health, digestion (human small intestine also often harbours a microflora and at least two groups of probiotics, Pseudomonas and Klebsiella species, may synthesise significant amounts of B12. B12 and other B-vitamins can be produced by typical probiotics like Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus. The most famous B12 producer is Lactobacillus reuteri. Made by probiotics in small intestine B12 is the reason why half of vegans never experience deficiency of this vitamin!)
- L rhamnosus: acid-resistant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibiotic therapy, infants with allergies, vaginal infections, traveller’s diarrhoea, breaks down lactose
- L lactis: acid- & bile-resistant, breaks down lactose, IBD, diarrhoea
RESEARCH-BASED BENEFITS OF BIFIDOBACTERIUM SPECIES
- B animalis: improve glucose tolerance, decrease high blood glucose & excess insulin, reduce duration of cold & flu, anti-inflammatory, allergy & hay fever, eczema, protects against drug-induced GI damage, diarrhoea & constipation, colitis, IBS
- B lactis: increase tumoricidal activities, powerful anti-inflammatory, IBS, breaks down lactose, respiratory diseases, leaky gut, digestion, decrease toxic effects of gluten on intestinal lining, allergy, cholesterol
- B bifidum: GI ulcers & damaged gastric tissue caused by Helicobacter pylori, stress, anti-inflammatory, IBD, IBS, lower cholesterol, normalise blood glucose, improves immune function, allergy, eczema (according to a Spanish experiment on mice Bifidobacterium bifidum CECT 7366 has preventive and curative effect on stomach ulcers (caused by helicobacter pylori) and also reduced damage to gastric tissue caused by H. pylori infection)
- B breve: mood, skin, digestion, allergies, anti-inflammatory, eczema (especially in babies & children), immune system function, beneficial in asthma, helps combat obesity, indigestion, diarrhoea (especially in children)
- B infantis: found especially in infants, anti-inflammatory, IBS, IBD, diarrhoea, constipation & indigestion
- B longum: bile/acid/antibiotic-resistant, anxiety & depression, anti-inflammatory, IBD, neutralize gut toxins, chelate metal ions – especially copper, improved immune function
- B pseudolongum: increase colon mucus layer thickness, leaky gut, IBD
LACTOBACILLUS VS BIFIDOBACTERIUM GENERA
Both Bifidobacteria & Lactobacillus strains make Vitamin K2. In animal study, high doses of Vitamin K2 were found to prevent or reverse arterial calcification (by approximately 40%) and improve arterial elasticity after 6 weeks of supplementation (Daniels, Steven. Vitamin K may reverse artery hardening, suggests study. NutraIngredientsUSA.com. December, 2006.)
Lactobacillus & Bifidobacterium are two most extensively studied groups of probiotic bacteria
Both of these genus are Gram-positive (which just means that they have a thick cell wall), are part of the lactic acid-producing groups, and found to be safe as probiotic supplements.
Both can be effected by synthetic antibiotics
Lactobacillus & Bifidobacterium family are one of the first bacteria to colonize human gut at birth
Both groups colonise human gut early in infancy through your mother’s breast milk
Lactobacillus genus tolerate acid much better than Bifidobacterium (except B animalis) but it shouldn’t be the problem due to encapsulation and if probiotic supplement is ingested in the beginning of the meal and not in between them.
Both groups produce similar health benefits with some exceptions. For instance, Lactobacillus genus has been proved to be beneficial for treating UTI and with regards to Bifidobacterium there is no such evidence yet available.
FAECAL MICROBIOTA TRANSPLANTATION (FMT)
Believe it or not, but due to amazing probiotic healing properties scientists now use poo (because it contains probiotics) as a miracle medicine! It’s called Faecal Microbiota Transplantation, (also known as Poo Transplant or FMT) They take poo (rich in probiotic bacteria) from a healthy donor and transplant it to a patient who after taking antibiotics developed bacterial infection caused by antibiotic-resistant Clostridium difficile bacteria. Since antibiotics don’t work here they were looking for alternative treatment and found it. The miracle remedy is a poo! And it works so well that it cures the inflammation in just one single day!
Apart from treating Clostridium difficile colitis (where it is currently the best treatment available), it is also effective or very beneficial in ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and even allergies! FMT is now approved in America as a medicine and treatment only for antibiotic-resistant Clostridium difficile colitis (if it is resistant after 3 antibiotic treatments).
But, we don’t have to transplant poo in order to treat these conditions. We can get the same results by ingesting good quality live probiotics, and if we want the treatment to be even more effective we can open few capsules with live probiotics, mix them with water and transplant into colon using enema. The treatment will be more effective if before using probiotics a proper enema with only clean water is used to flush bacteria and toxins out of the colon.
Lactose, a sugar found in milk, requires a special enzyme in our body called lactase. Unfortunately, many individuals are deficient in this enzyme and as a result they can’t digest it and develop lactose intolerance with various unpleasant symptoms such as bloating, gas, indigestion, etc.
The signs of lactose intolerance typically occur within 2 hours after consuming milk-based products.
70-80% of the world’s population does not produce the lactase enzyme and is lactose intolerant. Highest rates are found among people of Asian and African origin.
Possible Signs of Lactose Intolerance: Bloating, flatulence or gas, indigestion, pain or cramps, diarrhoea, nausea
Complications of Lactose Intolerance: Cataract, malnutrition, osteoporosis, sleep problems, increased levels of stress
In order to effectively treat lactose intolerance while still enjoying dairy products you need to take care of your colon and increase probiotic bacteria dwelling there by taking good quality supplements which contain strains of probiotic bacteria that are able to generate enzymes to handle lactose from dairy. The following strains are have proved to be able to do the trick:
All of them are known to produce required enzymes and help relieve or eliminate symptoms of lactose intolerance allowing to digest milk and other dairy products. The more of these strains you add to your daily diet the better should be the results but keep in mind that they must be live and from reliable source as some time ago in America experts decided to test many popular probiotic supplements and yogurts and discovered that shocking 70% of them didn’t contain live bacteria!
“Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species can survive gastrointestinal transit and improve symptoms of lactose intolerance by increasing the activity of β-galactosidase.” (Almeida et al. 2012)
Those who are lactose intolerant usually are also vitamin K deficient, so it is important to take supplements with 100 to 400 mcg of vitamin K2 MK7 (from fermented natto) and add foods rich in vitamin K1 such as green leafy vegetables (especially raw spinach), scallions, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, and dried basil.
Key Probiotics to fight coronavirus: Lactobacillus gasseri, Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus.
Take good quality probiotic formulas as inflammations, weakness of the immune system and autoimmune diseases are linked to the deficiency of the probiotic bacteria in the gut. The weakness of our immune system, which is greatly influenced by the ratio between good and bad bacteria in the gut, is one of the key causes of acute and chronic infectious diseases, cancers, or 160 autoimmune conditions.
Probiotics that have been proved to inhibit coronavirus: Lactobacillus gasseri (seems to be the most important one), Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus. Other probiotics help fight coronavirus by boosting immunity: L. casei, B. bifidum, B. longum, L. paracasei, L. helveticus, L. johnsonii, L. brevis, L. lactis, L. rhamnosus, L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, L. delbrueckii, L. fermentum, Saccharomyces boulardii, B. longum, B. animalis.
“According to a research team at Ehwa Womans University Medical Center (South Korea), probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus gasseri extracted from fermented sea buckthorn berry, represses the activation of purine, an energy source required for the mutation of new coronavirus… The researchers, led by Professor Yoon Ha-na of the Urology Department, also discovered that sea buckthorn berry had abundant amounts of Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus rhamnosus, which have the same chemical binding site to the COVID-19 and affect the protein activity of AIDS… Also in China, a research team led by Professor Ruan Jishou from Nankai University in Tianjin recently discovered that COVID-19 in the human body mutated in a similar way to that of the Ebola and AIDS virus. According to the Chinese research team, the new coronavirus creates spike protein to survive within the human body… Professor Jeong Goo-bo of Gachon University Lee Gil Ya Cancer and Diabetes Institute, also said, “I believe L. gasseri, derived from plants, can be effective in preventing COVID-19 spread because it affects the activation of purine enzyme, the energy source for AIDS, hepatitis, Ebola, and COVID-19 virus.” (>)
Studies suggest that gut bacteria may play a powerful role in weight regulation. According to the current research data probiotics can help us lose belly fat and weight. We also have clear evidence that people with normal-bodyweight have different gut bacteria than overweight or obese individuals (>, >, >).
Body weight seems to be related to the healthy balance between two groups of bacteria, bacteroidetes and firmicutes (>, >). Research provides evidence that obese people had more firmicutes and fewer bacteroidetes, compared to individuals with normal body weight.
In addition, there are also some animal studies showing that when the gut bacteria from obese mice are transferred into guts of slim mice, the slim mice get fat (>).
It is also possible that certain types of beneficial bacteria (such as those from the Lactobacillus family) may inhibit the absorption of dietary fat and increase the amount of fat excreted from the body (>).
Probiotics promote normal body weight also by increasing levels of the protein ANGPTL4 which decreases fat storage (>).
They may even have a similar positive effect on our appetite and satiety as hormones such as serotonin or leptin as they help increase the satiety hormone GLP-1 thus reducing our appetite and the intake of calories. In addition, by elevating levels of this hormone probiotics help us burn more fat (>, >).
We know that obesity is linked to a condition called a systemic inflammation and that by improving gut health beneficial bacteria reduce systemic inflammation thus helping us to cope with obesity and other inflammation-related conditions (>, >).
Surprisingly, more recent studies have found conclusive proof that proper balance of bacteria in our gut may have more to do with our mood than any other contributing factor. Researcher found that the microbiota living within the intestines may positively influence our mood as it plays a large role in creating the various brain neurotransmitters and feel good hormones. Some specific strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium may optimize the production and function of important chemicals like GABA (gamma amino butyric acid), serotonin and dopamine involved in mood and required in the brain for healthy cognitive function and focus. In addition, a healthy bacterial balance in human gastro-intestinal tract is positively correlated with higher levels of amino acid tryptophan which is used by our body to make vital antidepressant and good mood factors such as serotonin and niacin (vitamin B3).
It means that deficiency of certain strains of probiotic bacteria in the colon may contribute to bad mood, anxiety, depression and other problems associated with mental health. In one study participants who took a probiotic supplement every day for thirty days felt happier and reported feeling less affected by stressful situations than those who didn’t take probiotics. Other studies also suggest that supplements with probiotic bacteria can help to cope with bad mood, depression and anxiety.
Key Causes of Low Mood
- Low Serotonin & Dopamine
- Low GABA, Progesterone & SAMe
- Low Noradrenaline (Norepinephrine)
- Deficiency of Tryptophan (and Niacin)
- Deficiency of Magnesium, B Vitamins, Zinc, Selenium, Iodine, Vitamin D
- Deficiency of Probiotic Bacteria
- Sedentary lifestyle (lack of exercise)
- Insufficient sunlight exposures
- Low blood glucose levels (hypoglycaemia)
- Diet high in sugar & other refined foods
- High levels of toxins & inflammation in the brain (arachidonic acid)
Deficiency of Probiotic Bacteria is one of the most important factors because lack of probiotics is linked to most of the other causes of depression and anxiety! And therefore, as soon as we improve bacterial balance in our GI tract we can notice benefits in the form of better mood and cognitive function. For this reason all the probiotics that can produce this benefit are called now Psychobiotics. It is hard to believe that by increasing the number of Psychobiotics (probiotic bacteria positively influencing our nervous system and brain) in the gut, we can improve our mood, better handle stress, and even treat anxiety or depression. But an explosion of research into the amazing world of the gut-brain link provides overwhelming evidence that it is true.
How these, made by probiotics neurotransmitters, get into the brain is not yet entirely clear, because the healthy blood brain barrier normally doesn’t allow anything to enter brain except micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), glucose (key fuel), butyrate, amino acids, some small peptides and lipid soluble substances. However, it is believed that those made by probiotics neurotransmitters can enter via pineal gland or hypothalamus rout where the blood brain barrier is more permeable.
There seems to be enough evidence that those neurotransmitters made by probiotics in the gut can influence brain via the vagus nerve which connects GI tract and colon with the brain.
For instance, it was shown that bifidobacteria in the colon can reduce anxiety in rodents by increasing GABA and serotonin in the colon, but this effect was reversed when the vagus nerve was removed.
We also know that deficiency of probiotic bacteria in the gut increase gut permeability leading to release of proinflamatory cytokines from the epithelial cells lining the colon and immune cells. These leads to inflammation including the brain which contributes to depression. Providing colon with live probiotics reduces gut permeability and release of cytokines decreasing inflammation in the brain and depression.
There are 3 Pathways Gut Microbiota Influence Brain:
- Neural (Vagus & Enteric Nervous System): Increased Tryptophan > Serotonin
- Endocrine: Modulation of Cortisol levels (stress hormone) – too much would contribute to anxiety and depression, deficiency will cause the same negative effect
- Immune: Altering levels of circulating cytokines that effect brain function
According to one of the most prestigious medical journals, British Journal of Psychiatry, “Neurotransmitters made in the gut cannot get into the brain (except through small regions that lack blood-brain barrier). However, nerve signals sent from the gut to the brain do affect mood through the stimulation of the vagus nerve, which can be an effective treatment for chronic depression that has failed to respond to other treatments.”
The researchers who conducted that study argue that the increase in GABA levels in the brain was achieved through the vagus nerve because when this nerve was surgically removed the effect vanished. This conclusion is another proof of the gut-brain link and that certain GABA-manufacturing probiotic bacterial strains somehow manage to transfer this precious neurotransmitter to the brain via the vagus nerve!!! It is thought that when neurotransmitters are made by probiotics in the gut, these neurotransmitters, such as GABA or Serotonin, may trigger cells found in the gut’s lining to release certain molecules that send signals to the brain, thus affecting its function and emotions.
The gut can influence the brain just as the brain can influence the gut. For instance, I remember a very interesting case of certain woman back in Poland who suffered from severe pains in the lower abdomen. One of the X-rays showed that due to emotional stress her colon shrunk to the size of a threat. The truth is that also the gut can influence our brain and mental health via many pathways of which the vagus nerve seems to be the main one.
The enteric nervous system, which governs the digestive system and gut, is even known as a “second brain” because it has its own reflexes, independent of the brain or spinal cord.
Specific strains of beneficial bacteria living within the intestines with the help of excellent probiotic supplements such as MoodProbio play important role in creating various brain neurotransmitters and chemicals such as GABA, 5-HT (Serotonin), B vitamins, Peptide YY or Cytokines that have a significant effect on mood.
On the other hand, Dysbiosis (lack of these probiotics) will therefore contribute to anxiety, depression, irritability and poor cognition. On the other hand, providing gut with these probiotics will have positive effect on mood.
In the book “Psychobiotics Revolution” a team of experts wroth the following very interesting statement:
“It cannot be a coincidence that the gut bacteria produce the same neurotransmitters that influence mood in our brains. They include serotonin, dopamine, GABA and acetylcholine.
Bifidobacteria, a main genus in the gut, can also release butyrate which nourishes colonic epithelial cells, suppresses inflammation, reduces depression and stimulates ‘brain derived neurotrophic factor’ (BDNF), the brain’s growth hormone which aids memory and learning. Some lactobacillus species can even manipulate opioid and cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Finally both bifidobacteria and lactobacilli species produce B vitamins, a shortage of which may lead to depression.”
STUDY 1: 22 healthy participants were given a capsule with 1 billion B. longum (1714 strain) for one month and a placebo for another month (without knowing whether it was placebo or probiotic). RESULT: Participants receiving Probiotic had lower daily stress & cortisol levels, improved memory, and were less anxious compared to those on placebo. (Dinan et al., 2015)
STUDY 2: 55 volunteers took either the two probiotic strains L. acidophilus Rosell-52& B. longum Rosell-175, or a placebo, every day for 30 days. RESULT: The group on probiotics showed significant improvement in psychological distress, depression, anger-hostility and anxiety, and improved sleep (in elderly subjects). (Messaoudi et al., 2011).
STUDY 3: 10 participants with depression, anhedonia & sleep problems took L. acidophilus Rosell-52 & B. longum Rosell-175 or placebo. RESULT: Participants supplemented with probiotics showed significant improvement in their symptoms, including improved sleep quality, improved mood, and the ability to feel pleasure. (Wallace et al., 2017)
STUDY 4: In 2015 researchers fed mice with 1 x 109 CFU of Lactobacillus rhamnosus per day for 4 weeks to examine the influence of this probiotic on brain levels of 12 different neurometabolites including GABA, glutathione, inositol, alanine, aspartate, glycine, taurine, creatine, choline, glutamate with glutamine, and N-acetyl aspartate. The levels were tested every week and detected by magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) (>). RESULT: And, law and behold, according to the results, GABA was again significantly elevated (by 25%), although this improvement was only seen after 4 weeks. Delayed increase was also detected for glutamate (about 10%), which was still elevated 4 weeks after treatment had ceased. Levels of N-acetyl aspartate was raised by 37% at 2 weeks, but it persisted only to the end of treatment. It is interesting that the delay in the effectiveness of this treatment was similar to that of antidepressant medication.
POSSIBLE BENEFITS OF POBIOTICS ON MOOD AND BRAIN FUNCTION BASED ON RESEARCH
- L helveticus is beneficial for the treatment of cognitive decline & anxiety
- L helveticus reduces levels of corticosterone (stress hormone)
- L casei increases tryptophan, serotonin, dopamine & Niacin (B3) levels
- L casei reduced anxiety and improved mood
- L plantarum increases levels of dopamine and serotonin
- L helveticus & B longum reduced psychological distress & anxiety
- B infantis improves tryptophan metabolism
- L acidophilus & B longum significantly improved depression & anger
- L acidophilus & B longum have therapeutic role in treatment of anxiety & mood disorders
- L rhamnosus, L brevis & Bifidobacterium are very effective in making GABA (from monosodium glutamate) and reducing sugar cravings (by increasing GABA)
- L rhamnosus decreased stress-induced anxiety & improved GABA receptor expression
- Lactobacillus & Bifidobacterium strains produce B vitamins and increase dopamine
- Lactobacillus & Bifidobacterium reduced sad mood & aggressive feelings
- L reuteri is most effective in synthesising cobalamin (vitamin B12)
- B longum imposes an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effect via the vagus nerve
Read also: Psychobiotics (Probiotics) & Mood >
INFANTS & PROBIOTICS
It is believed that healthy human organism should contain more than 85% of beneficial bacteria and less than 15% of pathogenic (“bad”) bacteria. Unfortunately, due to unhealthy lifestyle, refined (low in fibre diet) diet, misuse of antibiotics and medication, stimulants, and other factors the gastro-intestinal tract of many pregnant women is often very low in beneficial probiotic bacteria. As a result, when a baby is born it is burdened with the similar bad ratio between good and bad bacteria which, as many believe, may contribute to constipation, diarrhoea, weak immune system, eczema, bloating, allergies, or colic. Although it is true that these problems may be associated with other common causes such as gluten or lactose intolerance or allergies yet adding a good quality probiotic bacteria to baby’s or child’s diet often turned out to be very helpful according to the numerous reports of mothers who decided to try this method.
For the baby, gut is also the first line of defence in terms of immunity. Without a well-functioning gastro-intestinal tract, infants and children can’t get the proper nourishment to grow or to defend themselves against pathogens. Therefore, developing and maintaining a healthy and loaded with beneficial strains of bacteria colon is crucial to their overall health.
Lactobacillus Reuteri has been known to produce a broad spectrum anti-Microbial compound – Reuterin, which help modulate immune responses via the gut’s mucosal immune system, aiding in the production of antibodies and keeping pathogens under control. It acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, reducing C-reactive protein (CRP) levels and pro-inflammatory cytokines. It may help to avert allergies by training baby’s immune system to distinguish between pathogens and non-harmful antigens and respond appropriately. This superb formula will also aid indigestion and absorption of carbohydrates (starches, fibre and sugars). In addition, the Lactobacillus Reuteri strain is believed to be helpful in enhancing the mucosal barrier and promoting microbial diversity in the gut.
Colic has been a puzzling idiopathic condition for centuries, and babies often suffer for weeks or even months as a result of this common problem. However, the much studied Lactobacillus Reuteri strains, has shown the ability to help and prevent the digestive discomfort associated with colic in new born infants. Research even suggests that it may have greater efficacy than simethicone, which for years has been the traditional choice to treat colic.
Running or any intense exercise exacerbates gut dysfunction, because blood is diverted away from digestive organs, leading to their hypoxia (depriving them of oxygen). This hypoxia in the gut damages the gut lining, causing discomfort and increasing gut permeability (letting toxins from the gut enter the bloodstream). Such leakage of toxins into the bloodstream increases temperature, also in those who exercise in hot conditions, thus reducing physical performance. Probiotics, however, improve gut function and seal the gut lining preventing damage and leakage of toxins. Therefore, taking probiotics should improve exercise performance in the heat. (>)
In a study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology (>) 10 runners completed two run-to-exhaustion tests under hot conditions (30 C / 86 F, 40% humidity). Before each test, they took a a probiotic supplement multi-strain probiotic with 45 billion CFU of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Streptococcus strains for one month. According to the results, 8 of the 10 subjects were able to run faster on probiotics. The average improvement was from 33:00 to 37:44, which is about a 14% improvement. That size of improvement in a constant-pace time-to-exhaustion test generally corresponds to about a 1% improvement in a race or time trial, which is definitely significant. (>)
A study found that probiotics taken with or shortly after meals survived in much higher numbers than those taken 30 minutes after meals (30 minutes after meals, stomach starts becoming more acidic again). The study also noted that probiotics taken with food containing healthy fats had the greatest survival rates.
Therefore, Probiotics should be taken in the beginning of meals, when stomach’s pH rises to 4 (much less acidic than when it is empty) and because friendly bacteria need food to survive and multiply.
Do not take Probiotics first thing in the morning on an empty stomach when pH is around 2 (super-acidic) and there is no food & water, Probiotics need to survive and grow.
Taking Probiotics between meals requires plenty of water (two glasses) to dilute stomach acid.
Probiotics should be taken with healthy fats as they increase their chances to survive.
Take Probiotics with unrefined plant foods as they are more alkaline (do not increase stomach acid) and are high in fibre (prebiotic) which nourishes friendly bacteria. Or, take them with Chlorella, which has demonstrated its ability to triple the growth of probiotic bacteria.
Avoid taking Probiotics with antibiotics, strong alcohol, coffee, and highly acidic foods.
CAN PROBIOTICS BE TAKEN WHEN ON ANTIBIOTICS?
There are at least 2 strains that can be taken during antibiotic treatment. The first one is Saccharomyces boulardii (found in Sacardi made by HealthAid which contains 5 billion live microorganisms of Saccharomyces boulardii) which has been proven to be antibiotic resistant. It means it can be used during antibiotic treatment.
Another antibiotic resistant strain is Bifidobacterium longum found, for instance, in UltraProbio. Unfortunately, other strains in this formula are not resistant to antibiotics, but if taken 2 hours after antibiotic they should mostly survive too.
Therefore, to prevent damage caused by antibiotics, taking two capsules daily of Sacardi and one capsule of UltraProbio (at least 2 hours after antibiotic) seems to be a very good idea.
PROBIOTICS AND HEAT
Many probiotic supplements are shelf-stable, no longer requiring refrigeration. However, they will always last longer in the refrigerator.
Although exposure to high temperatures for one or more days may reduce the potency of probiotics (only some strains), they are still effective and safe to take. After we swallow probiotics, they are going into our intestines and must cope with very warm body temperatures, anyway. If it is a high-quality probiotic, it will be able to withstand the heat of the body. Therefore, the same probiotics should withstand similar high temperatures outside of the body.
An extreme heat will definitely kill some of the bacteria and make the probiotics less potent. However, there is some evidence that even dead (inactive) probiotics may have various health benefits (read more below).
KILLED (INACTIVE) PROBIOTICS ARE ALSO BENEFICIAL!
There is some evidence that even dead (inactive) probiotics may have various health benefits:
At the 2018 International Scientific Association of Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) meeting in Singapore, two renowned speakers reported unpublished research documenting the health benefits of dead bacteria. Prof. Hill showed that an inactivated Lactobacillus strain reduced anxious behaviour, reduced cortisol levels, and impacted the microbiome in a mouse model. Prof. Patrice Cani showed that heat-killed Akkermansia muciniphila were sufficient to ameliorate obesity and diabetes in mice.
This interesting fact about effectiveness of dead probiotics was already known much earlier as according to 2004 study, “Probiotics aid disorders such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), allergies and even some forms of cancer, contain immune system-stimulating DNA which makes them just as effective when inactivated, as when consumed as live microorganisms.” (>)
HOW TO MAKE PROBIOTICS MORE EFFECTIVE?
- Avoid taking Probiotics with antibiotics, strong alcohol, coffee, and highly acidic foods (including meat)
- Make sure your diet is high in dietary Fibre (whole grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, seeds, etc.) or supplemental Prebiotics (Chlorella, Spirulina, Psyllium Husk, Inulin, GOS, FOS, etc.) as they are more alkaline (do not increase stomach acid) and are high in fibre (prebiotic) which nourishes friendly bacteria
- Avoid alcohol and other stimulants
- Reduce consumption of sugar, art. sweeteners (chlorine) and unhealthy fats
- Learn to control Stress as it affects bacterial balance in the gut. Take Ashwagandha, magnesium supplements and good multivitamin (high in B vitamins).
- Sleep 7-8 hours & exercise or walk every day
- Avoid tap water with chlorine, fluoride, etc. Use carbon water filters or drink distilled water.
- Store Probiotics in a fridge or a cool dry place
REFERENCES & SOURCES
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