120 Billion Probiotic Bacteria with 12 strains.
Probiotic bacteria favorably alter the intestinal microflora balance, inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, promote good digestion, boost immune function, and increase resistance to infection.1-2 People with flourishing intestinal colonies of beneficial bacteria are better equipped to fight the growth of disease-causing bacteria.3 4 Lactobacilli and bifidobacteria maintain a healthy balance of intestinal flora by producing organic compounds—such as lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and acetic acid—that increase the acidity of the intestine and inhibit the reproduction of many harmful bacteria.5 6 Probiotic bacteria also produce substances called bacteriocins, which act as natural antibiotics to kill undesirable microorganisms.7 Beneficial bacteria present in fermented dairy foods—namely live culture yogurt—have been used as a folk remedy for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Yogurt is the traditional source of beneficial bacteria. However, different brands of yogurt can vary greatly in their bacteria strain and potency. Some (particularly frozen) yogurts do not contain any live bacteria. Supplements in powder, liquid extract, capsule, or tablet form containing beneficial bacteria are other sources of probiotics.
A-Lactobacillus organisms are normal inhabitants of the human intestine and vagina. They are the main ones that produce lactic acid in the digestive tract, which is important for overall health. Some nutritional benefits gained from lactic acid include an improved nutritional value of food, control of intestinal infections, improved digestion of lactose, control of some types of cancer, and control of serum cholesterol levels.
• L. acidophilus is the most commonly known probiotic bacterium. It is found primarily in the small intestine where it produces natural antibiotics called “lactocidin” and “acidophilin”. These increase immune resistance against such harmful bacteria and fungi as Candida albicans, Salmonella, E. coli, and Staphylococcus aureus.*
L. acidophilus implants itself on the intestinal walls, as well as on the lining of the vagina, cervix, and urethra, thereby preventing other organisms from multiplying to the extent that they can cause infections. For years, it was assumed that it was the most beneficial form of the “good” bacteria; but recent research has revealed that L. rhamnosus may be just as important.*
L. acidophilus helps control intestinal infections, thus reducing the potential of diarrhea and other infections or diseases. It also inhibits some types of cancer and helps control serum cholesterol levels. However, reaching the intestines is the problem because the L. acidophilus found in most commercial yogurts cannot live with stomach acids and bile.*
• L. bulgaricus is an important bacterium used in fermenting yogurt. It helps produce lactic acid, thereby providing a good environment for other beneficial bacteria to grow, especially Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium. It was the first organism to be implicated in providing benefits to human health and so named after its discoverer, a Bulgarian scientist, when he isolated it from yoghurt cultures in 1908.
L. bulgaricus is considered to be a transient microorganism. This means that it does not implant itself in the intestinal tract, but roams throughout providing an important protective role. Studies indicate that certain strains of L. bulgaricus improve the digestion of milk, and stimulates the production of “interferon” and “tumor necrosis factor”, regulators of the immune system. L. bulgaricus assists in the metabolism of lipids (fats) and may help control cholesterol levels.* It also produces natural antibiotic substances and helps reduce the proliferation of less desirable microorganisms.*
• L. caseii is closely related to L. acidophilus and L. rhamnosus. It secretes a substance called “peptidoglycan”, which supports the natural defences of the body and stimulates immune responses in the intestinal tract. L. casei has demonstrated effectiveness in increasing circulating IgA (immunoglobulin A) in infants infected with rotavirus and has shortened the duration of associated diarrheal episodes.*
As with many of the Lactobacillus strains, this one also has some of the same immune-enhancing effects provided through the production of “bacteriocins”, compounds that inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria in the small intestine. In a 2003 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging, fermented milk containing the probiotic L. casei had a positive effect on lessening winter infections in the elderly. It is a highly prolific organism and has strong resistance to digestive enzymes.*
• L. helveticus is often used in making Swiss-type cheeses to enhance flavour. It is also added specifically to certain fermented milks. The surprising thing about this bacterium is in the studies conducted on post-menopausal women by the University of Helsinki (2004), L. helveticus proved to have significant effects on bone density and in preventing trabecular bone loss when compared to other milk products that did not contain the organism. In addition, by adding L. helveticus, the results proved to increase bone formation of osteoblasts (bone cells), as well as serum calcium concentrations. The conclusion was that L. helveticus produces superior active components not found elsewhere. In a separate study by the same university, the bacterium also demonstrated some effect on hypertension by lowering blood pressure somewhat.*
• L. paracasei is both acid and bile resistant, meaning it survives the journey through the gastrointestinal tract to lodge in the intestines. Recent research indicates that it is effective in the prevention and treatment of certain types of diarrhea, as well as irritable bowel syndrome. In addition, it has the ability to alter the activity of the intestinal micro flora, modulate the immune system.*
Studies have also been done as to its effects on the intestinal microflora of the elderly. When fermented milk products containing L. paracasei were consumed twice daily, dramatic reductions in the occurrences of Clostridium difficile and Helicobacter pylori were noticed in the elderly. In addition, it was also noticed that there was an increase in the numbers of other Lactobacillus strains.*
In other studies from the University of Nebraska, it was found that the transport of L. paracasei was reduced significantly with the use of glucose, fructose, and sucrose, but that other mono-, di-, and trisaccharides did not affect it nearly as much.
• L. plantarum has been studied for the treatment of recurrent Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea and for Candida yeast infections. A particular strain called “299v”, derived from sour dough and used to ferment sauerkraut and salami, has demonstrated that it can improve the recovery of patients with enteric bacterial infections. The adherence of this bacterium reinforces the barrier function of the intestinal mucosa, thus preventing the attachment of the pathogenic bacteria.*
L. plantarum has many significant uses including:
o Preserving key nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants
o Manufacturing vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, vitamins A and K, and short chain of fatty acids
o Helping to produce “lactolin”, a natural antibiotic
o Contributing to the destruction of moulds, viruses, and parasites
o Eradicating such pathogens as Staphylococcus aureus from fermented food
o Helping to maintain healthy cholesterol and triglycerine levels
o Increasing the number of immune system cells
o Providing protection from such environmental toxins as pesticides and pollutants
o Reducing toxic waste at the cellular level
o Stimulating the repair mechanism of cells
o Synthesizing the anti-viral amino acid, L-lysine
o Producing glycolytic enzymes which degrade cyanogenic glycosides
o Eliminating toxic components from food including nitrates
• L. rhamnosus is closely related to L. caseii and L. acidophilus but more transient. It is a healthier species of “good bacteria” and easily colonizes in the lining of the intestines and in the vaginal tract. It is very prolific and has a high tolerance for bile salts and digestive enzymes, meaning it survives the digestive process.*
Certain strains of this organism have been shown to stimulate an immune response against foreign intestinal organisms, as well as preventing rotoviral or Clostridium difficile-induced diarrhea. Some of its other abilities include:
o Relieves hypersensitivity reactions and intestinal inflamation in individuals with exzema and food allergies, especially those caused by a “leaky gut” condition
o Stabilizes over a wide range of temperatures and pH levels
o Inhibits the growth of bad bacteria, especially Streptococci and Clostridia
o Enhances the immune system
o Demonstrates anti-tumor activity
o Assists those with lactose intolerance by releasing the lactase enzyme in the stomach and small intestine that breaks down the lactose molecule
o Demonstrates significant health benefits, especially in infants and the elderly
o Produces the desirable lactic acid
• L. salivarius is most abundant in the mouth and gums (hence its scientific name), but it is also flourishes in the lining of the small intestine. It is important in helping to normalize the flora of the gut, especially in those with chronic bowel conditions. In one study printed in the American Journal of Gastroenterology (1998), only L. salivarius, and not L. casei or L. acidophilus, was able to produce high amounts of lactic acid and completely inhibited the growth of H. pylori in a mixed culture.*
L. salivarius appears to help digest protein and may assist in the breakdown of any incompletely digested proteins and their undesirable by-products left in the gut which can cause putrefication. L. salivarius is classified as a facultative bacterium, which means that it can survive and grow in both anaerobic (without oxygen) and aerobic (with oxygen) environments, although its main effects take place in anaerobic conditions. This is a decided advantage over the well-known Lactobacillus acidophilus, which has little or no growth in an aerobic environment. L. salivarius is a very resilient bacterium which doubles its population every twenty minutes.
B- Bacillus strains are found in soil, manure, and plant matter. Most species are harmless; but others are not only harmful, but can be deadly. Some strains are used to make antibiotics while others are used as insecticides. The two that are considered to be probiotics and, therefore, beneficial, are listed below.
B. bifidum (also known as Bacillus bifidus, Bacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus bifidus, and Lactobacillus parabifidus) resides mainly in the lining of the large intestine and the vaginal tract.*
Strains of this species have been used in the production of certain fermented foods and in therapeutic preparations for the treatment of the following: digestive disorders in infants, enterocolitis, constipation, cirrhosis of the liver, imbalance of intestinal flora following antibiotic therapy, and for promotion of intestinal peristalsis.*
In hospitalized children, it has been shown that supplementation of infant formula milk with Bifidobacterium bifidum and Streptococcus thermophilus reduced rotavirus shedding and episodes of diarrhea.*
B. bifidum is the most beneficial form of lactic acid and acetic acid production. It has the ability to:
o Digest lactose
o Ferment indigestible fibers, thereby producing more energy
o Synthesize some vitamins, especially several of the B vitamins
o Assist in mineral absorption, especially iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc
o Inhibit the growth of Salmonella, Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans, Campylobacter jejuni, Listeria, Shigella, E. coli and Clostridium by crowding them out and eating the nutrients they need
o Fight bad bacteria by lowering the intestinal pH through its production of fatty acids, lactic acid, and acetic acid
o Absorb large quantities of ferrous ions, thereby inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria that use it for food
o Help decompose nitrosamines (cancer-causing substances) and suppress the production of nitrosamines in the intestines
o Help lower serum cholesterol
• B. infantis is also known as B. lactentis, B. liberorum, and Actinomyces parabifidus. B. infantis is found mainly in the large intestines of infants (and thus its scientific name), but it can also be found in adults and in the vaginal tract of women. This bacterium is important because it has proven to stimulate the production of such immune agents as cytokines. Like other bifidobacteria species, this one can produce acids that may retard the colonization of the colon by certain foreign or harmful bacteria including Clostridia, Salmonella, and Shigella.*
• B. lactis (Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis) is a strain of friendly bacteria known to stimulate the immune response. According to researchers in New Zealand, B. lactis proved to be an effective means of enhancing cellular immunity in the elderly. Those who consumed fermented products containing this bacterium showed a significant increase in the proportions of total, helper, and activated T lymphocytes, as well as natural killer cells. In addition, their immune cells’ ability to phagocytize (engulf and destroy) invaders and the tumor cell killing ability of their natural killer cells was also increased. The greatest improvements in immunity were found in those subjects who previously had poor immune responses before receiving B. lactis.*
This strain appears to resist acid digestion and the action of bile salts, thus surviving intestinal transit to reach the colon in significant numbers. B. lactis also helps to relieve constipation and prevents diarrhea, especially in children. It also has the ability to decrease chronic inflammation of the sigmoid colon. In addition, its anti-microbial properties decrease the effect of negative bacteria, especially Clostridium.*
• B. longum is found in high concentrations in the large intestine. It helps prevent the colonization of invading pathogenic bacteria by attaching to the intestinal wall and crowding out unfriendly bacteria and yeasts. Along with other microorganisms, it produces lactic and acetic acids that lower the intestinal pH, which further inhibits undesirable bacteria.*
In studies, B. longum was found to reduce the frequency of such gastrointestinal disorders as diarrhea and nausea during antibiotic use and can improve the nutritional value of foods. Some strains have the ability to produce B vitamins, as well as digestive, casein phosphatase, and lysozyme enzymes. It also increases calcium absorption. B. longum has a strong antitumor activity by regulating markers and reducing incidence of colon tumors.*
C- Streptococcus strains are mostly noted pathogens causing illnesses that range from sore throats to rheumatic fever. However, there is one beneficial strain which is found in cultured milk products.
• S. thermophilus, in combination with L. bulgaricus, is used commercially to produce yogurt. This organism is known to be efficient in breaking down lactose, a desirable trait for those who are lactose-intolerant. S. thermophilus is found in fermented milk products, especially in the production of yogurt. S. salivarus subspecies thermophilus type 1131 is another probiotic strain.
• S. thermophilus is a gram-positive facultative anaerobe; cytochrome-, oxidase- and catalase-negative; nonmotile, non-spore forming and homofermentative; an alpha-hemolytic species of the viridans group; and, classified as a lactic acid bacteria.
• S. thermophilus is known to destroy such pathogens as Pseudomonas, E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, and Shigella. This activity is likely because of its ability to produce “methanol acetone”, a potent anti-pathogenic agent. In addition, it stimulates the production of “cytokine” which are involved with the immune system.*
Other research suggests that S. thermophilus can improve the nutritional value of foods by making micronutrients available to the host. In hospitalized children, it has been shown that supplementation of infant formula milk with Bifidobacterium bifidum and Streptococcus thermophilus reduced rotavirus shedding and episodes of diarrhea.
D- Lactococcus strains are lactic acid producers and commonly used to sour milk. They are gram-positive facultative anaerobes. Several strains are being used or are being developed as protiotics.
• L. lactis (formerly known as Streptococcus lactis) has the ability to synthesize both folate and riboflavin, two important B vitamins. It is one of the most important microorganisms used in the dairy industry, particularly in cheese making, since it produces copious amounts of lactic acid. Scientists are now experiementing with it by creating a genetically modified version which secretes “interleukin 10”. This is expected to provide a therapeutic approach for inflammatory bowel disease.* However, the release of any genetically modified organism always raises many safety concerns.*
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