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Probiotics - Our Friendly Bacteria

old message Probiotics - Our Friendly Bacteria Darrell Miller 06/16/05


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Date: June 16, 2005 10:51 AM
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Subject: Probiotics - Our Friendly Bacteria

Probiotics Our Friendly Bacteria

An estimated 10 quadrillion bacteria make their home in the average digestive system. Fortunately, less than one percent of the 400 different species found in the intestine are potentially harmful. The majority of intestinal flora are friendly bacteria, otherwise known as probiotics. These probiotic bacteria support good health by limiting the growth of harmful bacteria, promoting good digestion and increasing resistance to infection.*1

Probiotic bacteria are completely non-toxic. In fact, friendly bacteria have been used safely and effectively for more than 8,000 years, proving their value to human health.*2  Most often, probiotics have been consumed as part of  cultured foods, such as acidophilus milk, yogurt, soy tempeh, and idli (cultured wheat). The friendly bacteria in these foods, specifically Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, and Bifidobacterium bifidum, multiply in the warm, moist environment of the human body by feeding on the carbohydrates and protein in the digestive tract, then establish colonies along the intestinal wall.

Beneficial Roles of Probiotics

Lactobacillus acidophilus and other friendly bacteria play many important roles in maintaining good health.* According to experts, regular consumption of probiotics is the best way to maintain healthy intestinal flora.*3, 4 Lactobacilli species do not survive very long in the colon, so bacteria colonies need to be routinely replenished.*

Healthy digestion:

In addition to producing numerous vitamins, probiotics support healthy digestion.*  Part of the reason fermented foods are healthful is that some of the proteins, fats and carbohydrates are partially digested by the bacteria, which increases overall digestibility and nutritional value of the food.*5, 6

Lactose intolerant individuals may gain even more benefits from probiotics. Lactobacilli bacteria ferment as much as half of the lactose in milk—the part of milk that results in the symptoms of bloating, cramps and gas in lactose intolerant individuals—by converting it to lactic acid. Consequently, people with lactose intolerance report fewer digestive problems with cultured dairy foods compared to fresh milk.*5, 7

The nutritional profile of foods is improved after being cultured with probiotics. Levels of several B vitamins, including vitamins B1, B2, B6 and B12, niacin, folic acid and pantothenic acid are higher in fermented foods, such as yogurt, cheese, kefir and buttermilk.*5  Fermentation also boosts the digestibility of soy foods.*8

Inhibiting bacterial growth:

Probiotics act as natural antibiotics, slowing the growth of harmful bacteria.*5, 6 These friendly bacteria produce substances, including lactic acid, acetic acid, benzoic acid, hydrogen peroxide and natural antibiotics, which limit the reproduction of certain disease-causing bacteria.*9

Another way that probiotic bacteria maintain a healthy digestive tract is by competing with harmful bacteria in the intestine. When the intestine is full of large colonies of beneficial bacteria, disease-causing bacteria are simply not able to multiply into harmful numbers because there are no available attachment sites on the intestinal wall.* This is one of the ways L. acidophilus inhibits the growth of Candida albicans, coliform (e. coli) bacteria and salmonella.*3, 4, 10, 11

Diarrhea can have many causes, but it always has the same result for the bacteria living in the intestine—it flushes them out, leaving the body vulnerable to the growth of opportunistic bacteria. It is important to replenish the body with probiotics during and after a bout of diarrhea.* Probiotic bacteria can also help keep the colon healthy when traveling.*4

Lactobacilli are one of the primary bacteria found in normal vaginal flora, and their presence is believed to inhibit the overgrowth of harmful bacteria, such as Candida. Lactobacillus acidophilus cultures are a popular folk remedy for vaginal health.*4, 10

Recolonization After Antibiotic Use:

Antibiotics, given to treat bacterial infections, ironically can contribute to unhealthy bacteria growth. Antibiotics destroy bacteria, the good along with the bad, leaving the intestine without its normal, healthful flora. In this compromised state, disease-causing bacteria can multiply unchecked by friendly bacteria.*12 When ingested during and following antibiotic usage, L. acidophilus rapidly restores normal flora, shortening the time that undesirable organisms remain in the gut.*3, 12 Bifidobacterium bifidum can also help normalize the intestinal flora after using antibiotics.*10  

Producing the Best Probiotics

Fermenting foods with lactobacilli has been a time-honored method for both preserving and enhancing foods.  Before refrigeration, fermentation was a valuable way to preserve food safety, and it remains in common usage today.

Nature’s Life uses the same basic principles developed and perfected by prehistoric nomadic peoples to produce Lactobacillus acidophilus products; with the exception that we use modern, high-volume equipment. These improvements, along with trained personnel, scientific methods and quality assurance practices, ensures that every batch meets our high standards of quality.

Our lactobacilli are cultured on nutrient-dense food concentrates, such as soy protein, green peas or non-fat milk. We add natural apple juice, pasteurized clover honey, strawberries, carrot juice or maltodextrin for flavor and to provide carbohydrates for the micro-organisms, plus we use only pasteurized water.

Our growth medium has a broad range of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, essential fatty acids, organic acids and naturally occurring plant phytonutrients such as flavonoids and carotenoids with beneficial antioxidant properties. The temperature and moisture are carefully controlled during the several days needed for the bacteria to multiply to peak potency.

At the peak of potency, Nature’s Life Liquid Acidophilus culture is poured directly into sanitized 16 oz. glass bottles and immediately refrigerated at 36°F to maintain peak potency. These liquid products are the most bioactive of all forms of acidophilus because they are dormant, rather than frozen.

For our freeze-dried powders and capsules, the warm liquid culture is immediately poured into containers, sealed and refrigerated. After cooling, the liquid is poured into trays and instantly freeze-dried. The frozen lactobacillus is then processed through a vacuum freezer to lower the moisture level to an absolute minimum. This freeze-dried product is packaged as either powder or capsules. When swallowed, the microorganisms will rehydrate and begin colonizing the gastrointestinal tract with friendly bacteria.

Nature’s Life acidophilus is not filtered, centrifuged or otherwise concentrated or separated from its growth medium to artificially obtain higher concentrations of bacteria per gram or capsule. Centrifuging may damage the lactobacillus by altering the natural clumping, chaining and branching of bacteria cells.*

Nature’s Life probiotic products retain all the benefits of the nutrient-rich growth medium. All the valuable by-products of the bacteria’s metabolism remain in the final product, including B-vitamins, enzymes, organic  acids, antibodies and even naturally occurring antibiotics. The conclusion of experts is that products which are centrifuged or filtered are incomplete.13 14

Quality You Can Trust

Nature’s Life invests significant resources in perfecting the production of high quality Lactobacillus acidophilus cultures. You benefit from our knowledge and experience every time you choose our supplements.

Nature’s Life lactobacillus cultures are manufactured with rigorous specifications using state-of-the-art equipment. All equipment and containers are sanitized to ensure that no contaminants or unfriendly pathogenic bacteria corrupt the quality of the L. acidophilus. The large capacity fermentation tanks and freeze dryers maintain consistency in each batch.

Nature’s Life Lactobacillus acidophilus meets or exceeds all standards developed by industry associations and government regulations. These standards, established to determine the quality of the finished product, are:

  • Identification of each species based on approved microbiology methods.

  • Confirmation of bacteria potency counts based on standardized testing methods.

  • The use of Good Manufacturing Practices to ensure each batch of product is consistently produced to standards.

  • Potency claims are made on the front panel and certified to be viable through a date printed on the side panel.

All of Nature’s Life Lactobacillus acidophilus products meet the acid test for effectiveness:

  • Enough bacteria survive the high acidity of the stomach and retain their viability and effectiveness.

  • The organisms multiply rapidly in the intestine providing all the benefits of these friendly bacteria.

  • The bacteria effectively inhibit the growth of undesirable bacteria.

 

Using Nature’s Life Probiotics

Nature’s Life probiotics, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. bulgaricus and Bifidobacterium bifidum, can survive in the stomach for at least an hour.*15 Nature’s Life recommends taking probiotics either on an empty stomach or with food, however the presence of food can help the organisms stay alive longer.16

 Liquid acidophilus should be treated as a perishable product, since it contains live, active organisms. Like yogurt or milk, acidophilus should be refrigerated and used within a short period of time. Contact Nature’s Life for a recipe on how to make your own soy-based, milk-free yogurt.

References:

  1. Roberfroid MB, Bornet F, Bouley C, et al: Colonic microflora: Nutrition and Health.

  2. Rosell, J.M, Can Med Assoc J, 1932; 26:341.

  3. Alm, L. The effect of Lactobacillus acidophilus administration upon the survival of Salmonella in randomly selected human carriers. Prog Food Nutr Sci, 1983; 7:13-17.

  4. Hilton, E., et al. Ingestion of yogurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus as prophylaxis for candidal vaginitis. Ann Int Med 1992;116:353-7.

  5. Friend, B.A. et al. Nutritional and therapeutic aspects of Lactobacilli. J of Appl Nutr, 1984; 36(2):125-153.

  6. Fernandes, C.F., et al. Therapeutic role of dietary Lactobacilli and Lactobacillus fermented dairy products. Fed of Eur Microbiol Rev, 1987; 46:343-356.

  7. Gorbach SL: Lactic acid bacteria and human health. Ann Med 1990;22:37-41.

  8. Hutchins AM, Slavin JL, and Lampe JW: Urinary isoflavonoid phytoestrogen and lignan excretion after consumption of fermented and unfermented soy products. J Am Diet Assoc 1995;95:545-551.

  9. Shahani, K.M., et al. Natural antibiotic activity of Lactobacillus acidophilus and bulgaricus, Cult Dairy Prod J, 1976; 11(4):14-7.

  10. Elmer GW, Surawicz CM, and McFarland LV: Biotherapeutic agents. A neglected modality for the treatment and prevention of selected intestinal and vaginal infections. (review) JAMA 1996;275(11):870-876.

  11. Prajapati, J., et al. Nutritional and therapeutic benefits of a blended spray-dried acidophilus preparation. Cult Dairy Prod J, 1986; 21(2):16-21.

  12. Fernandes, C.F., Shanhani, K.M., Amer, M.A., Control of diarrhea by Lactobacilli, J Appl Nutr, 1988; 40(1):32-43.

  13. Hansen, R., New starter cultures with 100-200 billion cells, North European Dairy J, 1980; 3:62:9.

  14. Klaenhammer, T.R., Microbiological considerations in selection and preparation of Lactobacillus strains for use as dietary adjuncts, J Dairy Sci, 1982; 65:1339-49.

  15. Kurmann, J.A., Rasic, J.L., The health potential of products containing bifidobacteria. Chapter 6 in: Properties of Fermented Milks, Elsevier Science Publishers, Barking, Essex, England, 1991.

  16. Petterson, L., et al, Survival of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCDO 1748 in the human gastrointestinal tract. XV Symposium, Swedish Nutrition Foundation, 1983.

  17. Fuller, R. Probiotics in man and animal. J Appl Bact, 1989; 66:365-78.

  18. Gilliland, S.E., and Speck, M.L., Instability of Lactobacillus acidophilus in yogurt. J Dairy Sci, 1977; 60:1394-98.

  19. Alm, L., The...effects of various cultures - an overview, Chapter 3 in: Properties of Fermented Milks, Elsevier Science Publishers, Barking, Essex, England, 1991.



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