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How do probiotic bacteria help with digestion?

old message How do probiotic bacteria help with digestion? Darrell Miller 10/25/05


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Date: October 25, 2005 07:00 PM
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Subject: How do probiotic bacteria help with digestion?

A. Lactose is an important sugar that is converted to lactic acid by lactic acid bacteria. Lactose intolerance results form an inability to digest lactose, due to the failure of small intestine mucosal cells to produce lactase, an enzyme needed to digest lactose. This often results because of genetics, gastrointestinal disease, or because of the decline in the amount of intestinal lactase levels associated with aging.

Lactase deficient people accumulate non-absorbed lactose in the gastrointestinal tract, which draws water and electrolytes into the gut and speeds waste through the intestines, leading to bloating, cramping, and diarrhea. Approximately 50 million people in the United States have partial to complete lactose intolerance.

Lactic acid bacteria have been shown to help the breakdown of lactose, specifically by enhancing the activity of lactase (beta galacosidase), which improves lactose digestion and tolerance. Furthermore, in a randomized, controlled clinical trail, Bifidobacteria longum was shown to assist in the breakdown of lactose and relieve the symptoms of lactose intolerance (flatulence) in people with lactose intolerance.



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