Seeding the GI Tractbio1
April 29th, 2009
Seeding the gastrointestinal tract with good bacteria is smart medicine. It is a critical component to achieving and maintaining good health. In this email I will share with you some of the thinking that has gone into the criteria we have used in the selection of certain bacterial strains for our synbiotic formulas.
Let’s look at the criteria for selecting our probiotic organisms:
Historical usage: For 10,000 years humans have consumed fermented foods. Good bacteria have mixed with foods and fermentation occurs providing the likes of kimchi, miso, kefir, cheese, bread and alcohol. In most cases, more than one organism, or groups of organisms are involved in the fermentation.
For example in the manufacture of Swiss cheese thermophilic lactic acid bacteria from two different genera are required to ferment lactose, produce lactic acid and acidify the cheese to pH 5.2—a task that takes 18 hours. Another example of lactic acid species working together is in starter cultures that use L. bulgaricus and S. thermophilus: yogurt made with only one of these two organisms will not turn out well. It has long been known that the above bacteria grow faster and perform better when grown as a pair, compared to when they are grown separately. The S. thermophilus always appears to grow first in co-cultures; the initial milk environment is less conductive for L. bulgaricus as it takes the thermophilus to lower the pH to levels preferred by bulgaricus. The bulgaricus can grow and helps the thermophilus, as bulgaricus has more proteolytic enzymes and can supports the thermophilus with its amino acid needs. Synergy at work.
In the early 1900s Eli Metchnikoff, the Russian Zoologist and Nobel laureate, considered to be the “Father of probiotics research”, identified and made famous bulgaricus and thermophilus in his classic study on the factors involved in longevity and his subsequent book, The Prolongation of Life. He sited the regular consumption by the Bulgarian people of kefirs and yogurts created through the use of bulgaricus and thermophilus cultures as the key factor in enabling the Bulgarian people to be acclaimed as the society with the most people over 100 years old.
The genus Lactobacillus consists of more than 80 species. In the last decade, microbial taxonomists have been very busy, proposing and validating new taxa. In one single month (January 2005) seven new species and subspecies were described in microbiology published literature. The Lactobacillus genus is ubiquitous and occupies a wide range of habitats. They are normal inhabitants of plant and vegetable material, frequently found in dairy and meat environments, and in grains and cereals. Plus as we have said the Lactobacillus genus is the most common organisms used in fermented foods worldwide. Their presence in the animal and human gastrointestinal tract (as well as in the stomach, mouth. and vagina) has led to their common use as a probiotic. Our bodies have evolved with them.
Acid and bile resistance: Because we are selecting organisms for the gastrointestinal tract, they must be able to pass through the acid and bile barrier of the stomach and small intestines respectively. The strains we have selected are acid and bile tolerant, enabling their arrival into the small and large intestines alive and ready to grow and provide their probiotic benefits.
Adhesive properties: Adhesive properties are important for the bacteria to be able to stay around in the intestines longer, thereby providing continued synbiotic benefits. Seven out of nine of our BioImmersion selected ATCC lactic acid organisms are colonizing bacterium (save the above bulgaricus and thermophilus which are both transient; meaning that they don’t colonize and must be consumed regularly). The colonizing beneficial bacteria we provide are able to take up receptor sites on the membrane, preventing toxic and pathogenic organisms from doing so.
Acidify the membrane: All of the organism in our synbiotic formulas (L. casei, L. plantarum, L. rhamnosus, L. helveticus, L. bulgaricus, S. thermophilus, B. longus and B. infantis) are strong lactic acid producers, except for the L. acidophilus, which has many other beneficial attributes including being a strong colonizer. Thermophilus and bulgaricus are two of the strongest producers of lactic acid. Acidifying the bolus of food helps in the digestion of proteins. Acidifying of the GI tract membrane facilitates the absorption of minerals, and protects the membrane from pathogens.
Production of bacterocins: All of our BioImmersion probiotic strains were selected for their ability to produce a wide variety of bacterocins (antibiotic like substances) that enables the collection to inhibit and keep-at-bay pathogenic gut organisms.
Special specific properties: Each probiotic organism has its unique set of benefits that it provides (See the Library Tab on the BioImmersion website for details on each organism). The L. helveticus for example produces three peptides that are ACE inhibitors. They lower blood pressure! Lactobacillus helveticus is a good colonizer so these effects can be maintained more consistently.
Inhabiting and protecting different regions: We recommend mixing and matching our synbiotic formulas to get a wide variety of the BioImmersion strains inhabiting the specific regions of the gastrointestinal tract that are their particular niche; thereby achieving a more complete membrane coverage. For example the Bifiodbacterium genus (as in our B. longum and B. infantis) are obligate anaerobes meaning that they only grow and colonize the large intestines. They are the major contributing colonic probiotic organism producing copious amounts of lactic acid, bacterocins, and colonizing and protecting the membrane. The Lactobacillus genus can and do grow in the large intestines but don’t have the saying power in the colonic ecosystem as do the Bifido species; and, are more organisms of the small bowel intensifying in numbers as they approach the region of the ileocaecal valve.
As I have been presenting in this series of emails that began last September, we are living in biologically stressful time for the human species: and that the process of de-evolution is underway. Chronic illness is becoming a given and pandemics are a very real and probable threat. We have all become jaded to the over hyped media and can put the current Swine Flu scare into that category, thinking it really isn’t that bad and that it couldn’t happen to us. But unfortunately it is the very thing that the de-evolutionary process would predict to happen; our global human population has become so weakened immunologically and pathogens have become more virulent, that a pandemic is a very real possibility.
It is the reason we have put our strong synbiotic formulas together.
Clinical Note: I would suggestion taking anyone of our seven synbiotics formulas on a regular basis; to establish it as a regular part of your recommended patient protocols. Also consider mixing the different strains over time. Why not start with something like the Supernatant Synbiotic Formula which has seven pedigreed Bulgarian strains, plus supernatant (the freeze dried metabolites of S. thermophilus, L. bulgaricus and B. infantis) and organic inulin). Take one capsule a day. Plus why not add one capsule daily of our Organic Freeze Dried Garlic. This is very powerful protection.
The Last Quiz Answer: This beautiful creature is an Artic Fox.
At the turn of the twentieth century the world experienced the Spanish Flu. It killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide (800,000 in America); the worst pandemic in recorded history. It accomplished its ravaging in just one year affecting mostly people between the ages of 20 to 40. We have a right to be concerned.
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