Healing Your Gut

……good health starts here

Knowing Your Friendly Bacteria

A list of the key Lactobacilli (friendly bacteria) and their role in the health of your Digestive System.

 bacteria

Lactobacilli Bacteria

Lactobacilli are one of the most important types of friendly bacteria found in the digestive tract. These bacteria get their name (lacto) because they are able to form lactic acid. They play a key role in producing fermented foods, fermented milk, yogurt, and cheeses. They are often referred to as “probiotic” since they are positive or supportive microorganisms.

Probiotics are claimed to have beneficial effects on human health. The following claims have been attributed to strains of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria:

·         Inhibition of potential pathogens, such as E. coli or Clostridium perfringens

·         Prevention of diarrhea caused by (rota)virus or Salmonella

·         Reducing the effects of a Candida infection

·         Positive effects on cholesterol level

·         Prevention of gut dysbiosis

·         Stimulation of the immune system

·         Production of vitamins

·         Increased defecation and reduced constipation

·         Improving the uptake of minerals, especially calcium

·         Digestion of lactose for lactose-intolerant persons

·         Help in the relief of anxiety and depression

Beneficial bacteria, however, do much more than counter pathogenic, or unfriendly bacteria. They also provide us with other, powerful benefits. Friendly flora:

·         Manufacture vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, A, D, and K, and essential fatty acids

·         Aid in the digestive process by helping digest lactose (milk sugar) and protein

·         Clean the intestinal tract, purify the colon, and promote regular bowel movements

·         Produce natural antibiotics and antifungals that prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi. In 1988, the U.S. surgeon general’s report noted that “Normal microbial flora provide a passive mechanism to prevent infection”

·         Contribute to the destruction of molds, viruses, and parasites

·         Increase the number of immune system cells

·         Create lactic acid, which balances intestinal pH

·         Protect us from environmental toxins such as pesticides and pollutants, reduce toxic waste at the cellular level, and stimulate the repair mechanism of cells

·         Help maintain healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels; and break down and rebuild hormones

 

Lactobacillus Acidophilus

L. acidophilus is the most commonly known probiotic bacterium. Although commonly found in commercial yoghurts, the form of L. acidophilus in those products does not really constitute a probiotic since the cultures in common yoghurt often do not survive stomach acids and bile.

Found in the small intestine where it produces at least four powerful antimicrobial compounds, or antibiotics, including acidolin, acidophilin, lactocidin, and bacteriocin, it helps:

·         Increase immunity to pathogenic bacteria, yeasts and fungi such as Candida albicans, Salmonella, E. coli, and Staphylococcus aureus.

·         Prevent multiplication of other organisms, which helps to control intestinal infections, in turn reducing the likelihood of diarrhea, along with other infectious diseases.

·         Assisting lowering of serum cholesterol.

Lactobacillus Delbruecki

L. delbruecki has been shown in laboratory to enhance Immunoglobulin A (IgA) secreting cells and mast cells, in an immunosuppressed host. This demonstrates its possible usefulness in protecting mucosal surfaces. (Bonet, M.E.B. et al. Optimal Effect of L. delbruecki . . . Food and Agricultural Immunology, Vol. 11 No. 3 1 Sept 1999, pp. 259-267.)

Lactobacillus Caseii

L. caseii is closely related to L. acidophilus and L. rhamnosus. It secretes “peptidoglycan”, which supports the natural defences of the body and stimulates immune responses in the intestinal tract. L. caseii has demonstrated effectiveness by:

·         Increasing circulating IgA (immunoglobulin A) in infants infected with rotavirus and concomitant bouts of diarrhea

·         Exhibiting immune-enhancing effects, by the producing “bacteriocins”, compounds that restrict growth of pathogens in the small intestine

·         Resisting digestive enzymes, easing its passage through the stomach

·         Lessening winter infections in elderly persons (Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging, 2003)

Lactobacillus Bulgaricus

L. bulgaricus is an important bacterium used in fermenting yogurt. It roams throughout the digestive system and helps produce lactic acid, thereby providing a good environment for other beneficial bacteria to grow, especially Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria.
In summary, this species of flora:

·         Aids digestion of dairy products

·         Stimulates production of “interferon and “tumor necrosis factor”, immune regulators

·         Produces lipase critical to lipid (fat) metabolism

·         Helps reduce cholesterol levels

·         Produces natural antibiotics to inhibit harmful microorganisms

·         Breaks down complex proteins for easy assimilation

·         Alleviates acid reflux

·         Supports beneficial, indigenous gut flora

·         Helps with disposal of metabolic wastes

·         Aids colon cleansing without disrupting beneficial flora

 

Lactobacillus Caucasicus

L. caucasicus is commonly found in kefir – a word likely originating from the Turkish word “Keif” which means “good feeling”. The scientific name “caucasicus” comes from the area of the Caucasus Mountains where shepherds diets consisted mainly of kefir and who often lived to be over 100 years of age.

 

Lactobacillus Fermenti

L. fermenti is one of the “friendly flora” bacteria useful in protecting the vaginal area from vaginitis. It is used in making sourdough bread, yogurt, and kefir.

 

Lactobacillus Plantarum

L. plantarum has been studied for the treatment of recurrent Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea and for Candida yeast infections; has demonstrated improvement in cases of enteric bacterial infections. This bacterium reinforces the barrier function of the intestinal mucosa, thus preventing the attachment of harmful bacteria. Working in the small intestine, it eliminates dozens of harmful pathogens including E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus. Significant benefits include:

·         Preserving key nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants

·         Manufacturing vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, A and K, and short chain fatty acids

·         Helping to produce “lactolin”, a natural antibiotic

·         Contributes to the destruction of moulds, viruses, and parasites

·         Helping to maintain healthy cholesterol and tri-glycerine levels

·         Increasing the number of immune system cells

·         Providing protection from environmental toxins like pesticides and pollutants

·         Reducing toxic waste at the cellular level

·         Stimulating the repair mechanism of cells

·         Synthesizing the anti-viral amino acid, L-lysine

·         Producing glycolytic enzymes which degrade cyanogenic glycosides

·         Eliminating toxic components from food including nitrates

 

Lactobacillus Brevis

L. brevis is a lactic acid-producing organism important in the synthesis of vitamins D and K.
Research studies have shown that L. Brevis:

·         Decreases intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome)

·         Improves intestinal micro flora

·         Has a positive effect on the intestinal immune system

·         Helps eliminate ulcer-causing bacterium Heliobacter pylori

 

Lactobacillus Helveticus

L. helveticus is often used in making Swiss-type cheeses and added specifically to certain fermented milks. Studies conducted on post-menopausal women by the University of Helsinki (2004), show that L. Helveticus supports bone mineral density and increases calcium absorption. The application of milk products containing this bacterium proved to increase bone formation of osteoblasts (bone cells), as well as serum calcium concentrations. In short, benefits include:

·         Aid for hypertension by reducing blood pressure

·         Facilitated recovery from fatigue

·         Stress-reducing effects

·         Stimulation of antitumor immune response, esp. with estrogen-dependent tumors

·         Immunostimulating effects

·         Help modulating the relationship between immune and endocrine systems

·         Potential for improving learning ability and memory

·         Help in prevention of osteoporosis

·         Possible assistance for life extension

 

Lactobacillus Leichmannii

L. leichmannii is another bacterium that helps to produce lactic acid and is often used to determine the concentrations of vitamin B12 in products.

Lactobacillus Lactis

L. lactis is used in the making of some cheeses, as well as in starter cultures for making fermented milk products. The bacterium appears to:

·         Inhibit both gram positive (eg. listeria) and gram negative (eg. E. coli) pathogens

·         Strengthen immunity

·         Alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

·         Help regulate intestinal motility

 

Sporogenes (Lactosporea)

L. Sporogenes was first isolated and described in 1993 by Russian scientists. L. Sporogenes produces only L(+) lactic acid and proliferates within the gastrointestinal tract in an non-invasive way characteristic of beneficial gastro-intestinal residents such as Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Bifidobacterium Bifidum. A summary of the potential health benefits of Sporogenes includes:

·         Help with improving digestion and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, easing constipation

·         Improved quality of life for those with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

·         Improvement in abnormalities of intestinal flora and various forms of dysbiosis

·         Treatment of diarrhea due to acute or chronic gastroenteritis, incl. antibiotic-associated diarrhea

·         Alleviation of symptoms associated with lactose intolerance, including pain and bloating

·         Treatment of type II hyperlipidemia

·         Complete relief in cases of non-specific vaginitis

·         Reduction in total cholesterol levels

·         Improvement in the body’s defence system by inhibiting growth of harmful bacteria

 

Bifidus

B. bifidum (also known as Lactobacillus bifidus) resides mainly in the lining of the large intestine and the vaginal tract. It is used in therapeutic preparations for treating digestive disorders in infants, enterocolitis, constipation, cirrhosis of the liver, imbalance of intestinal flora following antibiotic therapy, and for promotion of intestinal peristalsis. In general, Bifidobacterium bifidum provides energy production through fermentation, synthesis of B vitamins, mineral absorption and anti-microbial activities. As one of the most powerful and broadly active intestinal flora it demonstrates the ability to:

·         Digest lactose

·         Ferment indigestible fibers, thereby producing more energy

·         Synthesize some vitamins, especially several of the B vitamins

·         Assist in mineral absorption, especially iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc

·         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

·         Fight bad bacteria by lowering the intestinal pH through its production of fatty acids, lactic acid, and acetic acid

·         Absorb large quantities of ferrous ions, thereby inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria that use it for food

·         Help decompose nitrosamines (cancer-causing substances) and suppress the production of nitrosamines in the intestines

·         Help lower serum cholesterol

 

Saccharomyces

Saccharomyces species are beneficial yeast organisms used in various foods and as a nutritional supplement.

S. boulardii is lactic acid yeast; a non-pathogenic, non-colonizing baker’s yeast species closely related to S. cerevisiae. It is unrelated to Candida albicans, the Candida yeast species which cause infections in the gastrointestinal and urinary tracts. In fact, studies have shown that S boulardii inhibits the spread of Candida albicans

·         Is among those Probiotics that can survive gastric acidity,

·         Is unique in not being inhibited by antibiotics

·         Does not adversely affect the normal flora in the gastrointestinal tract

·         Helps ulcerative colitis. Eur Journ of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (2003)

·         Protects the gut from amoebas and cholera

·         Alleviates diarrhea caused by Crohn’s disease and Clostridium difficile

·         Secretes a type of protease which is able to digest two protein exotoxins, that appear to be mediators for diarrhea and colitis caused by Clostridium.

·         Is effective against diarrhea and dysentery according to WHO

 

S. cerevisiae is a superior kind of yeast which should be grown on a base of molasses.

  • A rich source of B vitamins, minerals, and all essential amino acids
  • Rich in biologically active chromium, AKA Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF)
  • Does not contribute to Candida yeast infections
  • S. Cerevisiae has been shown effective in the treatment of diabetes and high cholesterol as well as diarrhea

article by Don Chisholm

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