Tag Archives: Bifidobacterium

Cup of Magic

Products from Amazon.com

 

Probiotics, prebiotics, antibiotics. The words often cause confusion because they sound similar. But, of course, they mean very different things, although all three are derived from the Greek word “bios”, meaning “life”.

CLICK & SEE

Most people would love a magic pill that would put an end to all their health problems. Preferably one that contains prebiotics (meaning “before life”) and probiotics (“helping life”), along with a few trace elements, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins.

Probiotics are defined by the World Health Organization as microorganisms, which when administered alive in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit to the host. They are advertised by the pharma industry as protective, anti-infection agents that give the body’s natural reserves a boost against disease. They are sold as capsules and powders containing organisms like Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. The products are much hyped, and have fancy names and expensive packaging.

However, what advertisements do not mention is that to be effective, there should be at least 75 million live organisms in each capsule. Food and chlorine in water kill these organisms. They therefore have to be swallowed with non-chlorinated water on an empty stomach
.
The intestines need to be populated with these organisms. So initially, the capsules have to be swallowed four to six times a day. The minuscule numbers contained in commercially available capsules are insufficient and do not confer any real health benefit.

Probiotics are not new products; they have been around for centuries. Fermented dough and curd (yogurt) contain natural, healthy probiotics. Commercially available yogurt may not contain live lactobacillus (probiotics) unless specifically mentioned on the package.

Natural probiotics like curd have many medicinal properties that are being rediscovered now. Curd starts to act in the mouth itself. It reduces the number of plaque forming bacteria, and prevents bad breath, tooth decay and mouth ulcers.

In the stomach, curd helps neutralise gastric acidity, reducing belching, burning and dyspepsia. It prevents infections, particularly the growth and multiplication of H. pylori, which is implicated in gastric ulcers and stomach cancer.

In the intestine, probiotics live with other protective intestinal flora, reducing gas formation and diarrhoea. The immunological effects reduce the incidence and symptoms of Crohn’s disease (inflammatory condition of the intestines that may affect any part from the mouth to the anus) and ulcerative colitis. Bowel habits become regular and the incidence of colon cancer reduces in those who eat curd regularly.

The action of the probiotics on digested food results in the synthesis of B-complex vitamins. This reduces vitamin deficiencies. Children who are given curd in addition to milk have less diarrhoea than those given milk alone.

Many Indians are relatively lactose intolerant and develop bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhoea when given to drink milk. They thus tend to curtail their milk intake and in the absence of calcium supplementation become susceptible to osteoporosis. In curd, however, the milk is already partially digested, and this reduces the symptoms of intolerance. As little as one cup of curd a day is beneficial in the prevention of osteoporosis.

Studies have also shown that eating curd regularly prevents the development of candidiasis, a common vaginal fungal infection. Other studies have shown conflicting results with no real benefit. But this has not prevented pharmaceutical companies from advocating lactobacillus capsules and vaginal pessaries for candidial infection. Curd also boosts the immune system. Regular eaters swear by it, saying it reduces infections as well as the duration of illnesses.

Prebiotics, on the other hand, are soluble fibres and non-digestible food ingredients that remain in the colon. They selectively stimulate the growth and activity of beneficial microorganisms already present in the large intestine. Prebiotics are found in oats, wheat, onions and garlic. When probiotics and prebiotics are combined, they form “synbiotics”. This probably confers the best health benefits with probiotics acting in the small intestine and prebiotics in the large.

Antibiotics are used to kill harmful microorganisms in the intestine, bloodstream and the various organs. They should be used appropriately in the correct dosage and duration. Unlike probiotics and prebiotics, antibiotics are specific for a particular infection. They are not health supplements.

Antioxidants are found in coloured fruits and vegetables. Oxidation is essential for cell metabolism. During this process a few cells die releasing harmful free radicals. This is prevented by antioxidants.

All said and done, health does not come packaged as an expensive magic capsule containing probiotics and antioxidants to be drunk with a glass of artificial fibre. For good health,

Eat four to five helpings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. The green, yellow, orange and red ones contain antioxidants

Curd reduces infections as well as the duration of illnesses

Eat one tablespoon of homemade curd first thing in the morning on an empty stomach

Eat chappatis four or five times a week

Give these health ingredients an extra boost by exercising one hour everyday.


Source
: The Telegraph (Kolkata)

Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements

Friendly Bacteria Blunt Anti-Nutrient Action

The “good” bacteria strain Bifidobacterium may reduce levels of phytate and phytic acid, compounds which are thought to be behind fiber’s impairment of mineral absorption.

Phytase enzymes produced by strains of bifidobacteria could reduce phytate and phytic acid levels in food.

When compared to high-fiber bread baked traditionally, fermentation of bread with the Bifidobacterium strains led to significantly lower phytic acid levels.

Resources:
Food Navigator October 12, 2009
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry October 9, 2009

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Probiotics May Help Women to Reduce Weight After Pregnancy

Probiotic supplements during the first trimester of pregnancy may help women lose weight after the infant’s birth, as per new findings presented at the European Congress on Obesity.

Researchers report that supplements containing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium were associated with less central obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more or a waist circumference over 80 centimeters. Women were given the supplements during their first trimester of pregnancy and continued them until they stopped exclusive breastfeeding, up to six months.

Probiotics are live microorganisms that confer health benefits when consumed.

Previous research found that microbial populations in the gut are different between obese and lean people, and that when the obese people lost weight their microflora changed.

Sources: NutraIngredients.com May 7, 2009

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Probiotic

Definition:
Probiotics are “live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” (Microorganisms are tiny living organisms—such as bacteria, viruses, and yeasts—that can be seen only under a microscope.)

Probiotics are not the same thing as prebiotics—nondigestible food ingredients that selectively stimulate the growth and/or activity of beneficial microorganisms already in people’s colons. When probiotics and prebiotics are mixed together, they form a synbiotic.

Probiotics are available in foods and dietary supplements (for example, capsules, tablets, and powders) and in some other forms as well. Examples of foods containing probiotics are yogurt, fermented and unfermented milk, miso, tempeh, and some juices and soy beverages. In probiotic foods and supplements, the bacteria may have been present originally or added during preparation.

Most probiotics are bacteria similar to those naturally found in people’s guts, especially in those of breastfed infants (who have natural protection against many diseases). Most often, the bacteria come from two groups, Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium. Within each group, there are different species (for example, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidus), and within each species, different strains (or varieties). A few common probiotics, such as Saccharomyces boulardii, are yeasts, which are different from bacteria.

Probiotic bacterial cultures are intended to assist the body’s naturally occurring gut flora, an ecology of microbes, to re-establish themselves. They are sometimes recommended by doctors, and, more frequently, by nutritionists, after a course of antibiotics, or as part of the treatment for gut related candidiasis. Claims are made that probiotics strengthen the immune system to combat allergies, excessive alcohol intake, stress, exposure to toxic substances, and other diseases. In these cases, the bacteria that work well with our bodies may decrease in number, an event which allows harmful competitors to thrive, to the detriment of our health.

..

Maintenance of a healthy gut flora is, however, dependent on many factors, especially the quality of food intake. Including a significant proportion of prebiotic foods in the diet has been demonstrated to support a healthy gut flora and may be another means of achieving the desirable health benefits promised by probiotics.

Adverse Effects:-
There is no published evidence that probiotic supplements are able to completely replace the body’s natural flora when these have been killed off; indeed bacterial levels in faeces disappear within days when supplementation ceases. While the oral use of probiotics is considered safe and even recommended by World Health Organization under specific guidelines , in some specific situations (such as critically ill patients) they could be potentially harmful. In one therapeutic clinical trial, a probiotic cocktail have been shown to increase the death rates of patients with acute pancreatitis , but was given through tube feeding directly in the intestine instead of the usual oral way since oral re-feeding following acute pancreatitis increases morbidity and mortality. Some other therapeutic use of probiotics have been shown to be beneficial for other types of patients.

Potential benefits:-
Experiments into the benefits of probiotic therapies suggest a range of potentially beneficial medicinal uses for probiotics. For many of the potential benefits, research is limited and only preliminary results are available. It should be noted that the effects described are not general effects of probiotics. All effects can only be attributed to the strain(s) tested, not to the species, nor to the whole group of LAB (or other probiotics).

Managing Lactose Intolerance
As lactic acid bacteria actively convert lactose into lactic acid, ingestion of certain active strains may help lactose intolerant individuals tolerate more lactose than what they would have otherwise. In practice probiotics are not specifically targeted for this purpose, as most are relatively low in lactase activity as compared to the normal yogurt bacteria.

Prevention of Colon Cancer
In laboratory investigations, some strains of LAB have demonstrated anti-mutagenic effects thought to be due to their ability to bind with heterocyclic amines, which are carcinogenic substances formed in cooked meat. Animal studies have demonstrated that some LAB can protect against colon cancer in rodents, though human data is limited and conflicting. Most human trials have found that the strains tested may exert anti-carcinogenic effects by decreasing the activity of an enzyme called ?-glucuronidase (which can generate carcinogens in the digestive system). Lower rates of colon cancer among higher consumers of fermented dairy products have been observed in some population studies.

Cholesterol Lowering
Animal studies have demonstrated the efficacy of a range of LAB to be able to lower serum cholesterol levels, presumably by breaking down bile in the gut, thus inhibiting its reabsorption (which enters the blood as cholesterol). Some, but not all human trials have shown that dairy foods fermented with specific LAB can produce modest reductions in total and LDL cholesterol levels in those with normal levels to begin with, however trials in hyperlipidemic subjects are needed.

Lowering Blood Pressure
Several small clinical trials have shown that consumption of milk fermented with various strains of LAB can result in modest reductions in blood pressure. It is thought that this is due to the ACE inhibitor-like peptides produced during fermentation.

Improving Immune Function and Preventing Infections
LAB are thought to have several presumably beneficial effects on immune function. They may protect against pathogens by means of competitive inhibition (i.e., by competing for growth) and there is evidence to suggest that they may improve immune function by increasing the number of IgA-producing plasma cells, increasing or improving phagocytosis as well as increasing the proportion of T lymphocytes and Natural Killer cells. Clinical trials have demonstrated that probiotics may decrease the incidence of respiratory tract infections and dental caries in children. LAB foods and supplements have been shown to be effective in the treatment and prevention of acute diarrhea, and in decreasing the severity and duration of rotavirus infections in children and travelers’ diarrhea in adults.

Helicobacter pylori
LAB are also thought to aid in the treatment of Helicobacter pylori infections (which cause peptic ulcers) in adults when used in combination with standard medical treatments.

Antibiotic-associated diarrhea
A meta-analysis suggested probiotics may reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea. A subsequent randomized controlled trial also found benefit in elderly patients.

Reducing Inflammation
LAB foods and supplements have been found to modulate inflammatory and hypersensitivity responses, an observation thought to be at least in part due to the regulation of cytokine function. Clinical studies suggest that they can prevent reoccurrences of inflammatory bowel disease in adults, as well as improve milk allergies and decrease the risk of atopic eczema in children.


Improving Mineral Absorption

It is hypothesized that probiotic lactobacilli may help correct malabsorption of trace minerals, found particularly in those with diets high in phytate content from whole grains, nuts, and legumes.[27]


Prevents Harmful Bacterial Growth Under Stress

In a study done to see the effects of stress on intestinal flora, rats that were fed probiotics had little occurrence of harmful bacteria latched onto their intestines compared to rats that were fed sterile water.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Colitis
B. infantis 35624, sold as Align, was found to improve some symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in women in a recent study. Another probiotic bacterium, Lactobacillus plantarum 299V, was also found to be effective in reducing IBS symptoms. Additionally, a probiotic formulation, VSL3, was found to be effective in treating ulcerative colitis. Bifidobacterium animalis DN-173 010 may help.

Synbiotics:
It is also possible to increase and maintain a healthy bacterial gut flora by increasing the amounts of prebiotics in the diet such as inulin, raw oats, and unrefined wheat.

As probiotics are mainly active in the small intestine and prebiotics are only effective in the large intestine, the combination of the two may give a synergistic effect. Appropriate combinations of pre- and probiotics are synbiotics.

Synbiotics have also been defined as metabolites produced by ecoorgan or by synergistic action of prebiotics and probiotics e.g. short chain fatty acids, other fatty acids, amino acids, peptides, polyamines, carbohydrates, vitamins, numerous antioxidants and phytosterols, growth factors, coagulation factors, various signal molecules such as cytokine-like bacteriokines.

Foods that contain probiotic:
Probiotics are available in foods and dietary supplements (for example, capsules, tablets, and powders) and in some other forms as well. Examples of foods containing probiotics are yogurt, fermented and unfermented milk, miso, tempeh, and some juices and soy beverages. In probiotic foods and supplements, the bacteria may have been present originally or added during preparation.It is found plenty in garlic,honey, leeks,onions and whole grains.

The most common form for probiotics are dairy products and probiotic fortified foods. However, tablets, capsules, powders and sachets containing the bacteria in freeze dried form are also available.

Research:
Research about probiotics shows both benefits and harm.

A 2007 study at University College Cork in Ireland showed that a diet including milk fermented with Lactobacillus bacteria prevented Salmonella infection in pigs.

A 2007 clinical study at Imperial College London showed that preventive consumption of a commercially available probiotic drink containing L casei DN-114001, L bulgaricus, and S thermophilus can reduce the incidence of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and C difficile-associated diarrhea.

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled therapeutic study on the effects of a probiotic cocktail on pancreatitis at University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC), 24 out of 296 patients died between 2004 and 2007, with more deaths among those receiving the probiotic cocktail directly in the intestine. According to the spokesman of UMC, it is likely that some of these deaths would not have occurred without the probiotics, although other therapeutic trials conducted on probiotics were more positively conclusive
You may click to see:->Beneficial effects of probiotic strains

Probiotics and Colorectal Cancer

The Probiotics Revolution

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probiotic
http://www.medicinenet.com/probiotics/article.htm

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]