Sources: Stay Healthy With Nutrition, Elson M. Haas, M.D., Celestial Arts Publishing 1992. Nutrition Science News, Anthony Cichoke, D.C. August, 1997 Intestinal Bacteria and Health, T. Mitsuaka, Harcourt Brace, 1978 Annals of Internal Medicine, H.D. Hilton and P. Isenberg, 1992 Louis Pasteur discovered pasteurization, the method of heating milk to kill harmful bacteria. Years later at the pasteurization institute, Elie Metchnikoff researched and discovered the health-promoting capabilities of lactobacillus bacteria when he observed that people who ate yogurt tended to live longer. More than 400 different kinds of bacteria live in our gastrointestinal tract. The body depends on beneficial bacteria to manufacture B vitamins as well as to produce lactase and other antibacterial substances. 60 to 70 MILLION AMERICANS SUFFER FROM DIGESTIVE DISEASES (According to the National Digestive Disease information clearinghouse in Bethesda, MD.) Commercial food processing procedures often destroy viable beneficial organisms, making it difficult for the body to maintain good intestinal flora. Even the majority of yogurt products no longer contain a viable acidophilus culture. Preservatives, additives, high-fat diets, alcohol, birth control pills, and stress can all result in poor intestinal flora. Antibiotic drugs are especially damaging to intestinal flora and kill all kinds of bacteria, both good and bad. The effects of antibiotic use on intestinal flora can last for weeks even after the drug is discontinued; often leading to yeast overgrowth, chronic infections, poor digestion, fatigue or allergies.*
Acidophilus supplements can reintroduce beneficial bacteria into the system. Important benefits of acidophilus supplementation can include:
1. Keeping constipation and diarrhea under control.
2. Counteracting lactose intolerance by its association with lactase.
3. Reduction of bad breath.
4. Reduction of internal gas.
5. Cholesterol control by promoting normal absorption of dietary fats.
6. Suppression of candida yeast.
7. Suppression of a number of intestinal disorders.
8. Prevention of intestinal contamination from infectious organisms common in some foreign countries.
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. *
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 milkóthe part of milk that results in the symptoms of bloating, cramps and gas in lactose intolerant individualsóby 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 intestineóit 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
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 Sci Dairy; 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.
Introduction to Acidophilus? by Rev. Debra L. Moore, D.N.
Lactobacillus Acidophilus is a type of 'friendly' bacteria (AKA the garden within) that assists in the digestion of proteins, a process in which lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, enzymes, B vitamins, and antibiotic substances that inhibit pathogenic organisms are produced. It has antifungal properties, helps reduce serum cholesterol levels, assists digestion, sweetens the breath, and enhances absorption of various nutrients. The colon (a healthy one) should contain at least 85% L. acidophilus and 15% coloform bacteria. Unfortunately, most have it in reverse which results in gas, systemic toxicity, bloating, constipation, malabsorption, and a rather large overgrowth of candida. When an individual is placed on a course of antibiotics - which are non-selective - all intestinal flora are destroyed - leaving the system open to many ailments. Acidophilus can die at high temperatures so proper handling is critical. The primo variety to obtain would be: NCFM Strain - a strain developed by the North Carolina State Univ. Food Sciences Dept. that is not destroyed by the following allopath antibiotics - Neomycin, Polymixin, Colistin, Kanamycin, and Gentamycin; contains no less than 2.5 billion CFU (colony forming units) per gram; is store in amber glass bottles - not plastic; shipped & stored under refrigeration; have a guaranteed Bile Challenge Assay (safely passes the stomach & bile acids and actually grows in the bile; have a clear expiration date printed on the label. L. acidophilus has many advantages. It synthesizes folic acid, niacin, B6, B12, riboflavin, biotin, and pantothenic acid; produces the lactase acid enzyme which helps digest lactose for those intolerant; produces enzymes to assist digestion; sweetens the breath by keeping in check the putrefying bacteria that become dominant in the intestinal tract; is a natural antibiotic with a wide range of antimicrobial activity against food-borne pathogens-some of which include: streptococcus, e. coli, salmonella typhosa and schottmuelleri, pseudomonas fluorescens and aeruginosa, and staphylococcus; it inhibits the growth of the yeast, candida albicans, and reduces cholesterol due to its anticholesteremic and anti-lipidemic factors. It is also a wonderful alternative for women with 'yeast' infections - works safely, cleanly and quickly at normal doses.
TWELVE POINTS ON LACTOBACILLUS ACIDOPHILUS
Compiled and written by John Whitman Ray N.D., M.D. (M.A.)
1. Lactobacillus bacteria are a group of aerobic, long, slender rods which produce large amounts of lactic acid in the fermentation of carbohydrates.
2. Daily dietary intake of Lactobacillus acidophilus helps to maintain proper balance of healthy bacteria in the intestinal tract. (Some problems from lack of healthy bacteria in the intestinal tract due to the proliferation of unhealthy bacteria are constipation, irritated colon and diarrhea. Acne, eczema and fever blisters may also be caused by unhealthy bacteria.)
3. Lactobacillus acidophilus is essential to help synthesize and assimilate necessary vitamins in the intestinal tract.
4. Lactobacillus acidophilus has been found to help lower cholesterol levels in the blood stream.
5. Lactobacillus acidophilus has been known to help detoxify toxic and hazardous material found in the diet.
6. Lactobacillus acidophilus aid in producing enzymes which help the digestibilty of food.
7. Lactobacillus acidophilus improves the digestibility of feed for animals and has been tested and used as a feed additive.
8. Lactobacillus acidophilus helps maintain the pH level of the intestine by producing lactic acid from carbohydrates thus preventing an increase of pH which could then allow the proliferation of sensitive microbes which could produce various toxic substances harmful to the health of the body.
9. Lactobacillus acidophilus helps to replace normal healthy bacteria in the gastro intestinal tract after oral antibiotics have been administered. Oral antimicrobial drugs suppress the drug susceptible components of fecal flora (L. acidophilus) and thus allow, through increased pH, drug resistant strains to become predominant, resulting in loss of benefits derived from normal bacterial activity.
10. There is no known toxicity from ingesting too large a dose of Lactobacillus acidophilus.
11. Lactobacillus acidophilus in the intestinal tract are small in number compared to other organisms. It is, therefore, essential that the human body be assured a maintenance of the proper level of this particular culture by daily ingestion of Lactobacillus acidophilus.
12. Lactobacillus acidophilus is, therefore, justified as a supplemental dietary substance especially in these days when stress, uncertainty and unhealthy pollution of air, water and food predominate.