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e-Journal

 

Bugs in Our Guts—Not All Bacteria Are Bad
How Probiotics Keep Us Healthy

(Released September 2006)

 
  by Leila Kiani  

Review

Key Citations

Web Sites

Glossary

Conferences

Editor
 
Conclusion

Contents

The flora in the human gut constitute "an extremely complex living system that aggressively protects your body from outside offenders" (12). The average American also eats far too many sugars, some 175 pounds per year, feeding the unhealthy bacteria, which stimulate disease. Chemicals can also disrupt the microflora. The "bad" bacteria largely reside in "the intestinal lining (mucosal barrier) that is over 300 square meters, or about the size of a tennis court" (12).

Beneficial bacteria can boost the immune system, prevent allergies, and stop eczema and heal the intestines. A good diet, supplemented with a high-quality probiotic, will improve the balance of good and bad bacteria (12).

In spite of the problems with dosage and viability of probiotic strains, lack of industry standardization, and potential safety issues, there is obviously considerable potential for the benefits of probiotics over a wide range of clinical conditions. Ongoing basic research will continue to identify and characterize existing strains of probiotics, identify strain-specific outcomes, determine optimal doses needed for certain results, and assess their stability through processing and digestion (2).

Gene technology will certainly play a role in developing new strains, with gene sequencing allowing for an increased understanding of mechanisms and functionality of probiotics. In addition to such basic research, industry-centered research will focus on prolonging the shelf-life of probiotic products and likelihood of survival through the intestinal tract, optimizing adhesion capacity and developing proper production, handling and packaging procedures to ensure that the desired benefits are delivered to the consumer (2).

Over time, new food products containing probiotics will emerge, such as energy bars, cereals, juices, infant formula and cheese, as well as disease-specific medical foods. The establishment of standards of identity for probiotic-containing food products will serve to accelerate their development and availability (2).

Available data from traditional medicine and clinical use clearly state that probiotics have great health potential, particularly today with the increasing threat of antibiotic over-usage and prevalence of antibiotic resistant microorganisms (10).

Thanks to Deborah Whitman for all of her help, without which this Discovery Guide would never have been written

© Copyright 2006, All Rights Reserved, CSA

References

  1. Vanderhoof J. A. and Rosemary J.Y. Probiotics in Pediatrics. Pediatrics 109: 956-958, 2002.

  2. Parvez S., Malik K.A., Ah Kang S. and Kim H.Y. Probiotics and their fermented food products are beneficial for health. Journal of Applied Microbiology 100: 6: 1171-1185, 2006.

  3. Sanders M.E. Probiotics. Food Technology 53: 11: 67-77, 1999.

  4. Survarna V.C. and Boby V.U. Probiotics in Human Health: A Current Assessment. Current Science 88: 11: 1744-1748, 2005.

  5. Thompson Healthcare. Probiotics. http://www.pdrhealth.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/nutsupdrugs/pro_0034.shtml Accessed on August 24th 2006

  6. US Probiotics.org (California Dairy Research Foundation and Dairy and Food Culture Technologies). Probiotics Basics. http://www.usprobiotics.org/basics/ Accessed on August 24th 2006

  7. Nomoto K. Prevention of Infection by Probiotics. Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering 100: 6: 583-592, 2005.

  8. Lin W.H., Hwang C.F., Chen L.W. and Tsen H.Y. Viable Counts, Characteristic Evaluation for Commercial Lactic acid bacteria Products. Food Microbiol. 23: 1: 74-81, 2006.

  9. Anadon A., Martinez-Larranaga M.R., and Martinez M.A. Probiotics for Animal Nutrition in the European Union. Regulation and Safety Assessment. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 45:91-95, 2006.

  10. Ljungh A. and Wadstrom T. Lactic acid bacteria as Probiotics. Curr. Issues Intestinal Micribiol. 7:2:73-90, 2006.

  11. European Commission. On a Generic Approach to the Safety Assessment of Micro-organisms Used in Feed/Food and Feed/Food Production. Accessed on August 24th 2006

  12. Mercola J. and Droege R. 100 Trillion Bacteria in Your Gut: Learn How to Keep the Good Kind There. http://www.mercola.com/2003/oct/18/bacteria_gut.htm Accessed on August 24th 2006

  13. Hall J.E. Commercial Bacteria of the GI tract: Benefits of Probitic Supplementation. GLYCOSCIENCE & NUTRITION. 7:2: 1-12, 2006.

  14. Flora. http://www.florahealth.com/flora/home/canada/_main.asp Accessed on August 24th 2006.

  15. Daily Council of California. Probiotics - Friendly Bacteria with a Host of Benefits, 2000. http://www.dairycouncilofca.org/PDFs/probiotics.pdf Accessed on August 24th 2006.

  16. Suri S. ABC's of Allergies. CSA Discovery Guide series, August 2006. http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/allergy/review.php Accessed on August 24th 2006.