Probiotics Balance Digestion and Improve Overall Health
According to the National digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse in Bethesda, Md., digestive disorders are a major problem in America. In fact, some 60 to 70 million Americans suffer from digestive diseases of one kind or another and spent $107 billion on drugs and antacids in 1992 alone trying to fight them. But pharmaceuticals aren't the answer.
Poor digestion can result in more than a stomach ache or gas. Digestion is the machine that powers the body, converting food into a usable form of energy that is used in turn to create health and vitality. Interference with this crucial process can lead to chronic fatigue, premature aging, arthritis, poor skin and hair, toxicity, allergies and cancer.
One way to ensure proper digestion and health is to nurture the body's naturally occurring microorganisms. Billions of bacteria - more than 400 different types - live in the gastrointestinal tract. Some are helpful, while others can cause problems. The body depends on the colon's beneficial bacteria to manufacture B vitamins including biotin, niacin, folic acid and pyridoxine. In addition to producing the enzyme lactase necessary for digesting milk sugar (lactose), these microorganisms produce antibacterial substances that kill disease-causing agents such as salmonella and some types of E. Coli. In short, they are essential to proper digestive-tract function.
Two of the more predominant types of beneficial bacteria in a healthy human being are acidophilus bacteria (found primarily in the small intestine) and bifidobacterium (found primarily in the large intestine). Maintaining a slightly acidic pH in the colon is the key to supporting these bacteria and is also helpful in fending off harmful organisms, since many cannot survive in an acidic environment. Unfortunately any number of conditions can change the colon's pH, destroying beneficial bacteria and throwing off the delicate balance among different microorganisms. Diets high in meat and fat alter colonic pH and kill helpful bacteria, as do alcohol, stress and drugs such as birth control pills. Antibiotics are particularly effective at killing all kinds of bacteria both good and bad - often leading to candida overgrowth and yeast infections. Low stomach acid levels also affect the body's overall acid balance and encourage disease-causing bacteria growth.
Restoring the Balance
Probiotics, dietary supplements made of beneficial microorganisms, can reintroduce beneficial bacteria. According to probiotics expert Natasha Trenev in her book Probiotics, "Beneficial microorganisms limit the proliferation of disease-causing microorganisms by competitive exclusion in the gastrointestinal tract."
Elie Metchnikoff (1845-1916), a Russian zoologist, was most likely the first researcher to document the benefits of probiotics. Metchnikoff observed that people who regularly ate yogurt tended to live longer. Yogurt is made from milk that has been cultured with friendly bacteria (such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus or Streptococcus thermophilus). Metchnikoff’s work sparked further research that for many years centered on farm animals. We no know that probiotics can also benefit humans, and the research is well-documented.
Because they convert cholesterol into a less absorbable form, probiotics may hamper the intestinal tract's cholesterol absorption thereby decreasing serum cholesterol levels. There is also some indication that probiotics can reduce the generation of toxic and cancer-causing compounds produced in the intestinal tract. A 1992 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that L. Acidophilus may reduce the recurrence of vaginal infections caused by candida. In fact, eating yogurt has long been an "alternative" treatment for yeast infections.
Many enzymes in the body require B complex vitamins (as coenzymes) to function. Bifidobacteria are able to produce some of these vitamins including B1, B6, and B12 as well as folic acid and several amino acids. Acidophilus bacteria can also inhibit some of the bacteria responsible for decomposing vitamin B1.
In addition to taking probiotics during or after antibiotic use, people who frequently have candidiasis or yeast infections, digestive problems, chronic conditions including cancer and arthritis, allergies, high cholesterol, or skin problems should consider a regular regimen of probiotics. As mentioned above, there is some indication that probiotics can also prevent infection by many bacteria responsible for food poisoning and potentially fatal infections, such as E.coli and Salmonella.
Anthony Cichoke, D.C.
Reprinted from nutrition Science News (August 1997, Vol. 2, No. 8, pp. 380-382)
Not All Acidophilus Are Alike
Elie Metchnikoff (1845-1916) stated the hypothesis that good health and long life were peculiarly dependent on the numbers and activity of intestinal lactobacilli. Other scientists later demonstrated the nutritional and therapeutic role of Lactobacillus acidophilus. Most of this research was conducted prior to the discover of antibiotics and sulfa drugs.
Dr. Robert Ellis has stated that the complications resulting from the recent extensive use of antibiotics have reemphasized the necessity of a "bacterial equilibrium: in the intestinal tract, and the possible beneficial influence of certain lactobacilli in counteracting the overgrowth of pathogenic organisms in the intestinal flora. The composition of the intestinal flora plays an important role in maintaining the normal functions of the digestive tract. Administration of acidophilus has relieved many digestive disorders, including diarrhea, constipation, irritable colon, and colitis.
However, not all acidophilus strains are alike. Many strains are either ineffective or unstable. DDS-1 Lactobacillus acidophilus is known to be a superior strain, extensively researched, which offers many nutritional and therapeutic benefits. These include:
Vitamin Production: DDS-1 Acidophilus is capable of producing vitamins while many other lactobacilli in the market require B vitamins for growth. The B-complex vitamins synthesized are: niacin, pantothenic acid, pyrodoxine, biotin, B6, B12 and folic acid.
Lactose Intolerance: Deficiency of the enzyme lactase results in the inefficient digestion of lactose (milk sugar). This condition is called lactose intolerance. DDS-1 acidophilus produces lactase which aids lactose digestion.
Food Digestion: DDS-1 acidophilus produces enzymes which help digest food.
Reduces Cholesterol: DDS-1 acidophilus possesses anti-cholesteremic and anti-lipidemic factors. Several studies show significant reduction of serum cholesterol levels after supplementation of DDS-1 acidophilus.
Prevents Bad Breath: Colonization of putrefying bacteria in large numbers in the throat, tongue and mouth causes bad breath. When these putrefying bacteria dominate in the intestine, they produce objectionable gases with resultant uncomfortable bloating. DDS-1 acidophilus keeps the putrefying bacteria in check, thus preventing bad breath and bloating.
Natural Antibiotic: DDS-1 Lactobacillus acidophilus is known to produce acidophilin, a natural antibiotic. Acidophilin has been shown to possess (in vitro) a wide range of antimicrobial activity against many foodborne pathogens. Over 20 pathogens have been shown to be inhibited by the acidophilin produced by DDS-1 acidophilus.
Antiviral Effects: L. Acidophilus can inactivate different viruses.
Inhibition of Candida Albicans: Inhibition of Candida albicans (yeast infection) is possible with supplementation of DDS-1 acidophilus and this has been confirmed with many clinical and university studies.
Anticarcinogenic Effects: Studies at Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research and University of Nebraska show that DDS-1 acidophilus possesses great potential as an antitumor agent.
Medical experts recognize that millions of people today are suffering from chronic candidiasis (yeast infection). Dr. C. Orian Truss, the world's leading candidiasis authority, Dr. William G. Crook, author of Yeast Connection and Dr. Keith W Sehnert have explained how devastating candida has become since we as a society have overused antibiotics, steroids and birth control pills.
When the normal balance of beneficial bacteria is disturbed by antibiotics, stress, and faulty nutritional habits, there may be an overgrowth of yeast. This yeast overgrowth displaces the beneficial Lactobacillus acidophilus, removing its beneficial fermentation in the bowel which produces folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, B12, B6 and pantothenic acid. It also disturbs their ability to help digest the proteins in our food. When these functions are disturbed, there is greater likelihood for candidiasis, cancer, and various diseases of the bowel. Changes in the cardiovascular system such as elevated cholesterol level may also occur.
In vitro (laboratory) studies show that certain members of the Lactobacillus family, especially the DDS strain, also have antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties which can significantly enhance an individual's health status.
Dr. Keith Sehnert, M.D.
Dr. Keith Sehnert, M.D., is a general practitioner and candida specialist in Minnesota.
For a source of DDS-1 acidophilus, see under Blue-Green Algae menu
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