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Bacteria are an essential part of our digestive system, helping fermentation of carbohydrates – without bacteria we would not be able to digest fibres, starches or sugars. Bacteria also turn fibres into short-chain fatty acids that, among other things, are essential for healthy bowel movements. We have between 1-2 kg of bacteria in our digestive tract, which is amounts to 100 trillion (1.0E+14) microorganisms or 10 times more than the number of cells in the human body. Most of these bacteria are neither beneficial nor harmful, but account for up to 60% of the dry mass in faeces. Only about 5-7% of our gut flora are Probiotic bacteria.
Probiotics are defined by the World Health Organisation as “Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host”. Lactic acid-producing bacteria isolated from the human gastro-intestinal tract, plant material or foods are by far the most common types of microbes used as Probiotics, but certain yeast and bacilli may also be used. These bacteria are often used in fermented dairy products or food supplements designed to support efficient functioning of our digestive system and regulation of our immune system.
There are many types of Probiotics, all with different benefits, but most come from two groups: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
The normal bacterial flora in the intestine contain many Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, which helps to keep the immune system in balance and counteracts allergies and inflammatory diseases. However, sometimes when you lose these “good” bacteria - after taking antibiotics, for example - supplements with lactic acid bacteria can help to replenish with beneficial bacteria and keep your body working the way it should. Among other things, lactic acid bacteria helps send food through your gut by affecting the nerves that control gut movement.
Probiotics can help to keep a healthy digestive system in many ways:
By colonising and occupying the adhesion sites on the intestinal lining, probiotics can prevent harmful bacteria and viruses from attachment.
Some Probiotic bacteria produce natural antimicrobial substances called bacteriocins. These kill off inactivate pathogenic bacteria by penetrating the cell wall and extracting the toxic components.
Probiotics produce lactic and acetic acids during fermentation of sugars, lowering the intestinal pH-levels and further inhibiting the undesirable bacteria from growing. Probiotics can also produce hydrogen peroxide, which is useful for creating an environment in which yeast cannot survive.
Probiotic bacteria assists the body’s own production of vitamins, such as B1, B3, B6, B12 and vitamin K. B. bifidum, B. infantis and B. longum are especially good producers of B-vitamins. Probiotics also produce various enzymes, such as carbohydrases that breakdown carbohydrates and facilitate the release and absorption of the energy from these nutrients.
70-80% of our immune system is located in the digestive tract, Probiotic bacteria helps to enhance both non-specific and specific immune responses by activating immunoreactive cells such as macrophages and lymphocytes (T-cells & B-cells) and also by increasing production of immune factors such as pro-inflammatory cytokines and immunoglobulins.
Probiotics 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.
Probiotics helps ferment indigestible fibres, releasing fatty acids that help to remove excess cholesterol.
Therefore Probiotics not only help inhibit pathogenic microorganisms, but also help and support the digestive system, thus benefitting your overall sense of well-being.
The information is, to the best of our knowledge, true and correct and presented in good faith. It may be subject to change without further notice. To the best of our knowledge, this product does not infringe Intellectual Property Rights of any third party. This information is offered solely for your consideration and verification.
Find out more about Probiotics:
Introduction to Probiotics and supplements concepts (english version)