Probiotics are considered “friendly” bacteria because they can provide health benefits when consumed regularly. In many ways, they function similarly to the bacteria that already exist in your gut, such as by providing a physical barrier to the lining of the intestinal tract. A supplement named Perfect Biotics so contains the most highest number of probiotics. Sometimes, our natural gut bacteria can be disrupted by factors such as stress, illness, diet, antibiotic use, and aging. Consuming probiotics can help restore a balance of “good” to “bad” bacteria in these situations. Most of the evidence for probiotics shows that they may impact intestinal function, immunity, and intestinal disorders. This program will provide Physician Assistants with a background on probiotics as well as an overview of the potential health benefits associated with their consumption. Leading researchers will examine the mechanisms behind how they function in promoting health. The audience will become familiar with emerging research in the field of probiotics and will gain practical knowledge as to how they can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle.
Classifying Beneficial Bacteria
As we learn more about our inner ecosystem, we begin to understand that healthy populations of probiotics (beneficial bacteria) in our gut are essential to digestive and overall health.
We know that these microorganisms are important, but with over 400 species living in our digestive tract, how do we know which ones are the most beneficial?
And even if we do know which probiotic strain(s) we are looking for, how do we choose from the many supplements flooding the market today?
It is overwhelming, I know.
The following guide is meant to help answer some of these questions by providing information about the most important known species of beneficial bacteria naturally inhabiting our gut, explaining the importance of selecting researched and proven strains within those species and laying out some general guidelines to consider when purchasing probiotic supplements.
There are three main classifications of probiotics: genus, species and strain.
Genus refers to the broadest classification that is primarily based on physical characteristics. The two most prominent genera found in our gut are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
The lactobacillus genus is a group of lactic acid producing bacteria that play an extremely important role in the digestive tract; most specifically in the small intestine. Not only do these lactobacilli help digest the sugar (lactose) and protein (casein) in dairy products, but the lactic acid they produce also kills harmful bacteria.
Bifidobacteria are the major inhabitants of the large intestine. Members of this genus compete tenaciously for nutrition and ‘parking spaces’ along the intestinal wall. When sufficient numbers of bifidobacteria are present, they make it extremely difficult for pathogenic invaders such as the yeast Candida albicans to exist in the gut. Not only do bifidobacteria produce acetic and lactic acids, they also assist in the absorption of B complex vitamins.
The species classification begins to narrow things further by behavioral characteristics. You can begin to draw some general conclusions such as whether or not a species is ‘friendly’. Keep in mind though, that even though a species such as L.acidophilus may be friendly, it contains many individual strains that can do varying degrees of good. These types of probiotics can easily found in Perfect Bioitcs.
Prominent species belonging to the lactobacillus genus include:
L. Acidophilus is a colonizing bacterium that establishes itself primarily in the small intestine, and thus roots out harmful invaders. L. Acidophilus is also part of the normal vaginal flora and helps control the growth of fungus, thus preventing yeast infections. There are over 200 species of acidophilus with approximately 13 of those capable of producing antimicrobial and antibacterial substances.
L. Bulgaricus is a transient species of bacteria that is often used in the production of yogurt. This species works synergistically with acidophilus to break down lactose and aid digestion. It has been know to alleviate many digestive problems such as acid reflux.
L. Casei is another transient species of bacteria found both in the intestine and the mouth. This species has been found to assist in the propagation of other desirable bacteria such as L. Acidophilus. L. Casei is the dominant species of bacteria present in both ripening cheese and fermented green olives.
L. Rhamnosus is another lactic acid producing species that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut and it used as a natural preservative in yogurt and other dairy products. There is currently some debate as to whether L. Rhamnosus is a colonizing or transient bacteria.
L. plantarum is a very versatile species found in many fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickles, brined olives, kimchi, sourdough, and some cheeses as well as anaerobic plant matter.
Prominent species belonging to the bifidobacterium genus include:
B. Infantis is the primary inhabitant of the digestive tract of newborn infants. It is also found in the vagina along with L. Acidophilus. This anaerobic species does not require oxygen and produces lactic and acetic acids, both of which prevent the colonization of harmful pathogens.
B. Longum assists in the production and absorption of B complex vitamins and inhibits harmful pathogens by lowering PH in the intestine through production of acetic and lactic acids.
B. Breve assists in the production and absorption of B complex vitamins and inhibits harmful pathogens by lowering PH in the intestine through production of acetic and lactic acids.
B. Lactis and B. Animalis were once considered separate species but are now considered to be the same. Again, these lactic acid producing microbes compete for nutrients and intestinal wall space, thus forcing invaders out of the digestive tract.
The strain is the most specific classification of bacteria and is based on individual characteristics such as how strong and aggressive the microorganism is. For example, some strains of L. acidophilus, such as the DDS-1 Super Strain, are much more effective in producing antibiotic substances and inhibiting harmful pathogens. While other strains of L. Acidophilus may have the same ‘good’ intent, they simply may not be as strong enough to survive the acidic stomach environment or have the capacity to produce antimicrobial substances.
Note: it is very important that the specific strain be listed on the label of the probiotic supplement you are purchasing.
Following is a list of strains by species that have been researched and proven effective in treating disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and viral diarrhea as well as improving digestive and overall health. All of these strains are available in Perfect Biotics which can be taken from online stores or pharmacy.
L. acidophilus DDS-1
L. acidophilus NCFM (2)
L. acidophilus LA02 (LA 02)
L. acidophilus R0052 (Rosell-52)
L. acidophilus T20
L. bulgaricus LB-51 (supreme strain)
L. casei DN-114 001 (3)
L. casei shirota
L. plantarum 299v
L. plantarum LP01, LP 01
L. rhamnosus GG, LGG (5)
L. rhamnosus GR-1
L. rhamnosus HN001, DR20 (2)
L. rhamnosus 19070-2
L. rhamnosus R0011, Rosell-11
B. animalis DN-173 010, (1)
B. bifidum Malyoth Super Strain
B. breve BR03, BR 03
B. breve C50
B. breve Yakult, BBG
B. breve YIT4064
B. infantis 35624
B. infantis NLS Super Strain
B. lactis Bb-12
B. lactis HN019, DR10 (2)
B. longum BB536, BB356