PROBIOTICS: Uses and Method of action
The primary use of probiotics is to restore the normal flora in the intestines that often occurs because of poor diet or the use of antibiotics. They do this first by competing with other organisms for nutrients (crowding them out)
They secrete lactic acid and acetic acid that decrease the pH of the vagina and intestines, making the environment less favorable for the pathogenic bacteria to thrive.
Antibiotics can alter the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, decreasing the numbers of healthy bacteria and causing diarrhea. Probiotics, taken during or after antibiotic therapy, can reduce or prevent this effect.
Probiotics produce certain antimicrobial compounds that kill some of the undesirable pathogens in the intestines, including yeasts, virii and bacteria. The associated decrease in the production of potentially cancer-causing toxins by the unfavorable microorganisms may help decrease the incidence of colon cancer.
Probiotics also make certain vitamins needed by the body including folic acid, vitamin B6, niacin and vitamin K.
Low counts of lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium (specific probiotics), with an increase of less desirable bacteria in the intestines can cause gas, diarrhea, constipation, mucosal irritation and contribute to the development of ALLERGIES.
As the number of undesirable bacteria increases, the absorption of certain nutrients, including the B-vitamins, decreases, leading to the possibility of deficiencies.
Unfortunately, new generations of antibiotics can significantly reduce number of bacteria in few weeks or even days.
Generally, antibiotics are not able to differentiate good bacteria from bad, and prolonged use of antibiotics can significantly decrease number of friendly bacteria.
*The Well: A more common view is that beneficial bacteria can be drastically reduced with one short course of modern antibiotics.
If you suspect that the digestive flora have been disrupted by antibiotics (typical symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal discomfort and gas), have a comprehensive stool analysis performed in order to check the proper balance of bacterial flora. If you cannot avoid taking antibiotics it is advised to take probiotics 2-3 hours after taking the antibiotics.
*The Well:As recommended by physicians who practice integrative medicine, we also suggest taking ‘Saccharomyces boulardii’ (a specific probiotic) along with antibiotics to help prevent the overgrowth of Candida albicans, an opportunistic and harmful yeast organism.
Other factors that deplete friendly bacteria include: medicines, infections (bacterial, viral and fungal), a highly processed, low-fiber diet, chronic diarrhea and stress.
Probiotics have been shown through studies to help us in many different ways, such as:
Killing or inhibit harmful bacteria: by secreting small quantities of antibiotic-like substances, including lactic acid, acetic acid, benzoic acid, hydrogen peroxide, acidolin, lactocidin and acidophilin
Killing or inhibiting yeast growth
Producing vitamins, including niacin, folic acid, biotin, and vitamin B6
Assisting food digestion, enzyme levels, and bowel regularity
Regulating pH value: by producing lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide... they increase the acidity of intestine (lower pH value) and inhibit the reproduction and proliferation of many harmful bacteria and yeasts. This aids absorption of minerals, especially calcium, due to the increased intestinal acidity
Detoxifying and protecting the intestines: Lactobacilli tend to combine with toxins such as heavy metals, and carcinogens; they die from toxins and are eliminated (together with the toxins) as solid waste.
Reducing cholesterol levels when high
Supporting the immune system: In one experiment, only 10 bad bacteria (Salmonella) were necessary to kill a guinea pig with an inadequate amount of beneficial bacteria, but about a trillion cells were required to kill an animal with its full natural beneficial microorganisms present.
Reducing risks of cancer and certain tumors
Competing with pathogenic (capable of causing disease) bacteria and yeasts for food and space. In healthy humans, good bacteria and yeast cover the surface of the mucosa, and pathogenic bacteria and yeast cannot attach themselves.
*References will be provided on request.