Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria
Balancing the intestinal ecosystem
Microbial numbers and the intestinal eocsystem
The vaginal microflora
Intestinal microflora in the newborn infant
How do probiotics work?
Mechanisms of action of probiotics
Effects of probiotics on the intestinal microflora
Custom probiotics CP-1: A highly effective probiotic supplement
Probiotics play a key role in human nutrition and health in balancing the intestinal microflora naturally. Probiotics have been used therapeutically to modulate immunity, improve digestive processes, lower cholesterol, treat rheumatoid arthritis, prevent cancer, improve lactose intolerance, and prevent or reduce the effects of atopic dermatitis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, IBS, diarrhoea, constipation as well as Candida and urinary tract infections.
Our probiotics are available in capsule and powder formulations ranging from a minimum 25 billion probiotic bacteria per capsule to 100-300 billion per gram for the powders at the time of expiration, verified by independent laboratory testing.
Adult formulation CP-1 contains five superior strains of freeze-dried probiotic microorganisms with a minimum total bacterial count of 25 billion per capsule guaranteed at date of expiry, which is usually one year after manufacture. These strains are L. Acidophilus, L.Rhamnosus,L. Plantarum, B. Longum and B. Bifidum, and are most specifically helpful to the small and large intestines. To be effective we feel that a probiotic supplement should have a high bacterial count and a blend of different genera. Our latest independent laboratory test results indicate around 70 billion total bacterial count per capsule. This count is much higher than claimed to be found in most probiotics products on the market today.
Our CP-1 Acidophilus and Bifidus supplements are dairy free, hypoallergenic, and do not contain any artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, sugar, gluten or FOS. (All FOS contain free sugar).
Each bottle of our CP-1 Acidophilus and Bifidus supplements contains 90 capsules.
The term 'probiotic' is derived from the Greek, meaning ‘for life’. Probiotics are currently defined as ‘live microorganisms which, when consumed in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit to the host’. Common descriptions for probiotics include ‘friendly’, ‘beneficial’ or ‘healthy’ bacteria.
Probiotic bacteria are generally, though not exclusively, lactic acid bacteria and include Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. casei, L. bulgaricus, L. plantarum, L. salivarius, L. rhamnosus, L. reuteri, Bifidobacterium bifidum, B. longum, B. infantis and S. thermophilus. Probiotic bacteria are used in the production of yogurt, various fermented milk products and dietary supplements.
LACTOBACILLI AND BIFIDOBACTERIA
Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria are Gram-positive lactic acid-producing bacteria that constitute a major part of the normal intestinal microflora in animals and humans. These friendly bacteria play a key role in enhancing resistance to colonization by exogenous, potentially pathogenic organisms.
Lactobacilli are Gram-positive, non-spore forming rods or coccobacilli. They have complex nutritional requirements and are strictly fermentative, aerotolerant or anaerobic, aciduric or acidophilic. Lactobacilli are found in a variety of habitats where rich, carbohydrate-containing substrates are available, such as human and animal mucosal membranes, on plants or material of plant origin, sewage and fermenting or spoiling food.
Bifidobacteria constitute a major part of the normal intestinal microflora in humans throughout life. They appear in the stools a few days after birth and increase in number thereafter. The number of bifidobacteria in the colon of adults is 1010 - 1011 CFU/gram, but this number decreases with age. Also demographic differences affect the number and species of bifidobacteria. Bifidobacteria are nonmotile, nonsporulating Gram-positive rods with varying appearance. Most strains are strictly anaerobic. B. longum may be considered as the most common species of bifidobacteria, being found both in infant and adult faeces. This species is closely related to B. infantis, which often leads to identification problems.
BALANCING THE INTESTINAL ECOSYSTEM
The condition and function of the gastrointestinal tract is essential to our well being. After the respiratory tract, the GI tract constitutes the second largest body surface area, comparable in surface area to a tennis court. During a normal lifetime, about 60 tons of food will pass through this canal.
The human intestinal microflora is highly important to the host for several reasons. Firstly, microflora benefit the host by increasing resistance to new colonization as well as by protecting against the overgrowth of already-present potentially pathogenic organisms. Another function important to the host is the high metabolic activity of the intestinal flora. The extent of this activity has been claimed to be similar to that of the liver. Administration of antimicrobial agents, such as antibiotics, is the most common cause of disruption of the balance of the normal microflora and leads to decreased resistance to colonization ( known clinically as loss of colonisation resistance), and to alterations in the metabolic activities of the intestinal flora.
It is likely that the first scientific assessments of probiotics were made in 1908, based on the work of the Russian Nobel Prize Laureate Elie Metchnikoff. He first hypothesized that a high concentration of lactobacilli in intestinal flora were important for health and longevity in humans. Indeed, we now know that intestinal flora plays an important role in health: stimulating the immune system, protecting the host from invading bacteria and viruses, aiding digestion and assimilation of food. Yet, the importance of these bacteria in the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract has been neglected for a long time, while the focus was merely placed on enteric pathogens and other factors leading to gastrointestinal "disorders".
The composition of the gastrointestinal flora differs among individuals, and also throughout life within the same individual. Many factors, such as diet or climate, ageing, medications (especially antibiotics), illness, stress, pH, infection, geographic location, race, socioeconomic circumstances, and lifestyle can upset this balance. Interactions of typical intestinal bacteria may also contribute to stabilization or destabilization. A state of balance within the microbial population within the GI tract can be called "eubiosis" while an imbalance is termed "dysbiosis". For optimum "gut flora balance", the beneficial bacteria, such as the gram-positive Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, should predominate, presenting a barrier to invading organisms. Around 85% of the intestinal microflora in a healthy person should be good bacteria and 15% bad bacteria. The greater the imbalance, the greater the likely symptoms. The use of probiotics may be the most natural, safe and common sense approach for keeping the balance of the intestinal ecosystem.
MICROBIAL NUMBERS AND THE INTESTINAL ECOSYSTEM
The 25-35 foot long GI tract of an adult human is estimated to harbour about 100 trillion viable bacteria. This is approximately 10 times the total number of cells in the human body. These live bacteria account for around 2 lbs of a body's weight and are known as intestinal or gut flora. Viruses, fungi and protozoa can also be present, but these normally form only a minor component of the total resident population of micro-organisms in healthy individuals.
The density of micro-organisms in the gut flora increases dramatically from 10-1,000 CFU/ml (Colony Forming Units basically mean live bacteria) in the stomach to 10-100 billion CFU/gm in the large intestine and these belong to as many as 400 different species. Anaerobic bacteria outnumber aerobic bacteria by a factor of 1000:1. Anaerobic flora is dominated by Bacteroides spp., bifidobacteria, propionibacteria and clostridia. Among aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, enterobacteria, (mainly E.coli), and enterococci predominate.
Bacteria have been estimated to constitute 35-50% of the volume of the contents in the human colon. They profoundly influence nutritional, physiologic and protective processes. Both direct and indirect defensive functions are provided by the normal microflora. Specifically, gut bacteria directly prevent colonization by pathogenic organisms by competing for essential nutrients or for epithelial attachment sites. By producing antimicrobial compounds, volatile fatty acids, and chemically modified bile acids, indigenous gut bacteria also create a local environment that is generally unfavourable for the growth of enteric pathogens. This phenomenon is called Colonization Resistance, which can be defined as the ability of micro-organisms belonging to the normal gut microflora to impede the implantation of pathogens. This function of the microflora is also known as the barrier effect. While probiotic bacteria improve colonization resistance, consensus thinking is that the importance of lactic acid bacteria as probiotic agents lies more in the indirect mechanisms such as immunomodulation.
The normal or indigenous microflora of man consists of a resident (autochtonous) part, which largely stays with the host organism, and a transient part, which may dynamically change in composition. This is not unique for man as it also applies to animals. The turnover of the transient part of the microflora of the digestive tract depends both on the composition of the resident flora or Colonization Resistance, and on the degree of contamination (both qualitatively and quantitatively) of ingested food and beverages. Regarding the latter, hygienic conditions of the environment are important.
The defence systems in the gut can be divided into three parts: the gut flora, the gut mucosa and epithelium and the related immune system.
The intestine, composed of villi and crypts, is coated with mucus that protects the intestinal cells. At the bottom of the crypts lie specialised cells known as Paneth cells that are able to release antimicrobial molecules into the gut lumen. The intestinal flora, present mainly in the colon, forms a natural barrier to pathogens. The intestinal immune system comprises cells disseminated beneath the epithelium and also between epithelial cells (intraepithelial lymphocytes). Lymphocytes are also found within more organised structures, lymphoid follicles, with a central region of B lymphocytes and a lateral region of T lymphocytes. Above these structures, we find M cells, which are specialised in transporting particles to the follicle. These areas of the intestine are known as Peyer's patches. When a lymphocyte is activated by a dendritic cell presenting an antigen, it leaves the mucosa in lymph and enters the bloodstream via the thoracic canal. This activated lymphocyte then colonises either the same mucosa or other mucosal effector sites.
THE VAGINAL MICROFLORA
Although less complex than the gastrointestinal microflora, the normal vaginal microflora of the premenopausal woman is composed of a variety of bacterial species. Anaerobes are most frequently isolated and appear in numbers of 107 - 109 CFU/ml of vaginal secretion. Lactobacillus spp. is the most frequently isolated genus found in the highest numbers. They play a role in maintaining the balance of the normal vaginal flora by producing hydrogen peroxide. It has been shown that approximately 70% of premenopausal, healthy women harbour hydrogen peroxide-producing lactobacilli. Corynebacterium, Staphylococcus and Bacteroides spp. are among the anaerobes frequently isolated.
INTESTINAL MICROFLORA IN THE NEWBORN INFANT
Foetuses are sterile in the womb, but beginning with the birth process, infants are exposed to microbes that originate from the mother and the surrounding environment including breast milk or formula. The infant tends to acquire the flora swallowed from the vaginal fluid at the time of delivery. Because vaginal flora and intestinal flora are similar, an infant's flora may closely mimic the intestinal flora of the mother.
Another factor affecting the intestinal flora of the newborn is delivery mode. A normal vaginal delivery commonly permits transfer of bacteria from the mother to the infant. During caesarean deliveries, this transfer is completely absent. These infants commonly acquire, and are colonized with, flora from the hospital's environment and, therefore, their flora may differ from maternal flora. Infants delivered by caesarean section are colonized with more anaerobic bacteria, especially Bacteroides, than vaginally delivered infants. Clostridium perfringens is the anaerobic bacterium most frequently isolated after caesarean deliveries. When colonized, caesarean delivered infants less frequently harbour E. coli, and more often klebsiella and enterobacteria.
The initial colonizing bacteria vary with the food source of the infant. In breast-fed infants, Bifidobacteria account for more than 90% of the total intestinal bacteria. The low concentration of protein in human milk, the presence of specific anti-infective proteins such as immunoglobulin A, lactoferrin, lysozyme, and oligosacharides (prebiotics), as well as production of lactic acid, cause an acid milieu and are the main reasons for its bifidogenic characteristics. In bottle-fed infants, Bifidobacteria are not predominant. Instead enterobacteria and gram-negative organisms dominate because of a more alkaline milieu and the absence of the prebiotic modulatory factors present in breast milk.
The establishment of an intestinal microbial ecology is very variable at the beginning but will become a more stable system similar to the adult microflora by the end of the breastfeeding period.
Other factors affecting the intestinal microflora of the infant include geographical differences (industrialized vs. developing countries) and administration of antibiotics in neonatal intensive care.
HOW DO PROBIOTICS WORK?
Probiotics must be ingested regularly for any health promoting properties to persist. It is possible to manipulate the composition of the intestinal microflora in adults through dietary supplementation with probiotics. This concept is gaining popularity throughout the world.
The mode of action of a probiotic may include host microflora modulation, (by improvement of the microbial balance via interaction of orally applied viable microbes with the microflora in the digestive tract lumen), the modulation of host metabolic activities, (by stabilizing digestive enzyme pattern), and immunomodulation, (by activation and regulation of mucosa-associated and systemic immune system responses). These modes of action are also strain-dependent.
The intestinal microflora provides protection against a broad range of pathogens, including certain forms of Clostridia, Escherichia Coli, Salmonella, Shigella and Pseudomonas, as well as yeasts such as Candida albicans.
MECHANISMS OF ACTION OF PROBIOTICS
Antimicrobial Effects of Probiotics.
|A.||Modify microflora to suppress pathogens.|
|B.||Secrete antibacterial substances. Probiotic bacteria produce a variety of substances that are inhibitory to both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. These include organic acids, hydrogen peroxide and bacteriocins. These compounds may reduce not only the number of viable pathogenic organisms but may also affect bacterial metabolism and toxin production. This occurs through reduction of luminal pH through the production of volatile short-chain fatty acids, mainly acetates, propionates and butyrates. And of course, through production of lactic acid (Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, Streptococcus), leading to a reduction in colonic pH.|
|C.||Compete with pathogens to prevent their adhesion to the intestine.|
|D.||Compete for nutrients necessary for pathogen survival|
Effect of Probiotics on the Intestinal Epithelium
|A.||Promote tight contact between epithelial cells forming a functional barrier.|
|B.||Reducing the secretory and inflammatory consequences of bacterial infection.|
|C.||Enhancing the production of defensive molecules such as mucins.|
Immune Effects of Probiotics
|A.||Probiotics acting as vehicles to deliver anti-inflammatory molecules to the Intestine.|
|B.||Enhance signalling in host cells to reduce inflammatory response.|
|C.||Switch in immune response to reduce allergy.|
|D.||Reduce the production of inflammatory substances.|
EFFECTS OF PROBIOTICS ON THE INTESTINAL MICROFLORA
Probiotics modulate the composition of the intestinal microflora. The survival of ingested probiotics in different parts of the gastrointestinal tract differs between strains. As a result of their concentration in the lumen, they contribute to transient modulation of the microflora ecology, at least during the period of intake. This specific change may be seen in the GI tract for a few days after the start of consumption of the probiotic preparation, depending on the dosage of the strain in question. Results show that with regular consumption, the bacteria temporarily colonise the lower intestine. Once consumption stops, the number of probiotic microorganisms quickly falls. This applies to all probiotic supplements available in the market today.
Many studies have demonstrated significant shifts in bacterial counts in human faeces following consumption of specific probiotic strains, generally resulting in increased numbers of health-promoting genera (Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium) and decreased numbers of potentially harmful ones (such as several strains of Clostridum, Enterococcus and Candida). These studies, however, reflect the bacteriological situation in faecal matter only and do not provide an accurate picture of the situation in different parts of the gastrointestinal tract or in the mucosal layer of the gut. Furthermore, many species of intestinal bacteria from faecal samples cannot be cultured on specific plates.
Probiotic bacteria modulate the metabolic activity of the gut flora. Probiotics, being able to lower the pH in the intestinal tract, may thus be able to interfere with the enzymatic activity of the flora.
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Custom Probiotics CP-1: A HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENT
Qualities of an effective probiotic dietary supplement include the following:
- Must be of human origin
- Exert a beneficial effect on the host
- Be non-pathogenic and non-toxic
- Contain a large number of viable cells
- Be capable of surviving and metabolizing in the gut
- Remain viable during storage and use
- Be antagonistic to pathogens.
Our custom probiotic formulations meet all these requirements.
Our five-strain Adult Formula CP-1 capsules have a total bacterial count of at least 35 billion microorganisms per capsule at date of expiration. The count at date of manufacture can exceed 78 billion bacteria per capsule. This is independently verified by certified laboratory analysis. Upon request, we will be pleased to share with you the most recent independent laboratory test results, that indicated 69 billion per capsule.
Adult Formula CP-1's high bacterial count, broad-spectrum formulation and high viability of friendly bacteria all contribute to its effectiveness. It is dairy free, hypoallergenic, and does not contain any artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, sugar, gluten or FOS. Our custom probiotic powder formulations range from 100 to 300 billion micro-organisms per gram, the highest potency of any probiotic formulation available in the market today.
We do not use prebiotics, such as fructooligosacharides (F0S) or inulin, in our formulations, with a view to eliminating possible adverse reactions by highly allergic and sensitive individuals, such as those suffering from Candida or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients. Most FOS in today’s market contains 5-40% free sugar. We suggest getting FOS from vegetables such as onion, garlic, asparagus, dandelion, artichokes and leeks, which have many additional health promoting and nutritional benefits.
Growth characteristics of probiotics appear to be species-specific and depend on the amount ingested and duration of administration. The greater the bacterial imbalance in the digestive system, the higher the dosage required for positive and measurable results.
Dosage differs from individual to individual. You must find the appropriate dosage for you, which may be 1, 2 or 6 of our Adult Formula CP-1 capsules per day. We suggest gradually increasing the probiotic dosage from one capsule to a maximum of six capsules per day to find the appropriate dosage. Like a fingerprint, the composition of the intestinal microflora is quite different from one human to another, which is an immediate obstacle in manipulating it. Hence the appropriate dosage of probiotics needs to be determined individually.
How you use a probiotic depends on why you are taking it. If the primary purpose for taking the probiotic is to aid digestion, then you must take it with meals. If the goal is to have the probiotic reach the lower intestinal tract, then it may be more appropriate to take it between meals, with a large glass of tepid water. Water dilutes the stomach acids and moves the organisms quickly into the intestinal tract. Probiotics can also be used for both purposes by taking some with meals and some between meals. We suggest taking probiotics first thing in the morning and at bedtime, with water.
There will, inevitably, be some loss of activity of probiotics during the passage from stomach to colon, due to pH, bile acids and other factors. Successful colonization depends very much on optimal dosing and can be very strain dependent. That is the reason a high potency multi-strain formulation such as our Adult Formula CP-1 and probiotic powders become effective. The gastrointestinal tract harbours about 100 trillion bacteria, more than 90% in the colon. The intake of merely a few billion probiotic ‘friendly bacteria’ a day is unlikely to make much of a difference in most instances. Also please note that our probiotic strains are very much acid resistant.
OUR PRODUCTS SHOULD BE REFRIGERATED TO RETAIN MAXIMUM POTENCY.
Keeping our product at room temperature for 2-3 weeks, however, will have little impact on the bacterial count. We have studied the effect of temperature on our CP-1 capsules. Storing one bottle in an non airconditioned room, in the Californian summer, for five months, resulted in bacterial count reduction from 60 billion cfu's per capsule to 30 billion cfu's per capsule, indicating very good temperature stability of our probiotics.
For further information, comments or ordering of our QUALITY probiotic dietary supplements please review our informative web site, and do not hesitate to Contact Us by phone, fax, email or online store.