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What's the Story with Probiotics?

As a follow on from our series of articles on gut health, I thought it appropriate this week to write a little more about probiotics. We all know probiotics are the good bacteria we need for good gut health. Interestingly our body contains more than 500 probiotic strains. Researchers are now finding however certain individual strains can be more relevant to specific health conditions.

We now know gut health can be a contributor to stress, anxiety and depression. The probiotic strain Lactobacillus Rhamnosus has been found to be one the most effective strains in the treatment of this health problem as well as allergies, lactose intolerance, diarrhea, constipation and inflammatory bowel disease.

It is also now acknowledged that poor gut health can contribute to allergies. The strains Lactobacillus Rhamnosus as well as Lactobacillus Casei have been found to be effective in treatment and prevention of allergies as well as immune enhancement.

Lactobacillus acidophilus is probably the best known probiotic strain, helping to maintain good immune health as well as controlling the growth of yeast infections such as Candida Albicans. It is important in maintaining the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut and is the strain we find in fermented dairy products such as yoghurt.

Lactobacillus Plantarum is one of the most important strains because it helps to control inflammation in the gut, particularly IBS, as well as protecting the gut wall preventing leaky gut. It is also very effective in digesting protein which is helpful in preventing food allergies. As well it is believed to help eradicate pathogenic bacteria and viruses. It is the strain found in sauerkraut, fermented vegetables and sour dough bread.

Another interesting strain is Bifidobacterium Longum which is one of the first strains to colonise our bodies during birth. This strain has also been linked to preventing food allergies, lactose intolerance plus diarrhea.

Lactobacillus Salivarius is important because it supplies certain enzymes and nutrients which help repair the intestinal tract. It’s also believed to help clear layered fecal matter from the colon as well as help with digestion and absorption of food.

I could go on and on listing the various strains however it is important to note taking just one strain of probiotic will not be sufficient to colonise the gut which is why most probiotic supplements contain several strains of probiotics. Generally, the small intestine benefits from the Lactobacillus strains and the large intestine from the Bifidobacterium strains. For some strains to be effective they need to attach to the lining of the gut wall to enable the good bacteria to flourish and colonize the gut. Other strains will colonize in other parts of the gut or colonize the food as it passes through the digestive tract.

One of my preferred probiotic formulas also contains prebiotics. Probiotics and prebiotics work together to help the growth of our body’s healthy bacteria and support healthy digestion. Prebiotics are ‘non living’ food which reach the large intestine unaffected by digestion and feed the good bacteria. This is extremely important and sets this product apart from most probiotic formulas as the probiotics provide the live active bacteria and the prebiotics provide the food for the probiotics’ survival.

For more information on probiotics and gut health call to see Bev and the team at Go Vita, Your Health Shop in North St in Batemans Bay or phone on 0244729737. Don’t forget to tune into Bev and Marianne on 2EC every Wednesday at 12.15pm on Go Get Healthy.

Yours in Health, Bev Dunne


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