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Scientists closer To Discovering Benefits Of Probiotics

The digestive health benefits offered by probiotics are now better understood following the publication of new research from University College Cork.

A study conducted by the Irish institution, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, discovered the genes that are responsible for allowing probiotic bacteria to colonise the intestine.

By sequencing the DNA of Bifidobacterium breve UCC2003, scientists were able to show that the organisms produce finger-like appendages called TAD pili that help them to live in the gut.

Professor Fergus Shanahan, director of the university’s Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, said the research is a “significant step towards understanding the interaction between bifidobacteria and their host and how the microbiota influences gastrointestinal health”.

Knowledge such as this is essential in order to scientifically explain the digestive health benefits associated with probiotics.

Also known as friendly bacteria, probiotics are often used by people to help with problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and even tooth decay.

Extract: Researchers at University College Cork have discovered how probiotics are able to inhabit the gut.

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Probiotics Key In Tackling C.Difficile

A US medical expert has highlighted the potential benefits of using probiotics to treat Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhoea (CDAD).

During a meeting of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, Katherine Marie Sluder of the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center gave a presentation in which she stated that the US is now catching up to Europe in terms of probiotic usage.

She stated that progress is being made in the initiation of clinical studies to support their health benefits, noting that these treatments can help to ease symptoms of CDAD or prevent them entirely, reports the Clinical Advisor.

Ms Sluder also noted that probiotic agents are “dirt cheap” and “far more promising” as CDAD treatments than many traditional over-the-counter antidiarrhoeal products, which would require large quantities to be taken in order to be effective.

This comes after University College Cork published research earlier this month isolating the genes responsible for allowing probiotic bacteria to colonise the intestine, which could be instrumental in proving their clinical benefits.

Extract: Probiotics should be more widely used in treating Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhoea due to their efficacy and cost-effectiveness, according to an expert.

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Probiotics value

So let’s take an example of a typical popular probiotic supplement being marketed today,

Bottle A
This good quality product is £13.00 for 30 capsules, each capsule containing 2 billion live bacteria. The total number of probiotic bacteria in the bottle is 60 billion, making each billion bacteria cost £0.21. In other words, each capsule costs almost almost 50 pence!

Bottle B
A larger size of 120 capsules for $39.95 yields a total of 240 billion bacteria in the whole bottle, bringing the per billion bacteria price down to £0.17 per billion.

Bottle C
By contrast, a bottle of Custom Probiotics CP-1 at £39.98 has 90 capsules, each with around 70 billion bacteria per capsule, making the total number of probiotic bacteria in the bottle 6300 billion, more than 100 times the total in bottle A. This gives a per billion bacteria price of less than half a penny.
Compare this with 21 pence per billion bacteria!
Bottle A – 21 pence
Bottle B – 17 pence
Bottle C – less than half a penny

It is a no-brainer!

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.

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.
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.

Probiotic bacteria are generally, though not exclusively, lactic acid bacteria and the best researched strains include Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. casei, L. bulgaricus, L. plantarum, L. salivarius, L. rhamnosus, L. reuteri, Bifidobacterium bifidum, B. longum, B. infantis and S. thermophilus.
The most common probiotic supplements on the market today will include one or more of the above strains, and will fulfill most or all of the seven criteria listed above for effectiveness.

Probiotics should 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. A state of balance within the microbial population within the GI tract is 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. In addition, the greater the imbalance or dysbiosis, the greater the number of beneficial bacteria required to correct that imbalance. In cases of dysbiosis, such as, for example, candida overgrowth, or after antibiotics, low doses of probiotics make little difference. It is only the higher doses of around 100 billion bacteria per day that are able to effect a significant change within a short period of time.

To use an analogy, using small doses (under 20 billion bacteria per day) to correct a dysbiosis is like invading a very large country with a very small army – the chances of success are slim. One of the reasons for this is that a dysbiotic gut has a pH level that is hostile to good bacteria, so small numbers do not survive. Large numbers (100 billion plus) are able to change the pH level quickly to one that supports good bacteria. Continuing the analogy, this is like invading a very large country with a very large army – the chances of success are much higher! Probiotics, being able to lower the pH in the intestinal tract, may also be able to interfere with the enzymatic activity of the bad bacteria and yeast organisms. A healthy and well balanced 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.The use of probiotics may be the most natural, safe and common sense approach for keeping the balance of the intestinal ecosystem.

Probiotics can 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.
Custom Probiotics CP-1

Our five-strain Adult Formula CP-1 capsules have a total bacterial count of at least 50 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 400 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.