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Acidophilus

             

Systems Affected:
Bowels, digestion, enhance the absorption of nutrients, and liver.

Bodily Influence:
Antibiotic, antifungal, anti-tumor activity, anti-cholesteremic and anti-lipidemic,  produces B vitamins, and lactase enzymes.

General:
Lactobacillus acidophilus is a type of "friendly" bacteria that assists in the digestion of proteins, a process in which lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, enzymes, B vitamins, and antibiotic substances that inhibit pathogenic organisms are produced. Acidophilus has antifungal properties, help to reduce blood cholesterol levels, aid in digestion, and enhances the absorption of nutrients.

The flora in the healthy colon should consist of least 80% lactobacilli and 15% coliform bacteria. However, the typical colon bacteria count today is the reverse. This can result in gas, bloating, intestinal and systemic toxicity, constipation, and malabsportion of nutrients, and is conductive to an over-growth of candida.

Lactobacillus bifidus aids in the synthesis of the B vitamins by creating healthy intestinal flora. L. bifudus is the predominant organism in the intestinal flora and establishes a healthy environment for the manufacture of the B-complex vitamins and vitamin K.

When you take antibiotics, the "friendly" bacteria in the digestive tract are destroyed along with the harmful bacteria. Unhealthy flora can result in the liberation of abnormally high levels of ammonia as protein containing foods are digested. This irritates the intestinal membranes. In addition, the ammonia is absorbed into the bloodstream and must be detoxified by the liver, or it will cause nausea, a decrease in appetite, vomiting, and other toxic reactions.

By promoting the proper digestion of foods, the friendly bacteria also aids in preventing digestive disorders such as constipation and gas, as well as food allergies. If digestion is poor, the activity of intestinal bacterial on undigested food may lead to excessive production of the body chemical histamine, which triggers allergic symptoms.

Yeast infections of the vaginal tract respond very favorably to douching with L. bifidus preparations. These microorganisms destroy the pathogenic organisms. When used as an enema, L. bifidus also helps establish a healthy intestinal environment. It improves bowel function by aiding peristalsis, and results in the production of a softer, smoother stool. Harmful bacterial is kept in check, and toxic wastes that have accumulated in the intestines are destroyed and/or eliminated from the body.

Many people who do not respond to L.acidophilus react positively to L.bifidus. Many experts consider L.bifidus to be preferable to L.acidophilus for use in children and for adults with liver disorders.

Prebiotics:
Prebiotics are food for the beneficial intestinal flora (good bugs).

FOS( Fructooligosaccharides) are non-digestible carbohydrates which encourage the growth of the beneficial intestinal bacteria (L. acidophilus and B. bifidum), but not the harmful bacteria. FOS are naturally occurring sugars that have beneficial effects as food ingredients. FOS are considered to be a health enhancing food ingredient.

FOS are available in a wide variety of edible plants such as banana, garlic, honey, barley, onion, wheat, tomato, rye, chicory, Jerusalem artichoke and brown sugar. FOS are not toxic and are free of side effects. FOS are selectively utilized by Acidophilus, Bifidus and Faecium for their better survival, viability, growth and proliferation.

FOS promotes, stabilizes and enhances the proliferation of these beneficial bacteria into the hostile gastrointestinal environment. Incorporation of FOS in diet or supplement will intensify the viability and adhesion of the beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.

Conversely, pathogenic bacteria including Escherchia coli, Clostridium perfringers and others have been shown to be unable to utilize the FOS.

FOS offer the following benefits to human gastrointestinal ecology:

Stimulates growth of Acidophilus, Bifidus and Faecium
Causes reduction in fecal pH, toxic metabolites, serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Reduces blood pressure of elderly hyperlipemic people
Alters metabolism of bile acid. Modifies composition and rate of production of secondary bile acids
Reduces carbohydrate and lipid absorption, thereby normalizing blood glucose and serum lipids
Ameliorates derangements of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in diabetics

Since, FOS are not available to us in desired amounts, supplementation of commercial FOS is necessary. Some companies are selling FOS as a nutritional supplement, while others add it to their probiotics. Daily supplementation of FOS up to 8 grams (two teaspoons) has been suggested by various health professionals.

In adults, the predominant beneficial intestinal bacteria are Bifidobacterium bifidum and Lactobacillus acidophilus. B. bifidum resides in the large intestine (colon), while L. acidophilus is found in the small intestine, and to a lesser extent, the large intestine.

In his book Total Wellness (Prima Publishing, 1996), Joseph Pizzorno, N.D. writes that beneficial bacteria "...play many important roles, a crucial one of which is inhibiting the growth of toxic bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeasts, and parasites...also aid in digestion, synthesize vitamins, reduce blood ammonia levels, lower cholesterol levels, neutralize carcinogens, and stimulates the immune system."

Microlight Nutritional Products offers FOS derived from chicory root as nature's most potent source of Fructoogliosaccharides (FOS). Chicory (95% FOS) is the highest natural source of inulin fructoogliosaccharides (FOS). This specific product differs from other sources of inulides in that the chain length (degree of polymerization, i.e. DP) is specific with an average of 12 DP. Inulides or FOS with this degree of polymerization are not metabolized by the human body as inulin, because humans lack the required specific enzyme inulinase. Consequently, this type of FOS with a molecular weight below <5000 reaches the gut neither broken down by stomach acid nor metabolized; instead they are available in the lower intestine where they stimulate the growth of, and are metabolized by Bifodobacterium, thus improving host health.

Reported results for chicory derived (95% FOS) state these soluble fibers promote the growth of these same Bifodobacterium, generating physiological and health benefits by limiting the growth of undesirable perfringens and salmonella in the lower intestine, thereby lowering cholesterol and reducing blood pressure.

Other research has shown that similar types of FOS (produced synthetically from glucose) encourage Bifidobacertium populations by a dramatic tenfold increase over a two month trial period. MNP has chosen the natural source over neosugars which are produced artificially by fermentation. Chicory FOS is a longer chain of fructose units and is more easily tolerated by the body as compared to short chain neo sugars which were originally developed for agricultural use. Additionally, chicory FOS has been shown in scientific studies to selectively promote the growth of important beneficial lower intestinal (friendly) bacteria, like bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.

Recent human studies conducted by Gibson, et al. (1995) at the Dunn Clinical Nutrition Center (UK) demonstrates that chickory FOS renders healthy bifidobacteria, the predominate specie in feces and colon, while stagnating or decreasing numbers of pathogenic and putrefactive bacteria, such as bacterocides, fusobacteria, colostridia and coliforms.

This application gains importance when considering the documented benefits of increased Bifidum colonization. By increasing the acidity of the lower colon, Bifidum bacteria has shown antimicrobial activity and a subsequent reduction of putrefactive material in the intestines. The chemicals formed by putrefaction and displaced microorganisms such as candida albicans have been implicated in colon cancer cell formation, nutrient malabsorption and gastric upset, which is overcome as the ecobalance swings in favor of "friendly probiotics", Chicory FOS prepared by water extraction of chickory roots is a white, slightly sweet powder with a neutral pH (pH 7.0). Fructooligosaccharide defined as inulin is a subset of not less than 94.5% --carbohydrate material predominates. Since these are largely not metabolized by humans a lower delivered count is achieved. Since the metabolism of these carbohydrates by Bifidobacertium results in the formation of ATP, (adenosine triphosphate, the end energy unit achieved during the Krebs cycle) a sustained energy source results.

Probiotics produce enzymes that help us digest our food.  They are even responsible for manufacturing B vitamins in the process of metabolizing nutrients.  By cleaning up the gastrointestinal tract, probiotic supplements reduce symptoms such as bad breath, gas, and diarrhea that stem from digestive problems.  They also treat more serious conditions such as vaginal and yeast infections, and even some food allergies. 

Most of the microorganisms in our bodies coexist in the intestines, which contain more bacteria than there are cells in the body.  Maintaining many diverse types of bacteria is important, so that one particularly noxious strain cannot take control of the gut or one particularly beneficial strain cannot be singled out for damage.

At birth, the human intestine is sterile.  Upon delivery, however, the intestinal tract becomes colonized; its initial dose of bacteria is picked up as a baby passes through its mother's birth canal and inhales all the microbial inhabitants through its tiny, screaming mouth. A substance that protects against bacterial infection, lactoferrin, is then transferred from mother to child during breast-feeding.

Helicobacter bacteria can saturate the intestine in severe situations, seeping through the intestinal lining to cause disease or overstimulate the immune system.  One bacterium in particular has gotten a lot of bad press as a dangerous one to watch: Helicobacter Pylon.  In humans and animals alike this pathogen causes ulcers, which can lead to serious disease.  Salmonella is  another infamous bacterium often found in infected chickens.  But perhaps the most feared strain of bacteria is Escherichia coli, which can contaminate red meat.

Probiotics, however, are a group of gut-friendly bacteria. They're also known as lactic acid bacteria, so-called because when they ferment sugar to make food for themselves, they produce lactic acid.  They make up a small subsection of the vast spectrum of micro-organisms occupying our intestines.

The Different Probiotics:

Bifidobacterium bifidum: Bifidobacteria are among the most populous lactic-acid bacteria in the human intestinal tract.  B. bifidum in particular prefers the mucous membranes of the large intestines and vaginal tract.  This strain of bacteria staunchly protects the gut from harmful invading organisms by crowding them out and depriving them of the nutrients they need to survive.  It also produces both lactic and acetic acid, which lower the intestinal pH and keep pathogens from growing.

Bifidobacterium longum:Concentrated primarily in the large intestine, it acts much like B. bifidum, its bacterial cousin, by lowering gut pH to kill harmful organisms, crowding out the ones that do live and ultimately reducing the frequency of gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea and nausea during antibiotic use.

DDS-1:
Once called the superstrain of all probiotics, this powerful form of L. acidophilus was developed in a laboratory for the express purpose of being the ultimate in healthy bacteria.  Although we now know a lone superstrain cannot be enough, DDS-1 is still useful in conjunction with other probiotics.

One study found that consuming milk products containing DDS-1 led to a 16 to 41 percent reduction of cancer proliferation in animals.

Enterococcus faecium: For those prone to the diarrhea-causing diseases common in developing nations, this is a wonder probiotic.  It's effective against viral, bacterial, and fungal microorganisms.  While some claim that this is a controversial bacterium that may produce harmful enterotoxins, these statements haven't been substantiated.  Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has researched E. faecium extensively for use in Bangladesh, where diarrhea is a serious health threat.

Fructooligosaccharides (FOS):These are not bacteria, but they promote the growth and activity of friendly bacteria in the gut.  A naturally occurring compound found in fruits and vegetables, FOS pass through us easily, inhibiting the growth of pathogens and enhancing the growth of healthy organisms such as bifidobacteria.

Lactobacillus acidophilus:
The best-known and most extensively researched of all healthy bacteria, this strain is so common in probiotic supplements that other types of microorganisms are often described by this name.  It's the most abundant bacterium in the small intestine and probably the most effective.  It inhibits the actions of pathogenic bacteria and produces its own natural antibiotics, such as lactocidin and acidophilin, to blast harmful organisms out of the digestive system.

Lactobacillus bulgaricus: L. bulgaricus moves around in the intestinal tract and plays a key supportive role in the bacterial drama unfolding in the gut.  It's most famous as one of the two main active cultures in yogurt.  The main dangerous bacteria it fights are Staphylococcus, Shigella, and H.  Pylon.

Lactobacillus casei: A close relative of L acidophilus, this bacteria's greatest claim to fame is that it activates white blood cells and secretes a substance called peptidoglycan, that enhances our immune systems.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus: A hardy, ever-abundant little microorganism, L. rhamnosus resists the caustic bile salts sloshing through the gut and adheres to the intestinal lining.  As it colonizes, L rhamnosus protects the intestinal tract from the invasion of harmful bacteria. 

Studies suggest that this bacterium decreases the severity of symptoms such as intestinal inflammation and sensitivity due to food allergy and eczema.  It also produces the enzyme lactase, and may reduce the symptoms of lactose intolerance such as gas, bloating, and bad breath.

Streptococcus thermophilus: Another strain found in yogurt-this bacteria is also thought to alleviate lactose intolerance problems because it produces lactase.

Healing:

Antibiotic:
Acidophilus is a natural antibiotic. There is a growing consensus as to the beneficial attributes of acidophilus in human and animal nutrition and health. Acidophilus is the body's resident lactic acid producing bacteria, also known as Probiotics (meaning: in favor of life). Probiotics are essential tenants of the digestive and vaginal tracts. They promote mucosal immunity, better nutrition, and improve intestinal microbial balance. They produce natural antibiotics which help protect the intestinal and vaginal mucosal tissues from harmful fungi such as yeast.

Many people may not realize, that when antibiotics, (such as penicillin) kill or inhibit harmful, disease-causing bacteria (pathogens), they also kill or inhibit helpful strains such as Lactobacillus acidophilus. When this occurs the bad bacteria such as yeast (Candida albicans) can cause a wide range of health problems ranging from recurring "yeast" infections to depression, chronic fatigue, sinusitis, and a complex array of illnesses. A number of researchers over the years have reported on the complications resulting from the extensive use of antibiotics. They emphasized the significance of a "bacterial equilibrium" in the intestinal tract. They also observed the favorable influence of certain Lactobacillus acidophilus in the Acidophilus has many benefits. Counter-acting of overgrowth of pathogens in the intestines. They is a specific strain of acidophilus that is known to produce a natural antibiotic; it has been shown to possess a wide range of antimicrobial activity against common food-borne pathogens.

Bad Breath:
Putrefying bacteria cause halitosis (bad breath); when putrefying bacteria are dominant in the intestine, they produce objectionable gases. Acidophilus keeps those putrefying bacteria in check, thus helping to prevent bad breath.

Cancer:
There's some suggestion that acidophilus can help fight cancer in the gastrointestinal tract.

Laboratory rats with various kinds were infused with extracts of friendly microorganisms, and their tumors shrank by 20 percent or more and stopped growing. Animals treated with friendly microorganisms lived twice as long as those in the control group.

A study at Tufts University in Boston found that oral acidophilus helps kill off certain enzymes that help convert chemicals in our bodies into cancer-causing substances.

Researchers at the National Institute for the Study and Cure of Cancers in Milan, Italy, set out to evaluate the role of these friendly microorganisms on MCF7 breast cancer cells in vitro. Five different bacterial strains were used: Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium animalis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Lactobacillus paracasei. All the bacterial strains were grown in reconstituted skim milk. The results showed a growth inhibition induced by all the fermented milks. However, B. infantis and L acidophilus were the most effective.

Interestingly, the anti-proliferative effect was not related to the presence of bacteria in fermented milk, and neither whole milk, nor its main fractions (lactalbumin or B-lactoglobulin fractions). Something else was influencing the inhibition of the breast cancer cells.

The researchers conclude, "Our finding suggest the presence of an ex novo soluble compound produced by lactic acid bacteria during milk fermentation or the microbial transformation of some milk components in a biologically active form. Although the mechanism of the anti-tumor activity is not clear, the present study suggests the potentiality offered by fermented milk as producers of compounds with anti-proliferative activity useful in the prevention and therapy of solid tumors like breast cancer."

Now it has been discovered that acidophilus and other lactic cultures may discourage colon, rectal and even breast cancer. For more than two decades, numerous studies have revealed that these cultures-including L. bulgaricus, bifidobacterium infantis, streptococcus thermophilus, L. helveticus, L. casei and L. lactis have suppressed growth of cancers.

The various forms of acidophilus that raised the pH factor in the intestines were responsible, according to Michael Wargovich, M.D., assistant professor of cell biology at the M.D. Anderson Tumor Institute in Houston, who added that a low pH in the colon increases the risk of colon cancer. Wargovich also reported that an ingredient in garlic, added to easily-assimilated calcium like that from cultured dairy products, can prevent colon cancer by blocking early changes in tissue that lead to cancer changes in cells were stopped by the positive influence of garlic on raising colonic pH.

Another biochemical, rectal anticancer mechanism by acidophilus and some other lactobacilli appears to be their ability to absorb and isolate cancer-causing agents so that they can be removed from the intestines.

Scientists at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Paris studied the diets of two groups of women-1,010 with breast cancer and a similar group without, Those who ate yogurt most frequently had a lower risk of breast cancer, As yogurt eating increased, breast cancer decreased.

Cholesterol:
It possesses anti-cholesteremic and anti-lipidemic factors. Several studies show significant reduction of serum cholesteremic and anti-lipidemic factors. Studies also show significant reduction of serum cholesterol levels after supplementation with acidophilus.

Digestion:
For minor cases of lactose intolerance, acidophilus milk may digest more easily, says Georges Halpern, M.D., Ph.D., adjunct professor of medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of California. The busy little bacteria work to help break down lactose before it causes havoc in your gut.

Diverticulitis:
Take fiber and acidophilus first thing in the morning before breakfast to help the bowels move at this time.

Lactose intolerance:
Acidophilus produces B vitamins, and lactase enzymes, which help digest lactose, for those who are lactose intolerant. It also produces enzymes, which help to digest food, correct digestive disorders and decrease bloating.

Liver:
L. bifidus has proved useful in the treatment of cirrhosis of the liver and chronic hepatitis; by improving digestion, it reduces the strain on the liver.

Yeast Infections:
For women plagued with recurrent yeast infections, acidophilus can be a real blessing. These vaginal infections occur often when helpful bacteria in your system are killed off, often by antibiotics.


13 women in a study at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center ate yogurt with acidophilus bacteria every day, they had only 4 yeast infections among them over a period of 6 months. In a 6-month period when they didn't eat yogurt, the same women have 32 yeast infections among them.

The New England Journal Of Medicine has published a research article indicating acidophilus can prevent and possibly cure yeast infections.

Stability:
Acidophilus can die at high temperatures. Whatever product you choose, keep it in a cool, dry place-refrigerate but do not freeze it. Take it on an empty stomach in the morning and one hour before each meal.

Warnings:
If you are taking antibiotics, do not take the antibiotics and acidophilus simultaneously.

References:

Burros, Marian. "Does 'Yogurt On The Label Make It So" The New YorkTimes, Sept. 19,1990.

Carper, Jean. The Food Pharmacy. New York: Bantam Books, 1988.

Fernandez, Custy F., and Shahani, Khem M., "Anticarcinogenic and Immunological Properties of Dietary Lactobacilli," University of Nebraska,Lincoln, Sept. II, 1989.

Finhein, Richard "The  Nutraceutical Revolution" (1998)

Hilton, Eileen, M.D., et al. "Ingestion of Yogurt Containing Lactobacillus Acidophilus as Prohylaxis for Candidal Vaginitis," Annals of Internal Medicine, Mar. 1, 1992.

Pizzomo, Joseph "Total Wellness" (Prima Publishing, 1996

Scheer, James. "Acidophilus-Our Second Immune System"