Diet, Nutrition and the Healing & Prevention of Cancer & Other Diseases (XXV)

Probiotics and Lactic Acid Bacteria

On Benefits, Advantages & Health Effects

Adapted by Healing Cancer Naturally from Probiotic, in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia where you can read further

Probiotics are bacterial cultures comprising of potentially beneficial bacteria or yeast, however lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are the most common microbes used. LAB have been used in the food industry for many years, because they are able to convert lactose into lactic acid. This not only provides the characteristic sour taste of fermented dairy foods such as yogurt, but acts as a preservative, by lowering the pH and creating less room for spoilage organisms to grow.

Probiotic bacterial cultures are intended to assist the body's naturally occurring flora within the digestive tract to reestablish themselves. They are sometimes recommended by doctors, and, more frequently, by nutritionists, after a course of antibiotics, or as part of the treatment for candidiasis. Many probiotics are present in natural sources such as lactobacillus in yogurt and sauerkraut. Claims are made that probiotics strengthen the immune system.1

The rationale for probiotics is that the body contains a miniature ecology of microbes, collectively known as the gut flora. The number of bacterial types can be thrown out of balance by a wide range of circumstances including the use of antibiotics or other drugs, excess alcohol, stress, disease, exposure to toxic substances, or even the use of antibacterial soap. In cases like these, the bacteria that work well with our bodies (see symbiosis) may decrease in number, an event which allows harmful competitors to thrive, to the detriment of our health.

Effects of probiotic dietary supplements

There is no published evidence that probiotic supplements are able to replace the body’s natural flora when these have been killed off. There is evidence, however, that probiotics do form beneficial temporary colonies which may assist the body in the same functions as the natural flora, while allowing the natural flora time to recover from depletion. The probiotic strains are then progressively replaced by a naturally developed gut flora. If the conditions which originally caused damage to the natural gut flora persist, the benefits obtained from probiotic supplements will be short lived.

Benefits

Scientists have found a range of potentially beneficial medicinal uses for probiotics. Briefly, they are described below.

Managing Lactose Intolerance: Because lactic acid bacteria convert lactose into lactic acid, their ingestion may help lactose intolerant individuals tolerate more lactose than what they would have otherwise.1

Prevention of Colon Cancer: In laboratory investigations, lactic acid bacteria have demonstrated anti-mutagenic effects thought to be due to their ability to bind with (and therefore detoxify) hetrocylic amines; carcinogenic substances formed in cooked meat.2 Animal studies have demonstrated that lactic acid bacteria can protect against colon cancer in rodents, though human data is limited and conflicting.3 Most human trials have found that lactic acid bacteria may exert anti-carcinogenic effects by decreasing the activity of an enzyme called ß-glucuronidase3 (which can regenerate carcinogens in the digestive system). Lower rates of colon cancer among higher consumers of fermented dairy products have been observed in some population studies;1 the results of which are encouraging, however, more research is needed.

Cholesterol Lowering: Animal studies have demonstrated the efficacy of a range of lactic acid bacteria to be able to lower serum cholesterol levels in animals, presumably by breaking down bile in the gut, thus inhibiting its reabsorption (which enters the blood as cholesterol). Some, but not all human trials have shown that dairy foods fermented with lactic acid bacteria can produce modest reductions in total and LDL cholesterol levels in those with normal levels to begin with, however trials in hyperlipidemic subjects are needed.1

Lowering Blood Pressure: Several small clinical trials have shown that consumption of milk fermented with various strains of lactic acid bacteria can result in modest reductions in blood pressure. It is thought that this is due to the ACE inhibitor like peptides produced during fermentation.1

Improving Immune Function and Preventing Infections: lactic acid bacteria are thought to have several presumably beneficial effects on immune function. They may protect against pathogens by means of competitive inhibition (i.e., by competing for growth) and there is evidence to suggest that they may improve immune function by increasing the number of IgA-producing plasma cells, increasing or improving phagocytosis as well as increasing the proportion of T lymphocytes and Natural Killer cells.4,5 Clinical trials have demonstrated that probiotics may decrease the incidence of respiratory tract infections6 and dental caries in children7 as well as aid in the treatment of Helicobacter pylori infections (which cause peptic ulcers) in adults when used in combination with standard medical treatments.8 Lactic acid bacteria foods and supplements have been shown to be effective in the treatment and prevention of acute diarrhea; decreasing the severity and duration of rotavirus infections in children as well as antibiotic-associated and travelers diarrhea in adults.4,5,9

Reducing Inflammation: Lactic acid bacteria foods and supplements have been found to modulate inflammatory and hypersensitivity responses, an observation thought to be at least in part due to the regulation of cytokine function4. Clinical studies suggest that they can prevent reoccurrences of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in adults,4 as well as improve milk allergies10 and decrease the risk of atopic eczema in children.11

Synbiotics

Although use of probiotic formulations may well help in achieving these benefits, it is also possible to increase and maintain a healthy bacterial gut flora by increasing the amounts of prebiotics in the diet such as inulin, raw oats, and unrefined wheat.

As probiotics are mainly active in the small intestine and prebiotics are only effective in the large intestine, the combination of the two gives a synergistic effect. Appropriate combinations of pre- and probiotics are synbiotics.

Types

The most common victuals in which probiotics are found are unpasteurized dairy products (particularly yoghurt) and probiotic fortified foods. However, tablets and capsules containing the bacteria in freeze dried form are also available. Capsules may be more effective than tablets because some protect the beneficial bacteria from stomach acids.

Some common probiotics include:

  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Bifidobacterium breve
  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus GG

Some commonly used bacteria in products, but without probiotic effect (yogurt bacteria) :

  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus
  • Streptococcus thermophilus

Some non-existing bacteria (phantasy names, fraud) mentioned on probiotic products (taken from food-info.net, see link below for more details on these 'bacteria') :

  • Lactobacillus sporogenes
  • Lactobacillus bifidus
  • Lactobacillus caucasicus

Some fermented products containing similar (often non proven to have a probiotic or health effect) lactic acid bacteria include:

  • Kefir
  • Yogurt
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi

Lactic acid cancer treatment

Most remarkably, there are several cancer cure approaches that heavily rely on or include lactic-acid-fermented foods and drinks, foremost among them the Lactic-acid-fermented food treatment for cancer according to Dr. Dr. Johannes Kuhl but also the Budwig Diet, the Moerman cancer cure diet, the cancer treatment with Kombucha and coli preparations according to Dr. Rudolf Sklenar and the simple kombucha treatment for cancer.

References

1. Sanders ME. Considerations for use of probiotic bacteria to modulate human health. J Nutr. 2000;130:384S-390S.

2. Wollowski I, Rechkemmer G, Pool-Zobel BL. Protective role of probiotics and prebiotics in colon cancer. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001;73:451S-455S.

3. Brady LJ, Gallaher DD, Busta FF. The role of probiotic cultures in the prevention of colon cancer. J Nutr. 2000;130:410S-414S.

4. Reid G, Jass J, Sebulsky MT, McCormick JK. Potential uses of probiotics in clinical practice. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003;16:658-72.

5. Ouwehand AC, Salminen S, Isolauri E. Probiotics: an overview of beneficial effects. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 2002;82:279-89.

6. Hatakka K, Savilahti E, Ponka A, Meurman JH, Poussa T, Nase L, Saxelin M, Korpela R. Effect of long term consumption of probiotic milk on infections in children attending day care centres: double blind, randomised trial. BMJ. 2001;322:1327

7. Nase L, Hatakka K, Savilahti E, Saxelin M, Ponka A, Poussa T, Korpela R, Meurman JH. Effect of long-term consumption of a probiotic bacterium, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, in milk on dental caries and caries risk in children . Caries Res. 2001;35:412-20.

8. Hamilton-Miller JM. The role of probiotics in the treatment and prevention of Helicobacter pylori infection. Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2003;22:360-366.

9. Cremonini F, Di Caro S, Nista EC, Bartolozzi F, Capelli G, Gasbarrini G, Gasbarrini A. Meta-analysis: the effect of probiotic administration on antibiotic-associated diarrhoea. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2002;16:1461-1467

10. Kirjavainen PV, Salminen SJ, Isolauri E Probiotic bacteria in the management of atopic disease: underscoring the importance of viability. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2003;36:223-227 11. Kalliomaki M, Salminen S, Poussa T, Arvilommi H, Isolauri E. Probiotics and prevention of atopic disease: 4-year follow-up of a randomised placebo-controlled trial. Lancet. 2003;361:1869-1871.

External links

  • How to select a proper probiotic as a consumer: food-info.net/uk/ff/probiotics.htm
  • Benefits of exposure to bacteria and danger of antibacterial cleaners: cbc.ca/story/news/national/2000/07/17/Consumers/soap000717.html
  • New developments and general information on probiotics: gutflora.org
  • Health Implications of Yoghurt and Lactic Acid Bacteria: nutra-smart.net/yoghurt
  • Probiotics: Considerations for Human Health: nationaldairycouncil.org/NationalDairyCouncil/Health/Digest/dcd76-1Page2.htm

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