Do you need Bacteria in your Diet?
Doesn’t bacteria cause Diseases?
Surprisingly the answer to both :Yes!
From ancient times we know that breast-fed infants suffered less episodes of diarrhea and other infections. The reason was suspected to be some goodness (including mothers love) in the breast milk.
The goodness beside other nutrients were found to be rod like bifid shaped bifidobacteriums as observed by Tissier a century back . These microbes were lovingly named probiotic, literally meaning ‘for life. ‘
So what exactly are probiotic?
Probiotics are viable microorganisms, when present in sufficient amounts in active state in the intestine , exert positive health effects.
A simple and widely accepted definition describes probiotics as live microbial feed supplements which beneficially affect the host animal by improving microbial balance.
But doesn’t bacteria cause Diseases?
Yes most bacteria which are harmful to humans cause diseases.But your gut gets to be the home of several good bacteria around birth, during birth, and immediately afterwards.
The infants gut , gets its dose of good bacteria from mother and environment. Thus breast milk is an important source of probiotic food in Infants.
After weaning starts, the babies gut microflora starts resembling that of the adult. A well-balanced microbial population in the gut , immediately after birth and it’s maintenance is important for development of immunity.
What can destroy this natural collection of gut Microflora?
Antibiotics given due to various infections tend to destroy the bad bacteria causing disease together with the good bacteria in your gut.
This unfortunate side effect of antibiotic usage is unavoidable and this is where probiotic are truly godsend.
Which bacterial strains helpful as probiotics?
1)Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG,
2) L. reuteri
4)Certain strains of L. casei or the L. acidophilus-group are used in probiotic food, particularly fermented milk products,
5)Escherichia coli strain Nissle 1917
6)certain enterococci (Enterococcus faecium SF68)
7) Probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii Lactobacillus (present in curd), Bifidobacterium, Saccharomyces boulardii are some of the most consistently beneficial probiotic microbes..
Probiotic food benefit
1) Immune function is enhanced:You will fight diseases more effectively!
2) Colonic integrity improved
3)Decreased episodes and duration of intestinal infections,
4)Allergic response is down regulated : You have less allergic episodes
5) Digestion and elimination markedly improved
6) Minerals like calcium iron,and other micronutrient absorption appears to be improved in presence of certain probiotics. This holds definite promise in treatment of malnutrition.
Mechanism of probiotic Action
A large number of in vivo and in vitro studies of molecular biology support the positive effect of probiotics on your intestinal microflora.
Predominant mechanism of Prebiotic action appears to be :
1) Immunomodulation (transient) of the intestinal microflora of the host
2) Capacity to interact with the immune system directly or mediated by the autochthonous microflora, are basic mechanism.
3) Bacteriocin production
4)Short chain fatty acid production
5) Lowering of gut pH
Immunomodulation :an interesting effect
Immunomodulation refers to alteration of your immune response for a desirable result. Considerable evidence from many studies show that probiotics influence several aspects of the acquired and innate immune response in the following ways;
- They induce phagocytosis
- Promote IgA secretion
- Modify T-cell responses,
- Enhances Th1 responses
- Attenuates Th2 responses
Proven Probiotic effects are:
1)Prevention /reduction of duration and complaints of rotavirus-induced or antibiotic-associated diarrhea
2) Decreased complaints due to lactose intolerance. Studies have found that people with lactose intolerance after having probiotic supplements for a month had less symptoms.The effects were found to last upto 3 months after stopping the supplements.
3)Reduction of the concentration of cancer-promoting enzymes and/or putrefactive (bacterial) metabolites in the gut 4)Prevention and alleviation of unspecific and irregular complaints of the gastrointestinal tracts in healthy people.
5) Beneficial effects on complaints in connection with, inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, Helicobacter pylori infection or bacterial overgrowth.
6) Normalization of passing stool and stool consistency in people suffering from obstipation or an irritable colon.
7)Prevention or alleviation of allergies and atopic diseases in infants.
8)Prevention of respiratory tract infections (common cold, influenza) and other infectious diseases as well as treatment of urogenital infections.
9) Normal gut microflora protects children from immune related disorders later In life which Include allergies, obesity, diabetes [wysija_form id=”1″]
Preliminary evidence exists about beneficial effects in the following conditions:
1) Cancer prevention
2) Hypocholesterolemic effect; decreases blood cholesterol
3) Improvement of the mouth flora and caries prevention
4) Prevention or therapy of ischemic heart diseases
5)Autoimmune diseases like arthritis
List of Probiotic food:
Wide range of food products are being marketed as probiotic food. Dairy based food are the most popular . They include: Fermented milks cheese,
Ice cream, Buttermilk Milk powder, Yoghurt, occupy the largest share of market
Probiotic food in India: Sour pickles, idlis, dosa, dhoklas, vada and kadhi all of which use fermentation as a part of food preparation are also probiotic sources.
However these sources of Probiotic are till date non measurable and do not strictly meet international definition of Probiotic food.
The Indian curd used to make these food products have potential as a viable Probiotic source as it has upto 15 varieties of Lactobacillus. A study showed that the Lactobacillus in Indian home-made curd had promising probiotic properties.
That’s the good news! The bad news is that these results were inconsistent across the various species of Lactobacillus present in curd. The amount of Lactobacillus in curd increased rapidly at 12 hours of fermentation at room temperature and slowly declined after that.
Miso, sauerkraut, kimchi ,Kevin, kombucha,tempeh, poi all variously present in oriental diet are probiotic rich. Tempeh is a fermented probiotic rich grain made from soy.The largely GM production of soy , its role as an endocrine disruptor and it’s widely disputed pros and cons make soy usage in diet a tight rope Walk!
Dose of Probiotic microbes in Probiotic food and Probiotic supplements
Total of 100 million to 1 billion CFU/ml probiotic microorganisms should be consumed daily for the probiotic effect to be effective in normal adults. A prophylactic dose of 100 billion c.f.u per day was more effective than 50 billion c.f.u per day in prevention of antibiotic associated diarrhea and Clostridium difficile associated diarrhea.
When there are multiple bacteria in a probiotic product, you need to know the amount of each type , so that you can be clear about the relative potency of each.
Product labels showing just the total number of microbes in a product with multiple strains is misleading and useless. Probiotic supplements are a more reliable source and is cheaper.They should preferably be taken under a doctor’s supervision.
- Acid and bile tolerance :this appears to be crucial for oral administration.It should not be destroyed by stomach acid, or bile.
- Adhesion to mucosal and epithelial surfaces.This is important for successful immune modulation
- Competitive exclusion of pathogens
- Prevention of pathogen adhesion and colonisation,
- Antimicrobial activity against pathogenic bacteria
- At least one phase 2 study documenting benefit.
- It must be stable during processing and storage.
- Probiotics must also be able to grow under commercial conditions
Probiotics viability is very important as it’s important for functions like adherence, reduction of gut permeability, and immunomodulation and constitutes an industrial challenge. The interesting news is that certain studies have shown that even non viable probiotic organisms may have health benefits.
The probiotic bacterial cell wall membrane, DNA material all have helpful effects on your health.This is important news as many refrigerated , pasteurized probiotic food will contain non viable bacteria.
Even if the strictly defined probiotic function is not fulfilled they will have some benefit! Now the million dollar question is should you buy probiotic drinks ? This is where we have cause for concern: Commercial probiotic food ,marketed with a lot of hype are often advertised with exaggerated health benefits .
Even more worrying is that some of these foods contain high quantity of sugars and empty calories , along with less than ideal amount viable organisms Not only are these products expensive , lack of proper regulations in this sector makes the usefulness of their microbial content doubtful.
Take home message:
- Breast feed your baby as recommended by your paediatrician.This is the best gift you can give your child.Breast feeding gives the baby a supply of helpful probiotics directly from mother and is truly the elixir of life.
- Include probiotic rich natural food in your diet
Yoghurt is an all natural, cheap ,easily available source of the wonderful Lactobacillus with a proven track record as a probiotic organism.
- Probiotic supplements :take under doctor’s supervision.
- Don’t fall for over hyped, sugar rich calorie laden commercial probiotic food with doubtful health benefits.
- Avoid self prescription and over use of antibiotics
- Always check the manufacturing date and best before date of these products as much of their goodness depends on their viability.
Do you like this article?You can also read about Prebiotic here .
If you find it helpful share it and spread the love.Do you have a question ? Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org Take care stay informed and stay healthy.
Probiotics and prebiotics in dietetics practice.
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