Lactic Bacteria: Digestive Health Information
Published: 2014-09-15 - Updated: 2021-11-09
Author: Thomas C. Weiss | Contact: Disabled World (Disabled-World.com)
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Additional References: Probiotics and Prebiotics Publications
Synopsis: Information regarding intestinal flora and groups of microorganisms among which lactic bacteria perform essential functions. Gastrointestinal infections originating from bacteria are usually due to a restricted number of species of bacteria belonging to Shigella, Escherichia, Klabsiella, Salmonella, Staphylococcus and Proteus. Stress, disease, the abundance of food proteins, taking antibiotics and consuming contaminated food can favor the implantation and development of putrefaction and infectious microorganisms to the detriment of desirable bacteria.
Lactic bacteria, to include Acidophilus, that exists from the upper part of the small intestine to the lower part of the small intestine and Bifidobacterium, that exists from the lower part of the small intestine to the large intestine, have the specific property of transforming sugars almost exclusively into lactic acid and acetic acid that decrease the pH of the intestines and produce substances that suppress harmful bacteria. They are abundant in nature and are essential for human and animal survival. They are usually present in the skin, the digestive system and in the vaginal mucosa where they fulfill a number of functions and assure the protection of tissues against the action of harmful microbes. The functions are so important that we designate lactic bacteria as being, 'probiotic,' or agents that protect life.
Lactic Bacteria in Prophylaxis and Therapeutic Treatment
The usual intestinal flora is constituted from groups of microorganisms among which lactic bacteria perform essential functions. These functions include the following:
- Limits the action of putrefactive microbes
- Inhibits the development of pathogenic bacteria
- Contributes to intestinal peristalsis and accelerates the evacuation of excrements
- Hydrolyses lactose and eliminates the intolerance of the organism toward this sugar
- Activates macrophages that suppress harmful bacteria and protect a person's intestines
- Transforms glucose into lactic acid creating a favorable environment for microbial balance
- Coats the intestinal mucosa and protects it against the invasion of harmful microorganisms
Several factors may modify the desirable harmony of the intestinal flora. Stress, disease, the abundance of food proteins, taking antibiotics and consuming contaminated food can favor the implantation and development of putrefaction and infectious microorganisms to the detriment of desirable bacteria. The prolonged use of antibiotics not only has the effect of destroying lactic bacteria from a person's digestive system, which leaves it without defense, it provokes the development and predominance of harmful microorganisms like coliforms and pathogenic staphylococci.
Gastrointestinal infections originating from bacteria are usually due to a restricted number of species of bacteria belonging to Shigella, Escherichia, Klabsiella, Salmonella, Staphylococcus and Proteus. These infections are more commonly found in children and may be the result of accidental contamination from impure food or water, or from the transmission of infectious microbes from other people or infected places.
An important source of infectious bacteria is made by the creation of resistant pathogenic colonies due to the prolonged administration of weak doses of antibiotics. The particular resistance present in Escherichia coli can be genetically transmitted to other kinds of enterobacteria belonging to the Salmonella, Shigelia, Proteus and Klabsiella. These genetic modifications take on great importance because they multiply the potential for infection and complicate the administration of effective medication.
Lactic bacteria assure the protection of a person's vagina, particularly by lactobacilli. They were originally designated by the name, 'Doderlein bacillus,' yet we are now aware that this bacterium belongs to several species, to include:
- L. bifidus
- L. fermenti
- L. plantarum
- L. rhamnosus
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
And others. For a number of reasons, the administration of antibiotics, as well as hormonal issues, contacts with contaminated individuals, inadequate enemas, lack of resistance, vaginitis due to Candida Albicans, or Trichonomas vaginitis or infectious bacteria might develop. One of the successful treatments uses appropriate lactobacilli. Introduced via enema, it restores the usual lactic flora, lowers the pH of vaginal secretions to a desirable level, and inhibits the existing infection.
After more than 85 years of denial and hesitation by orthodox medicine, it is now recognized that Metchnikoff was correct when he said that intestinal putrefaction was the source of a number of diseases and constituted an attack on the longevity and vitality of a person. The intestinal putrefaction, resulting from the activity of putrefactive bacteria, expresses itself through development of a large variety of toxic substances that include several acids, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, methylated amines, amides, indole, methane, mercaptans, phenol and other substances.
The organism is not always able to defend itself against the activities of harmful microorganisms. Several organs might be attacked. The secretion of digestive enzymes is hindered, the kidneys become impervious, the endocrine system weakens, and the suprarenal are attacked. The results are serious and diversified organic disorders that might lead to debility, early senility and atherosclerosis.
It has recently been shown that a tangible effect from intestinal putrefaction is recognizing that hepatic encephalopathy was cause by the breakdown of nitrogenous substances in the lower intestine and the absorption of toxic products - particularly ammonia and amines. The orthodox treatment of this illness is through laxatives and enemas, administration of antibiotics and even the surgical removal of the person's colon, with goal of interrupting the activity of putrefactive bacteria. A group of scientists has tried to modify the intestinal flora of people attacked by hepatic encephalopathy by administering Lactobacillus acidophilus to them. In suppressing the harmful flora, there was a reduction in phenomena of deamination and the level of ammonia in the blood of those affected. Several other scientists have confirmed these discoveries.
Reduction of Bloating and Gas:
Lactic acid bacteria have been shown to inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria and their production of gas and toxins. Antibiotics; meanwhile, may destroy both good and bad bacteria and have been shown to increase the production of gas.
Production of Vitamins and Other Nutritional Factors:
Bifidobacterium have demonstrated an ability to produce vitamin B1, while acidophilus bacteria have been shown to suppress the growth of bacteria that decompose vitamin B1. Bifidobacterium are also able to produce B12, B6, several amino acids and folacin.
The Impact on Cholesterol:
Bifidobacterium and L. Acidophilus might play an important part in cholesterol metabolism. Intestinal bacteria convert cholesterol into a less absorbable form, hindering its absorption from a person's intestinal tract. A number of human and animal studies have suggested a cholesterol lowering effect from lactic acid bacteria.
Inhibition of the Growth of Pathogenic Bacteria:
Lactic acid bacteria inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria and their production of toxins. Acidophilus bacteria have an increased capability to produce lactic acid as well as anti-bacterial substances which suppress harmful bacteria. Bifidobacterium in particular protect a person's body from harmful bacteria by adhering to the person's intestinal mucosa, producing acetic acid and activating macrophages which also produce substances that suppress harmful bacteria.
Lowering the Production of Toxic and Cancer-causing Compounds in the Intestinal Tract:
Acidophilus bacteria suppress the production of harmful substances such as indole, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide that are hazardous to people. Bifidobacterium help to decrease the amount of toxins going to a person's liver. Gut bacteria recycle toxins such as ammonia by using it as an important source of nitrogen for their own protein synthesis during their growing phase. Bifidobacterium and Acidophilus bacteria decompose nitrosamines and may also suppress the production of nitrosamines in a person's intestines.
Lactic Bacteria and the Prevention and Treatment of Diseases
There are a variety of lactic bacteria which are useful in the treatment and prevention of diseases. Among the most important of these are:
- L casei
- L. bifidus
- L. salivarius
- L. bulgaricus
- L. plantarum
- L. rhamnosus
- L. fermentum
- Streptococcus faecium
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Streptococcus thermophilus
The bacteria inhibit the activities and proliferation of putrefaction and pathogenic bacteria in a number of ways. These ways include the following:
Production of Lactic Acid:
The putrefactive and pathogenic bacteria do not develop in an acidic environment.
Production of Specific Antibiotics:
Lactobacillus acidophilus produces, 'acidophiline. L. bulgarican and other lactobacilli produce lactocidine, lactobacilline, hydrogen peroxide, and bacterial peptides. Lactic streptococci produce streptococcins and nisin.
Colonization of Intestinal Mucosa:
Investigations have demonstrated the intense colonization of intestinal mucosa by lactic bacteria, in particular by Streptococcus faecium. The colonization protects a person's intestinal wall through creation of a barrier against infectious microbes.
An appropriate diet favors the presence of lactic bacteria in average quantities in a person's digestive tract. In the instance of gastro-intestinal issues, vaginal infection and the use of antibiotics, it is necessary to have recourse to a reliable supply of lactic bacteria. Human strains of lactic bacteria are preferred of dairy sources.
Differences between Lactic Bacteria Derived from Humans and Ones Derived from Dairy
The major anticipated effect of lactic acid bacteria is that they will remain and grow in a person's intestines, suppressing harmful bacteria and normalizing intestinal bacteria flora. The best strains for supplementation are those that are usually permanent residents of the human intestinal tract and those that are safe. Bacteria strains might show host specificity.
Stains that are effective in one species of an animal might not necessarily be effective in another species. Lactic acid bacteria such as Bifidobacterium and Acidophilus are usual residents of the gastrointestinal tract of people. L. bulgaricus and S. thermophiles are strains commonly used to culture yogurt and have been shown to be absent from the flora of people; they apparently do not colonize a person's intestinal tract. Various yogurt strains might not resist stomach acid and may not survive to reach the lower intestinal tract - even though they may provide brief and transitory benefits. Human strains have been shown to resist stomach acid when consumed with food and are more adapted to the environment of the human intestinal tract and might be the bacteria of choice for supplementation because they are more likely to survive and colonize a person's intestinal tract.
Thomas C. Weiss is a researcher and editor for Disabled World. Thomas attended college and university courses earning a Masters, Bachelors and two Associate degrees, as well as pursing Disability Studies. As a Nursing Assistant Thomas has assisted people from a variety of racial, religious, gender, class, and age groups by providing care for people with all forms of disabilities from Multiple Sclerosis to Parkinson's; para and quadriplegia to Spina Bifida.
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