friendly bacteria

What Supplements Should We Be Taking?

Healthy eating is about eating smart. You may think you’re eating all the food groups, but it’s not that easy to get every essential nutrient we need from diet alone. In addition to staying healthy, we need to exercise and sleep well.Supplements and Vitamins

Although I am a fit, healthy mother of two, I found this latest research on  nine popular vitamins & supplements (that should be included in our diet) very interesting and thought I would share it.

1. Probiotics
Helpful or beneficial bacteria are called probiotics.  Probiotics or friendly bacteria are able to alter the intestinal microflora balance favorably. They also inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria as well as promote good digestion and boost immune function and thus increase resistance to inflammation and infection. You’ll find probiotics in foods such as yogurts (with live, active cultures), kefir, fermented foods like- sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso and dark chocolate. Keep in mind that most of the time, you can’t get enough probiotics through eating foods alone, and you’ll need to take a supplement. My favorite are VSL#3 and the Dr Ohirra OMX formula.

 2. Vitamin C
According to the National Institutes of Health, consuming large amounts of Vitamin C may shorten a cold’s course by about one day. A high dose is 4,000 mg per day, taking four, 1,000 mg pills with lots of clear liquids. Vitamin C is water-soluble, so it works more effectively to flush out the virus when you drink a lot of fluid. Start at the first sign of symptoms.

3. Vitamin D
This important vitamin helps your body absorb calcium. If you don’t get enough vitamin D, or your body doesn’t absorb it well, you increase the risk for osteoporosis. Skin makes vitamin D when exposed to the sun, but sunscreen can reduce its production by 95%. Vitamin D is present in only a few fortified foods such as milk, yogurt, orange juice, and fatty fish like salmon & tuna. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends taking a daily 400 IU vitamin D supplement.

4. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant, a substance that protects against the effects of free radicals — cell-damaging molecules that can play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Vitamin E also boosts your immune system. Most people get enough vitamin E from the foods they eat,such as vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens. Another reason to stick with food sources: Vitamin E supplements may be harmful for people who take blood thinners & other medicines.

5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Experts say to eat hearty doses of fish. The recommendation is to eat fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines and white fish like tilapia, halibut, and sea bass at least twice a week. They have the highest amounts of essential oils necessary for the body. Allergic to fish or just not a fan? Partake in more flax, soy, canola, and walnuts. Personally, I love all Nordic Natural EFA’s and Essential Formulas Chia Omega EPA & DHA that  contains cold-pressed chia seed oil and is fish free.

6. Calcium
As a dynamic tissue, bone is always in flux, either releasing calcium or depositing it. Your body needs enough of the mineral so that it does not have to take more from the bone than it can handle. But if you are 40 years or older, do not assume you should be taking a calcium supplement. Data from almost 24,000 participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study found too much, as little as 2000 mg per day, can boost your risk of heart attack. Before reaching for a supplement, take an inventory of how much calcium you’re already obtaining from the foods you eat regularly.The recommended daily dose is 1000mg for women under 50 and 1200 mg for those over 50 and in menopause. If you eat three servings of dairy a day, you are likely getting adequate amounts.

7. Echinacea
Like Vitamin C, echinacea’s effectiveness in preventing colds is up for debate among researchers. Several clinical studies report that taking echinacea as either a tea or supplement is not effective; however, others found it can decrease the odds of developing the cold by 45% – 58%. Echinacea seems to be most effective if started when cold symptoms are first noticed and continued for 7 to 10 days. Daily dosage is two to four cups of tea or two, 2,000 mg pills per day.

 8. Black Cohosh
Exactly how Black Cohosh works is unknown, but the NIH found that it significantly reduces the frequency of menopausal hot flashes. Taking 40 – 100 mg per day has shown to be comparable to a prescription of low-dose transdermal estradiol. Though it is not for everyone: Black cohosh should not be used by pregnant or lactating women, those with a history of breast cancer or hormone-sensitive conditions such as uterine and ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids. The herb might also be linked to liver failure & autoimmune hepatitis.

9. Garlic
This root plant has been shown to have a bevy of health benefits when eaten fresh, (rather than aged or in supplement form). According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine eating fresh garlic may lead to lower blood pressure & a reduced risk of atherosclerosis, colon, rectal & stomach cancers.
How to chew on garlic without reeking? Chew on a few sprigs of parsley.

 

Probiotics_summary

Probiotics are “friendly” bacteria

 

Did you Know?

Probiotics are friendly bacteria

Courtesy of precisionnutrition.com

 

 

As we age, reduced stomach acid makes it easier for harmful pathogenic bacteria we ingest to survive and grow in our intestines. The result is a drop in immunity. To preserve immune function, it’s a good idea to take a probiotic that replaces the good bacteria, such as Bifidum and Lactobacillus.

Probiotics are live organisms, microflora, sometimes called “friendly” bacteria, naturally present in your digestive tract. and also available in probiotic foods like active culture yogurt and kefir.

Your intestines already contain huge amounts of probiotics, or friendly bacteria—about three pounds—or about 100 trillion of them. By supplementing your diet with probiotics, you’re ingesting good bacteria to crowd out the bad guys.

Probiotics can ease or prevent:

  • Diarrhea due to antibiotic use,
  • Traveler’s diarrhea,
  • Cancer therapy,
  • Irritable bowel syndrome, and
  • Some forms of inflammatory bowel disease.

Probiotics_Lifecycle

Friendly Bacteria Can Benefit Health Throughout the Lifecycle

Scientific experts in the fields of pediatrics, aging, and nutrition discussed the potential uses for probiotics in children as well as the elderly, and for health conditions such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

Probiotics are used worldwide and in the US they are one of the most rapidly growing categories of functional food. Probiotics are living “friendly” bacteria, like those in certain active-culture dairy drinks that can provide health benefits. Probiotics, the healthy bacteria, are found among the intestinal microbiota, the living microorganisms in the intestinal tract necessary for proper digestive health. They are responsible for protective effects including:

  • healthy turnover of cells in the intestinal tract,
  • production of essential nutrients such as short-chain fatty acids and amino acids,
  • stimulation of intestinal immunity and
  • prevention of overgrowth of harmful organisms.

Probiotics can also be found in fermented food products such as yogurt and in supplements.

Evidence is showing that specific strains of probiotics can improve digestive health and enhance immune function when consumed regularly.

Dr Allan Walker MD, Professor of Nutrition and Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, led a world class panel of

Allan Walker MD Harvard

Allan Walker MD Harvard - Courtesy of vtoxford.org

speakers. He summarized the role of probiotics in pediatrics. “Infants don’t have all of their gut bacteria at birth as they acquire it up until about 2 years of age. Probiotics are ‘good’ bacteria, which can promote healthy colonization of bacteria in the gut during this time, leading to enhanced immunity,” said Dr Walker.

Dr Mary Ellen Sanders, a consultant specializing in probiotics, provided an overview of the studies showing the benefits of probiotics and health. Dr Sanders said, “compelling new studies are showing how probiotics can help keep healthy people healthy. One study showed a decreased incidence of common infectious diseases among kids in day care.” She stressed the fact that each individual strain of probiotic can act differently, so a probiotic that helps with digestion may be different from one that supports the immune system.

Dr Stefano Guandalini MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center shared the newest research on probiotics and inflammatory bowel disease. “Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a condition that affects approximately 1 million adults and 150,000 children in the US. Emerging studies are showing promise in children and will continue to help determine how we can be using probiotics practically for such serious conditions.”

Dr Simin Meydani MD, Associate Director of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University presented cutting-edge data, which helps in answering the question, could probiotics help the elderly? About 70 percent of our body’s immune system is located in the digestive tract and as we age, our immune function weakens. “The idea is that taking in certain probiotics on a regular basis might positively change the bacterial populations in the gut in older people,” she said. She also suggests that probiotics consumption may positively enhance the immune response and allow for improved resistance to infectious diseases.

Researchers are still unclear on the method of action behind probiotics’ benefits. Robert Clancy, PhD, of The University of New Castle, Australia, suggested that there will be “Immunobiotic Evolution,” stemming from the growing body of research demonstrating that probiotics have immune system benefits. In reviewing the research on the method of action, he said, “Research on probiotics is moving rapidly to identify the mechanism by which probiotics can stimulate the intestinal lining, how that function can lend benefit for protective immunity, diminish allergic hypersensitivity in the digestive trace and reduce cancer risk.”

Dr Eamonn Quigley MD, MD, of University College Cork in Cork, Ireland, shared his analysis that there may be a strong indication for use of probiotics in the treatment of many gastrointestinal diseases, given the offset balance of microbiota in individuals with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome. Quigley offered several proposed methods of action including probiotics’ anti-inflammatory properties, as well as displacing harmful bacteria and replenish the balance of healthy flora along the digestive tract.

Under normal circumstances in our gastro-intestinal systems, there are many more “friendly” bacteria than “bad” bacteria. If this balance shifts, however, the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract may be affected. Research suggests that adding probiotics to the diet can help optimize the functioning of the intestinal lining, as well as, the immune system. The role of probiotics in health may be greater than what we once thought.

Reference:
Research on the Benefits of Probiotics has been presented at The American College of Nutrition (ACN) Annual Meetings.

Probiotics_Lactobacillus_info_research

Lactobacillus Acidophilus Probiotic Research

Lactobacillus Acidophillus Probiotics

Lactobacillus Acidophillus Probiotics Courtesy of lactic-acid-bacteria.net

Lactobacillus acidophilus, commonly called acidophilus, is one of several stains of friendly probiotic bacteria normally found in the intestines and vagina. These beneficial or friendly bacteria help protect the body from hostile organisms that can cause yeast infections, intestinal toxemia, and other health problems.

The name ‘lactobacillus acidophilus’ comes from lacto meaning milk, bacillus meaning rod-like in shape, and acidophilus meaning acid loving. This particular bacterium functions better in acidic environments than most other microorganisms.

The term probiotic breaks down as follows: “pro” means for and “biotic” means life. So a probiotic bacteria is for life or pro-life.

Intestinal flora, like acidophilus, play an important role in keeping the immune system healthy, the digestion system in balance, and in producing vitamins. Unfortunately, this army of friendly bacteria is under constant attack by a diverse group of enemies. Antibiotics, medications, chlorinated water, yeasts, chronic diarrhea, stress, infections, and poor diet can destroy these friendly bacteria. If the population of the probiotic bacteria is not replaced regularly with additional organisms, harmful bacteria can take over and cause serious health problems.

  • As acidophilus breaks down foods, it produces lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and other beneficial byproducts. This creates an environment where unfriendly organisms find it difficult to survive.
  • Also, acidophilus consumes many of the same nutrients these unfriendly organisms depend on, thus limiting their food source and ability to proliferate.
  • Acidophilus produces another important enzyme, lactase. Lactase breaks down milk sugar (lactose) into simple sugar. This is particularly beneficial for individuals that are lactose intolerant and can’t produce this enzyme.

Acidophilus also resides in the vagina.

  • It helps control the growth of yeast infections.
  • Common symptoms of yeast infections are burning, itching, inflammation, and discharge.
  • Some spermicides and contraceptive creams kill acidophilus and other beneficial bacteria.
  • This allows yeast infections to grow.
Health Benefits

Acidophilus typically residents in the small intestines of adults and older children and appears to provide these important benefits:

  1. Helps curtail yeast overgrowth,
  2. Improves digestion of dairy products,
  3. Prompts colon regularity,
  4. Neutralizes toxin growth,
  5. Helps maintain cholesterol levels,
  6. Helps with digestion of complex proteins and carbohydrates,
  7. Supports immune system functions.

Acidophilus supplement included in your daily diet appears to help keep your digestive system in balance and offset some of the negative effects caused by ingested toxins and viruses. If you currently are not taking a probiotic supplement on a regular basis, we strongly suggest you reconsider.

    • In a study reported in the February 1998 issue of Health & Nutrition Breakthroughs researchers tested the effect of using L. acidophilus and B. bifidum to destroy unfriendly micro-organisms. Twenty-eight adult subjects were divided into three groups.

      The first group received L. acidophilus.
      The second group received B. bifidum and
      The third group received a placebo.

      After three weeks, researchers took blood samples to determine the phagocytic activity (ability to destroy foreign bacteria) of each person’s white blood cells. They measured the cells’ ability to attack and ingest E. coli bacteria (known for its high potential to cause disease).

      • In subjects receiving either L. acidophilus or B. bifidum, the percentage of white blood cells able to destroy E. coli jumped from forty percent to eighty percent.
      • In the placebo group, there was no change in phagocytic activity.

      Blood samples were examined again six weeks after stopping probiotic supplementation and the phagocytic activity was still much greater than at the beginning of the study.

    • As early as the 1920’s, Dr R. Schroder conducted research to determine the importance of pH in the vagina and the role beneficial bacteria played in reducing vaginitis.

      In one study, Dr Schroder found that women suffering from a high incidence of vaginitis generally had high-alkaline pH and low levels of L. acidophilus present in the vagina. And, that women without vaginitis had acidic pH readings and L. acidophilus present.

  • Another study reported in a 1960 issue of American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology concluded that use of L. acidophilus capsules as vaginal inserts destroyed pathogenic germs such as staphylococcus, streptococcus, and diplococcus. It also caused the pH of the vagina to shift from alkaline to acidic. Vaginitis symptoms promptly disappeared and didn’t return as long as L. acidophilus supplementation continued.

Probiotics_Lactobacillus_acidophilus

Lactobacillus Acidophilus Probiotics: A human friendly bacteria

Lactobacillus Acidophilus is the most commonly used probiotic, or “friendly” bacteria. Such healthy bacteria inhabit the intestines and vagina and protect against the entrance and proliferation of “bad” organisms that can cause disease.

 

Lactobacillus-Acidophillus

This is accomplished through a variety of mechanisms. For example, the breakdown of food by L. acidophilus leads to production of lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and other byproducts that make the environment hostile for undesired organisms. L. acidophilus also produces lactase, the enzyme that breaks down milk sugar (lactose) into simple sugars. People who are lactose intolerant do not produce this enzyme. For this reason, L. acidophilus supplements may be beneficial for these individuals.

Other potential probiotics include a variety of Lactobacillus species (spp) such as the casei GG , rhamnosus , NCFM, DDS-1, and johnsonii strains, Bifidobacterium longum , Bifidobacterium bifidum, Streptococcus thermophilus, Enterococcus faecium, Saccharaomyces boulardii, Bacillus spp., and Escherichia coli .

Probiotics offer many potentially therapeutic uses. These include the following:

  • Replacing the “friendly” intestinal bacteria destroyed by antibiotics.
  • Aiding digestion and suppressing disease-causing bacteria.
  • Preventing and treating diarrhea, including infectious diarrhea, particularly from rotavirus (a virus that commonly causes diarrhea in children).
  • Treating overgrowth of pathogenic or “bad” organisms in the gastrointestinal tract (a condition that tends to cause diarrhea and may occur from use of antibiotics.
  • Alleviating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and, possibly, inflammatory bowel disease IBD (such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis).
  • Preventing and/or reducing the recurrence of vaginal yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and cystitis (bladder inflammation). The best scientific evidence exists for vaginal infections.
  • Improving lactose absorption digestion in people who are lactose intolerant
  • Enhancing the immune response. Studies have suggested that consumption of yogurt or milk that contains specific strains of Lactobacillus or supplements with Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium may improve the natural immune response. Further research is needed to confirm these early findings and to best understand how the improved immune function may or may not help in warding off infections.
  • Aiding the treatment of respiratory infections such as sinusitis, bronchitis, and pneumonia. More research is needed in this area.
  • Lowering risk of allergies. Examples include asthma, hay fever, food allergies to milk, and skin reactions such as eczema.
  • Helping to treat high cholesterol.
  • Reducing the risk of recurring bladder tumors once this cancer has been treated.
  • Other conditions under investigation for use of probiotics include colon cancer, HIV related diarrhea, and Helicobacter pylori, an organism that can lead to development of ulcers.

 

The primary dietary sources of L. acidophilus include milk enriched with acidophilus, yogurt containing live L. acidophilus cultures, miso, and tempeh.

Prebiotics are found in breast milk, onions, tomatoes, bananas, honey, barley, garlic and wheat. L. acidophilus preparations consist of dried or liquid cultures of living bacteria. These cultures are usually grown in milk but can sometimes be grown in milk-free cultures. L. acidophilus is available in the following forms:

  • Freeze-dried granules
  • Freeze-dried powders
  • Freeze-dried capsules
  • Liquid L. acidophilus preparations (which must be kept refrigerated)

Prebiotics occur naturally in foods, but supplements provide a more concentrated source of this substance. Prebiotics are oligosacchrides, chains of sugar units linked together. Inulin is a long-chain oligosacchride (from 2-60 sugars) and fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are short-chain oligosaccharides (from 2-7 sugars).

Newborns and Infants (0 to 1 year)

  • Liquid preparations may be used as a lotion and applied topically to diaper area for yeast infections and diaper rashes.
  • If the child is on antibiotic therapy, ¼ tsp or ¼ capsule can be taken orally 2 hours after each dose of antibiotics to replace beneficial bacteria.
  • Add ¼ tsp or ¼ capsule to water for the treatment of oral infections.

 

Recommended doses of L. acidophilus vary depending on the health condition being treated.

  • Vaginal infections: 8 ounces of yogurt (with live active cultures containing one of the Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium strains listed above) daily or an oral daily supplement containing at least 1 to 2 billion live organisms. Clinical experience also suggests that placing yogurt with live acidophilus cultures directly to the vaginal area, using a disposable spatula and wearing a sanitary pad, helps to relieve itching and inflammation. Similarly, lactobacillus capsules or tablets may be inserted directly into the vagina.
  • Cystitis: 1 to 2 capsules or tablets inserted into the vagina nightly for two weeks
  • Maintaining normal intestinal flora: 1 to 10 billion viable cells per day

Mild gastrointestinal upset may occur in some individuals (not on antibiotic therapy) who take more than 1 to 2 billion L. acidophilus cells per day.

Easir Abedin
Assistant Manager, Quality Control at NOVO Healthcare and Pharma Ltd.
The New Nation
Bangladesh’s Independent News Source
November 16th, 2008

Probiotic_Lactobacillus_Acidophilus_info

Lactobacillus Acidophilus Probiotic

Lactobacillus acidophilus, commonly called acidophilus, is one of several stains of friendly probiotic bacteria normally found in the intestines and vagina. These beneficial bacteria help protect the body from hostile organisms that can cause yeast infections, intestinal toxemia, and other health problems.

The name ‘lactobacillus acidophilus’ comes from lacto meaning milk, bacillus meaning rod-like in shape, and acidophilus meaning acid loving. This particular bacterium functions better in acidic environments than most other microorganisms.

The term probiotic breaks down as follows: “pro” means for and “biotic” means life. So a probiotic bacteria is for life or pro-life.

Intestinal flora, like acidophilus, play an important role in keeping the immune system healthy, the digestion system in balance, and in producing vitamins. Unfortunately, this army of friendly bacteria is under constant attack by a diverse group of enemies. Antibiotics, medications, chlorinated water, yeasts, chronic diarrhea, stress, infections, and poor diet can destroy these friendly bacteria. If the population of the probiotic bacteria is not replaced regularly with additional organisms, harmful bacteria can take over and cause serious health problems.

  • As acidophilus breaks down foods, it produces lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and other beneficial byproducts. This creates an environment where unfriendly organisms find it difficult to survive.
  • Also, acidophilus consumes many of the same nutrients these unfriendly organisms depend on, thus limiting their food source and ability to proliferate.
  • Acidophilus produces another important enzyme, lactase. Lactase breaks down milk sugar (lactose) into simple sugar. This is particularly beneficial for individuals that are lactose intolerant and can’t produce this enzyme.

Acidophilus also resides in the vagina.

  • It helps control the growth of yeast infections.
  • Common symptoms of yeast infections are burning, itching, inflammation, and discharge.
  • Some spermicides and contraceptive creams kill acidophilus and other beneficial bacteria.
  • This allows yeast infections to grow.

Health Benefits

Acidophilus typically residents in the small intestines of adults and older children and appears to provide these important benefits:

  1. Helps curtail yeast overgrowth,
  2. Improves digestion of dairy products,
  3. Prompts colon regularity,
  4. Neutralizes toxin growth,
  5. Helps maintain cholesterol levels,
  6. Helps with digestion of complex proteins and carbohydrates,
  7. Supports immune system functions.

Acidophilus supplement included in your daily diet appears to help keep your digestive system in balance and offset some of the negative effects caused by ingested toxins and viruses. If you currently are not taking a probiotic supplement on a regular basis, we strongly suggest you reconsider.

    • In a study reported in the February 1998 issue of Health & Nutrition Breakthroughs researchers tested the effect of using L. acidophilus and B. bifidum to destroy unfriendly micro-organisms. Twenty-eight adult subjects were divided into three groups.

      The first group received L. acidophilus.
      The second group received B. bifidum and
      the third group received a placebo.
      After three weeks, researchers took blood samples to determine the phagocytic activity (ability to destroy foreign bacteria) of each person’s white blood cells. They measured the cells’ ability to attack and ingest E. coli bacteria (known for its high potential to cause disease).

      • In subjects receiving either L. acidophilus or B. bifidum, the percentage of white blood cells able to destroy E. coli jumped from forty percent to eighty percent.
      • In the placebo group, there was no change in phagocytic activity.

      Blood samples were examined again six weeks after stopping probiotic supplementation and the phagocytic activity was still much greater than at the beginning of the study.

  • As early as the 1920’s, Dr R. Schroder conducted research to determine the importance of pH in the vagina and the role beneficial bacteria played in reducing vaginitis.

    In one study, Dr Schroder found that women suffering from a high incidence of vaginitis generally had high-alkaline pH and low levels of L. acidophilus present in the vagina. And, that women without vaginitis had acidic pH readings and L. acidophilus present.

  • Another study reported in a 1960 issue of American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology concluded that use of L. acidophilus capsules as vaginal inserts destroyed pathogenic germs such as staphylococcus, streptococcus, and diplococcus. It also caused the pH of the vagina to shift from alkaline to acidic. Vaginitis symptoms promptly disappeared and didn’t return as long as L. acidophilus supplementation continued.