Probiotics The Colony of bacteria
Most of the benefits of probiotics are specific to certain strains and not all products that contain probiotics can be attributed the same effects. In this article we review what characteristics we must review to make a good therapeutic use of probiotics.
Clinical trials on probiotics seem to demonstrate a series of health benefits for individuals, both for their metabolic function and protection against infections. You can also read probiotics benefits in our article on Probio 7. As we have seen, these probiotics can be added in different ways to foods, medicines and dietary supplements. However, the effects described can not be attributed to any product with probiotics.
Some benefits of probiotic organisms are shared by all species of a genus, for example the production of acid by the lactobacilli; others, such as the ability to neutralize lactose intolerance, are typical of some species. However, most are specific to certain strains, among other things because previous clinical trials have been done with those specific strains. This raises a series of requirements for good use of probiotics:
The beneficial effects can only be attributed to the strain or strains studied and not to the species or to a whole group of probiotics.
Studies that document the efficacy of a strain at a given dosage are not sufficient evidence to support the effects at a lower dosage.
The healthy effects of each specific strain present in the product for sale should be documented.
The possible beneficial role of the vehicle or filler substances that may affect the viability of the strain should be considered.
All these considerations are summarized in the full definition of probiotics: Live microorganisms (they must reach the intestine alive, where they exert their action), which, when administered in the proper amount (determined dosage for which scientific evidence has been shown), confer an effect beneficial (only attributed to a certain strain) to the health of the subject that receives them.
This definition has been recently reviewed by the ISAPP (International Scientific Association of Probiotics and Prebiotics). This scientific society shows the recognition of new microorganisms with beneficial functions for clinical medicine that, if they prove to be well recognized and endorsed by a consistent scientific evidence, would fall within the concept of “probiotic”.
For this reason, when we are in front of a product that contains probiotics, we must review what strain (s) it contains, the recommended dosage and its dispensing form (freeze-dried, cold-preserved, nature of excipients, etc.). It is also convenient to contrast the label data with the conditions that were used in the previous clinical trials.
A probiotic strain is cataloged based on its genus, species and an alphanumeric designation. For example, in the case of Lactobacillus casei DN-114 or Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, the term Lactobacillus corresponds to the genus, the names casei and rhamnosus indicate the respective species and the epigraphs DN-114 and GG refer to those specific strains within each species.
However, the names that designate probiotic organisms in commercial products are not subject to regulation, which can be a source of significant uncertainty about the reality of the health effects of the marketed product.
Probiotics and immune system
If what is sought is a support for the immune system it will be important to take into account some of the following strains of probiotics:
Bifidobacterium Lactis (HN019): this strain helps to modulate some aspects of the immune system in adults.
Bifidobacterium Lactis (Bb-12): Restores intestinal flora in children, relieves and decreases flatulence, diarrhea and constipation. It also increases the immune response in children. A double-blind study has shown that its administration in pregnant mothers together with Lactobacillus Rhamnosus (GG) improves the development of the fetus.
Lactobacillus acidophilus (NCFM): maintains and restores the health of the microflora in the digestive system, the vaginal flora and supports the immune system, inhibiting different pathogenic bacteria.
Lactobacillus reuteri: present in breast milk, this strain protects the host from infections through the immune system.
Lactobacillus Rhamnosus (GG): decreases the incidence of gastrointestinal, respiratory infections and also diarrhea associated with the consumption of antibiotics. It has also been seen that it reduces the incidence in children to develop eczema and in children with atopic conditions including rhinitis and food allergy.
Lactobacillus Plantarum (CECT7315 and CECT7316): they have an immune stimulatory effect that helps to prevent infections and contribute to a better clinical evolution. In addition, they improve the response to the flu vaccine in the elderly.
Probiotics and digestive system
If what is sought is a support for the digestive system it will be important to consider some of the following strains of probiotics:
Lactobacillus Rhamnosus (GG): has been shown to reduce the severity and duration of acute infectious diarrhea in children. As well as for the prevention of diarrhea in adults and pediatrics. It has also been shown to reduce the pain associated with irritable bowel symptoms in children.
Bifidobacterium Lactis (Bl-04) and Lactobacillus paracasei (Lpc-37): in a study together with 2 more strains showed that they restored the intestinal flora during and after treatment with antibiotics. (eleven)
Lactobacillus casei (DN-114001): are used in fermented milk with other probiotics as adjuvant therapy to eradicate Pylori.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Boulardii): it is a fungus that inhibits the growth of pathogenic bacteria and also for diarrhea associated with antibiotics, both in adults and in children.
Lactobacillus Plantarum (299v): in addition to its antioxidant activity it helps maintain intestinal permeability, that is, the barrier for the absorption of nutrients. It also helps in the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, reduces the sensation of swelling, flatulence, diarrhea or constipation and relieves pain and gastrointestinal inflammation.
Bifidobacterium infantis (35624): can improve pain and relieve some symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. It also prevents enterocolitis and also belongs to the group of bacteria that produce B vitamins and digestive enzymes.
It is not possible to establish a general dose for probiotics, the dosage must be individual for each product and it will also be taken into account if it is an adult patient or child. The products marketed should indicate a recommended dose, which should be based on the physiological effect.
Therefore, after seeing some of the many probiotics that exist, it is important to emphasize that not all probiotics are the same or offer the same therapeutic action. Your guideline should always be recommended by a health professional and always as a supplement to a balanced diet.