About the nutrient
The term ‘probiotics’ (roughly meaning, ‘for life’) describes living microorganisms (such as bacteria) that, when consumed, offer health benefits. These friendly bacteria ‘colonize’ in the gut and have shown potential in research for a range of health benefits.
Why do we need to supplement?
From birth, our digestive system contains a range of bacteria known collectively as our ‘microbiome’. There are many different strains of bacteria in the human gut, but at time this diversity decreases or numbers of ‘bad’ bacteria may increase. For instance, when we take antibiotic medications after an infection, our levels of bacteria in the gut decrease, and a probiotic can replace lost beneficial bacteria.
Some people have fewer bacteria per gram in the gut than the average. The number of lactic acid bacteria in our gut is adversely affected by factors such as smoking, alcohol, medication (especially antibiotics), pathogenic bacteria (from food or air), and stress. Also our eating habits affect the quantity and composition of our intestinal flora.
How do beneficial bacteria work in the body?
Beneficial probiotic bacteria cultures colonize and grow in the gut. It’s here that the bacteria confer their benefits in various ways. Firstly, all bacteria in the gut compete for space and resources. When promoting the number of good bacteria, we effectively ‘overcrowd’ the bacteria that may cause harmful effects such as infections. Also, beneficial bacteria may produce beneficial compounds and make other nutrients more accessible to the body.
Particularly important types of probiotic are referred to as ‘lactic acid bacteria’.
Lactic acid bacteria have many different functions in the intestine. They help break down starch and fibre substances from the diet, they produce some vitamins and short chain fatty acids. They communicate with the many nerve cells, immune cells and hormone-producing cells in the gut. They also form a multitude of bioactive compounds that enter the bloodstream and affect our biology in countless ways.
Benefits in research
Probiotics have been shown to produce short chain fatty acids including butyric acid, which can help regulate electrolyte levels in the body (magnesium, calcium and sodium). This is important for proper digestion, bowel movements and preventing diarrhoea.
Probiotic strains such as BB-12 have been shown to improve bowel function, to have a protective effect against diarrhea, and to reduce side effects of antibiotic treatment, such as antibiotic-associated diarrhea 1. Lactobacillus acidophilus has also been shown to reduce diarrhea associated with antibiotics and a common infection called Clostridium difficile, or C. diff 2.
Probiotics have also been shown to improve the digestive absorption of certain nutrients, including iron.
A review of multiple studies found that probiotic supplements are an effective option for preventing traveller's diarrhea, specially Lactobacillus acidophilus 3 (found in Bio-Culture).
In terms of immune function, various clinical studies have shown that the probiotic strain BB-12 increases the body’s resistance to common respiratory infections as well as reducing the incidence of acute respiratory tract infections 1.
Lactobacillus acidophilus has also been shown to significantly stimulate the immune system, decreasing the risk of a variety of infections including viral infections 4.
Why Pharma Nord?
Bio-Culture consists of small, easy to swallow vegetable capsules each containing 4 billion live bacteria divided into two strains of friendly lactic acid bacteria: Lactobacillus acidophilus (La-2) and Bifidobacterium lactis (BB-12).
These two strains are two of the most scientifically documented strains of probiotic bacteria. BB-12, for instance, is the most documented bifidobacterium, with more than 300 scientific studies featuring the strain.
Safely delivers the bacteria
Many probiotic products fail to supply sufficient viable (living) bacteria because the bacteria are killed by the strong stomach acid before they reach the small intestine. In order to achieve their benefits, the bacteria must be protected from acid and reach the small intestine. This is done in three main ways:
- A special gel matrix that forms when the capsule dissolves in the stomach, offering protection to the bacteria until it has reached the small intestine.
- Special cryo-technology which ensures that the bacteria do not die, but are in a dormant state until they reach the small intestine.
- The two strains used in Bio-Culture (LA-2 and BB-12) are lactic acid bacteria, which are naturally resistant to stomach acid.
Many probiotic supplements on the market are of poor quality assurance. A 2017 Report for the European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition found that many probiotic strains are frequently misidentified, contaminated or the bacteria is no longer live. The report cites the importance of of probiotic supplements produced under pharmaceutical quality assurance 5 (such as Bio-Culture).
- Jungersen M, Wind A, Johansen E, Christensen J, Stuer-Lauridsen B, Eskesen D. The Science behind the Probiotic Strain Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12®. Microorganisms. 2014;2(2):92-110.
- Gao X, Mubasher M, Fang C, Reifer C, Miller L. Dose–Response Efficacy of a Proprietary Probiotic Formula of Lactobacillus acidophilus CL1285 and Lactobacillus casei LBC80R for Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea and Clostridium difficile-Associated Diarrhea Prophylaxis in Adult Patients. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2010;105(7):1636-1641.
- McFarland L. Meta-analysis of probiotics for the prevention of traveler's diarrhea. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease. 2007;5(2):97-105.
- Weiss G, Rasmussen S, Zeuthen L, Nielsen B, Jarmer H, Jespersen L et al. Lactobacillus acidophilus induces virus immune defence genes in murine dendritic cells by a Toll-like receptor-2-dependent mechanism. Immunology. 2010;131(2):268-281.
- Kolaček S, Hojsak I, Berni Canani R, Guarino A, Indrio F, Orel R et al. Commercial Probiotic Products. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 2017;65(1):117-124.