Healthy Gut Flora Is Essential – Are You Taking the Right Probiotics?

By Dr. Linda J. Dobberstein, DC, Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition

August 5, 2019

Healthy Gut Flora Is Essential – Are You Taking the Right Probiotics?
Probiotic or probios means “for life” in Latin. Historically, fermented foods such as beer, wines, cheese, and breads provided probiotics. In the last century, starting with E. Metchnikoff, a Russian microbiologist and Louis Pasteur, scientists have discovered numerous benefits of probiotics essential for health. Fermented foods and probiotic supplements support and replenish the trillions of beneficial bacteria present in your gut. They affect not only your gastrointestinal system, but things throughout your body. You must feed, support, and replenish your beneficial bacteria on a regular basis.

Hundreds of different probiotic formulas are on the market. Numerous bacterial strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium exist along with other beneficial flora. Supplemental probiotic potencies range from a few billion up to 500 billion. There are strains specific for the human gut as well as others that are soil-based and spore probiotics. Kombucha teas and beverages, yogurts, kefirs, fermented vegetables and designer food products contain probiotics. It is hard to know what to choose when using a product.

Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains are some of the most studied probiotics for human health. We offer a probiotic supplement with some very hardy Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains able to withstand stomach and bile acids. Here are some recent research findings about the beneficial bacteria strains provided in Super Dophilus

Bifidobacterium longum BB536

A recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial study published in December 2018 evaluated the benefits of probiotics and exercise in senior citizens. Participants, ages 66 – 78 years, all underwent 12 weeks of resistance training. Half of the group was given a blend of Bifidobacterium probiotics including Bifidobacterium longum BB536 and the other half received a placebo.

At the end of the study, several beneficial outcomes were noted in the group who received the probiotic. Improvements were found with regularity of bowel movements, ease and comfort of passing stool, and consistency of stool. Other findings that were superior in the probiotic-exercise group included improved mood and healthier body weight.

BB536 and Immune Support

Probiotics are immunomodulatory. They influence the immune system’s ability to fight germs and manage inflammation. This immune activity was evaluated in a 10-month randomized, double-blind, parallel and placebo-controlled study on Malaysian preschool children ages 2-6 years of age. Children who received the probiotic Bifidobacterium BB536 experienced fewer respiratory concerns than the placebo group. Duration of sore throat, fever, runny nose, and cough were less in the children who received supplemental support.

Immune modulation of probiotics was also evaluated with expectant mothers in Japan. The women were given Bifidobacterium longum BB536 and another probiotic strain one month prior to delivery and for six months postnatal to evaluate allergic tendencies in the infants. The infants whose mother had received probiotics were found to have considerably less risk of developing skin allergic responses during the first 18 months of life compared to the placebo group. No adverse effects were found with use of the probiotics.

Bifidobacterium longum is one of the most abundant beneficial bacteria species in infants and adults. It is considered essential for gut health and has far-reaching positive effects on genetics.

BB536 Helps Critical Gut Compounds Biotin and Butyrate

Bifidobacterium longum BB536 helps biotin synthesis and butyrate production in the gut. Biotin is a B vitamin. It does many things to help your body, like metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. It is required for blood sugar regulation, nerve function, hair growth, immune system regulations, skin, cholesterol, muscle function and is needed to help folate, vitamin B5 and B12 work in your body. You need healthy Bifidus/Bifidobacterium levels to help make biotin and other B vitamins.

Butyrate is a highly beneficial short chain fatty acid (SCFA) that is produced when healthy gut bacteria like Bifidobacterium longum feed on non-absorbed carbohydrates and fibers. It helps the inside tissues of the digestive tract but also impacts metabolism in other parts of your body.

Inside the gut, butyrate helps the mucosal lining manage oxidative stress and daily wear and tear. It protects the natural defense lining of the gut wall and is involved with gut motility and fluid management in the intestinal tract. Outside the intestinal tract, butyrate affects hemoglobin, genetic metabolic disorders, cholesterol, insulin and genetic expression.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus R0011: Liver Health

Another outstanding probiotic strain, Lactobacillus rhamnosus R0011, was shown to help the gut-liver axis, which is the interplay between the gut and liver that manages toxins and cellular inflammation. In this animal study, various groups were tested with a normal diet, high fat diet, and alcohol intake; the latter two were used to cause gut-liver stress and high levels of inflammation. The group that received probiotics with other supplementation helped protect the liver from the metabolic stress of a high-fat diet and alcohol intake.

Antibiotic Use

The British Journal of Nutrition July 2016 reported the effectiveness of probiotic support after antibiotics. This 10-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel study evaluated Lactobacillus rhamnosus R0011 and another Lactobacillus strain on the effect of diarrhea caused by use of antibiotics. The study demonstrated that the Lactobacillus species “significantly reduced the duration” of diarrhea in healthy adults who had been treated with antibiotics.

Bladder, Vaginal, Immune Support

Studies regarding Lactobacillus acidophilus La-14 identified beneficial effects for healthy bladder wall and bladder flora. Intake of Lactobacillus acidophilus La-14 also supported healthy beneficial vaginal flora. Its presence helped crowd out adverse opportunistic bacteria and supported immune system activity against the other germs.

A 2008 study evaluated the effect of several beneficial strains including Bifidobacterium lactis Bl-04 and Lactobacillus acidophilus La-14. This group of probiotics supported a faster response to immune challenges by helping increase IgG immunoglobulin production. It was found that the probiotics acted as a natural adjuvant to the (humoral) immune system’s response to a vaccination. You can learn more about the importance of IgG in the article Viruses, Vaccinations, and Depression.

Lactobacillus plantarum R1012: Mood and Stress

The probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum R1012 with other Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium were found to help relieve the effects of chronic mild stress. Stress takes a toll on the gut flora and affects mood. In this animal study, use of the probiotics improved mood, stress responses, modulated immune-stress responses on the brain hippocampus (mood, memory, navigation) and gut flora of mice exposed to chronic stress.

Your Gut Flora

If you or a family member has spent any time at all in a senior care, nursing facility, or hospital, one of the most common daily questions with each resident/patient pertains to bowel movements. “Did you have a bowel movement today?” It doesn’t matter what age you are or what stage you are at in life. Healthy poop is a necessity of daily life.

The gut microbiome affects your entire body in one way or another. The studies shared above describe just a fraction of the benefits that healthy probiotics or probios “for life” provide.

About 70 percent of your immune system is in the gut, so the immune system is critically related to the health of your gut flora. Your gut flora also impacts your heart, your brain and neurotransmitters, skin, respiratory tract, kidneys, thyroid, leptin, insulin and blood sugar function, energy production, weight management, detoxification of environmental and your own internal production of toxins, and so much more.

A healthy gut microbiome is vital for every system in the body. No matter what your health is like, always make sure that your gut flora is supported, happy and healthy. Are your probiotics helping you with your “for life” needs?

Here are several additional resources to help you understand gut health, the microbiome and its interconnections with so many different things. This list is a snapshot of just how complex and needed your gut flora is for so many things. Enjoy learning!

Healthy Poop: What is Your Digestive Tract Telling You?

Leaky Gut Syndrome: More Than Just a Gut Problem

Gut Motility: Fundamentals to Master for Metabolism, Weight Management and Gut Health

An Astounding Discovery: Gut Flora Influences Brain Development

Friendly Flora Prevents Weight Gain from High Fat Diet

How Digestive Problems Prevent Weight Loss – The Leptin Diet Weight Loss Challenge #2

How Imbalanced Digestive Bacteria Cause Obesity & Heart Disease

Gut Problems Associated with Fatty Liver

Gut Bacteria Promote Storage of Calories by Your Liver

Candida Overgrowth Linked with Inflammatory Bowel Disease 

Maternal Immune Activation and Autism Spectrum Disorders  

ADHD and Brain Inflammation: Quench the Fire  

Gluten Intolerance, Gut Problems Linked with Roundup Toxicity 

Gluten Intolerance: What Does It Look Like?  

Bone Health Depends on Calcium, Team Player Nutrients and Gut Flora  

Atrial Fibrillation Linked to Stress, Diabetes, Dental Health, and Gut Health  

Eye Health and Gut Health Linked  

Curcumin Supports Gut Lining and Health

Rosacea – Linked with Gut, Nerve and Immune System Dysfunction  

COPD – Protectying the Lung Mitochondria and Microbiome 

Kidney Stones: The Root Cause

Ten Things that Interfere with Thyroid Function  

Chronic Sinusitis Linked with Periodontal Disease, Candida, and Food Allergies  

NSAIDs Injure Gut Lining and Mitochondria 

Non-Antibiotic Drugs Found to Harm Gut Flora  

Proton Pump Inhibitors Lead to C Diff, SIBO, Dementia, and Heart Attacks  

Top Essential for Daily Health – What’s Your Health Trend?  

Gallbladder Function Requires a Healthy Thyroid 

Mold Allergies and Toxins – Damaging Effects Must Be Managed  

The Keto Diet: Know the Risks 

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