BY: Dr. Kim Leis-Keeling
What do you know about probiotics…other than they are in your yogurt? Maybe you have seen Jamie Lee Curtis on the commercials promoting Activia yogurt for intestinal regularity. Here is the scoop: probiotics are microorganisms that live in our gut (small and large intestine) and other areas of our bodies. These little guys are a major component of your immune system. Science has referred to our guts as a “second brain” because these organisms send signals to our brains to let it know what is going on below. This system is called the Brain-Gut-Microbiome Axis. Scientists are discovering more specifications as to their effects on the human body. Recent research suggests that by having a strong intestinal immune system it has a synergistic effect on the integrity of the brain. This communication through the endocrine system (hormones) and the immune system can result in reduced stress, anxiety, depression and appetite control to name a few benefits. In years to come, you will start to see more information relating specific bacteria (or lack of it in our gut-biome) and causing illness in our bodies. Here is a list of some of the most common probiotic microorganisms that you may see on supplement labels:
Lactobacillus acidophilus: One of the main probiotics found in mouth, intestines and vagina.It aids in digestion and also treats diarrhea, Candida, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), UTI’s, leaky gut syndrome, reduces lactose intolerance, increases our absorption of calcium, B vitamins and can even improve appetite control. Helps balance pH of the upper intestinal track which may help with heartburn. It also facilitates the digestion of lactose.
Bifidobacterium lactis: Main probiotic to break down body waste & aid in the absorption of various vitamins & minerals. Decreases lactose intolerance, IBS, constipation and diarrhea. It decreases cavity causing bacteria in the mouth, fights cancer tumors, reduces colds, flu and strengthens the immune system.
Lactobacillus plantarum: This probiotic produces antibiotics and lysine, an essential amino acid. It can help fight topical burn infections while accelerating burn healing. Fights fungal infection and postoperative infections. It decreases frequency of colds, flu and strengthens your immune system specifically in nasal and sinus passages.
Lactobacillus casei: Good for digestion, allergies, immune system. Helps to maintain remission of diverticular disease, resists ulcers by inhibiting H. pylori. It prevents colorectal tumor growth and inhibits tumor growth of carcinomatous peritonitis/stomach cancer.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus: Helps maintain a healthy vaginal microbiota by increasing beneficial bacteria making this a great treatment for chronic vaginosis. Supports urogenital health. Boosts immune system to reduce colds and flu, respiratory infections and ear infections.
Bifodobacterium bifidum: This probiotic directly competes with Candida & yeast overgrowth, fights E. coli infections, decreases allergies, reduces ulcers and inflammation.
Lactobacillus salivarius: Fast growing hardy probiotic that crowds out bad bacteria quickly. It produces antibiotics that target invading pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella. It aids in protein digestion, reduces cavities, gingivitis and strep throat. It can also reduces mastitis, ulcerative colitis and IBS. Supports intestinal epithelial tight junctions to reduce leaky gut or intestinal permeability.
Streptococcus thermophiles: Produces antibiotics that prevent infections like pneumonia, C. difficile and ulcers caused by H. pylori. Decreases ulcerative colitis, IBS, and acute diarrhea. Reduces symptomatic dermatitis, chance of kidney stones and has anti-tumor activity. Improves immunity.
If you would like to learn more about how probiotics can improve your health, we are here to answer your questions and help you boost your immune system. If you want to do your own research, GO TO GOOGLE SCHOLAR, not regular Google! This will give you research articles about whatever health topic you wish to learn about. As always, feel free to contact me at the Sports & Spinal Wellness Center at 518-869-3415 or visit our website www.sportsandspinalwellness.com, follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sportsandspinalwellness.