Probiotics Support the Colon & Help the Body Produce Its Own Lactic Acid Bacteria
Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D., CNS
TOTAL HEALTH Volume 28, No.5, February 2007
For more than two decades, I have studied, written and spoken about probiotics and have recommended their use to thousands. In my book, 'The Fast Track One-Day Detox Diet', I stress the importance of probiotics to weight reduction.
I believe probiotics are one of the unsung heroes supporting good health and a strong immune system. Since the majority of the immune system's receptors are located in the GI tract, mainly the colon, it is plausible that a healthy colon may be an indicator of a strong immune system.
While studying probiotics, I have learned that not all probiotics work the same. Some probiotics clearly appear to be better than others. Why? Let me take a few minutes to explain my beliefs.
First, let me define "probiotics." Probiotics are described by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as "microorganisms administered in adequate amounts to confer a beneficial health effect on the host." For the purposes of this discussion, probiotics are synonymous with lactic acid bacteria, which often are called the "good" bacteria. A healthy colon should contain a ratio of 85 percent good bacteria to not more than 15 percent bad bacteria.
The beneficial effects of probiotic use may include-support of a healthy colon; enhancement of the immune system; synthesized and enhanced bioavailability of nutrients; improvements in the consumption of lactose products; support of healthy bowel movements; and support of healthy cell activity.
The expanding knowledge of probiotics encourages proactive behavior. I recommend that probiotics become a part of everyone's regimen of daily supplements. When seeking good health and a strong immune system, the use of probiotics may be without equal.
Much has been said and written about the differences between probiotic products. It is argued that some pro biotic products contain more colony forming units (CFU) than others and hence, the former is better than the later. Others suggest it is the different strains of probiotics in their product that make their's better than others. Still others believe that a probiotic product that also contains prebiotics makes their product better than others. To an extent, each of these arguments is valid.
A particular level of CFUs is required in any "good" probiotic. And since various strains of probiotics serve different purposes, several symbiotic strains (i.e., those having a mutually beneficial relationship) in the same product may be beneficial. Further, synbiotic products (i.e., those containing both a probiotic and prebiotic ingredient) appear to offer additional health benefits. I recommend that it might be best to have a single product that contains adequate levels of CFUs, multi-strains of lactic acid bacteria and a prebiotic ingredient, among other things.
I believe, however, there is one powerful test that must be met for a probiotic product to be rated as an "excellent" product.
The question I ask is this - when is a probiotic product more than just a product designed to flood the colon with friendly bacteria in the hope that some of the bacteria will pass through the stomach's acidic barrier and find their way to the colon?
My many years of clinical observation supports my conclusion that a probiotic is more than just a high CFU lactic acid bacteria product when it is capable of helping the body support the gastrointestinal tract, including the colon, and aid in the body's production of its own unique strains of lactic acid bacteria. In other words, when it helps the body maintain a healthy colon and produce its own lactic acid bacteria. After all, isn't using the body's own capabilities to provide new strength and vigor one of the best routes to good health? What can be better than having the body produce its own special, unique strains of lactic acid bacteria?
Now, the good news! I use such a unique probiotic product personally and in my practice. The product is known as Dr Ohhira's Probiotics.
Initial reports from Japan confirm my theory that Dr Ohhira's probiotic supplement is capable of providing intense support for a healthy colon. Also, since the product is designed to encourage the body's health-giving capabilities, it need not be consumed daily.
Scientists have known for decades that good bacteria adhere to the colon walls and take up space that otherwise might be inhabited by pathogenic invaders. This is one of the many mechanisms of probiotics that has been well established for many years, dating back to scientific research by Dr. Elie Metchnikoff who received a Nobel Prize for his work on probiotics early in the 20th Century.
I believe the ability of the body to maintain a healthy colon and to produce its own strains of lactic acid bacteria is driven by the cohesion of lactic acid bacteria in the colon, which is then enhanced by the health-giving activities derived from additional ingredients present in Dr. Ohhira's product.
This combination of ingredients includes naturally developed prebiotics, hydrogen peroxide, enzymes, organic acids, bacteriocins, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. I believe that only when these ingredients are present and working properly in the body is the body able to reestablish and maintain a healthy colon and produce its own lactic acid bacteria.
This "self-maintenance" process begs the question. Why does this process occur when taking certain pro biotic products but not when taking others?
Dr. Iichiroh Ohhira and his team of research scientists from Japan have concluded that the body's health-giving capabilities, as they relate to the colon, are enhanced by the good bacteria delivered to the colon in the medium (i.e., fermented paste isolate) in which they were developed. I agree that the best probiotic products are those whose ingredients contain not only several strains of lactic acid bacteria but also the micronutrient by-products and other valuable ingredients naturally developed during a lengthy fermentation period. The capability of the body to help itself seems to stem from the use of products that are fermented for years rather days, weeks or months.
Let me now focus on some of the wellness benefits provided by Dr. Ohhira's Probiotics, which is manufactured in Japan and distributed in the United States by Essential Formulas.
The product is named after Dr. Ohhira, an award-winning microbiologist who studied at Okayama University. In my opinion, his probiotic is the most unique pro biotic in the world today. Dr. Ohhira has dedicated his life to the study of human bacteria and how to improve human health by ensuring the presence of adequate colonies of friendly bacteria in the colon and elsewhere.
After more than 25 years of thorough research, Dr. Ohhira concluded that good health prevails when the friendly bacteria in the GI tract are properly colonized. He also found that the consumption and short-term presence of good bacteria alone does not lead to good health. Rather a balance between the good and bad bacteria is necessary.
This beneficial balance, according to Dr. Ohhira, can only be realized, he argues by reconditioning the colonic pH. Simply introducing friendly bacteria in large numbers will not resolve the situation.
Dr. Ohhira's probiotics is developed using 12 strains of lactic acid bacteria, including what may be the strongest strain of lactic acid bacteria known to bacteriologists. It maintains an optimum pH in the colon so necessary to the maintenance of a strong and healthy colon. As we know, a healthy colon enhances the body's immune functions and promotes a healthy balance of friendly bacteria and other flora in the colon.
This non-dairy product is the only one I have found that also provides the vast array of ingredients necessary to aid the body's efforts to support good health and a strong colon. It is important to maintain a healthy colon so it will continue to produce its own unique strains of good bacteria-bacteria not only required to support a healthy colon and immune system but also for the support of healthy liver functions.
Worldwide travelers like the product because it does not require refrigeration due to its unique formulation process. The product is fermented for several years in a natural temperature environment. What this means is that as the environmental conditions change during spring, summer, fall and winter, the product alters itself-the weaker bacteria die and the progeny of the stronger bacteria become even stronger. With each generation, the strong bacteria get stronger.
After the all-natural, non-GMO ingredients are fermented for several years, the finished product is delivered to a leading encapsulating firm for final preparation. It is tested a final time for product purity and to assure ingredient compliance with rigid product specifications. The product is encapsulated in an expensive, high-tech, enteric-coated capsule to ensure that the product passes through the stomach and delivers its ingredients to the colon. Since the capsule material is composed entirely of vegetable ingredients, the entire product may be designated as "vegan."
In addition to the 12 strains of lactic acid bacteria used to ferment the product, ingredients include four strains of organic acid that help recondition the colon's pH. A properly acidic colon is required for good lactic acid bacteria to thrive while bad bacteria die.
The fructooligosacharides (FOS) in Dr. Ohhira's product are prebiotics naturally developed during the fermentation process. FOS provides nutrients to the lactic acid bacteria during the fermentation process, while encapsulated and at the time of delivery to the colon. I believe FOS also is important to support the body's capability to produce its own lactic acid bacteria. Naturally developed bacteriocins and hydrogen peroxide are important ingredients to help kill and eliminate pathogenic invaders. Important enzymes are present to help with digestion and other health supporting functions.
Dr. Ohhira's probiotics are free of chemicals, preservatives, artificial additives, coloring agents and animal by-products.
As millions of television viewers have seen on Dr. Phil and The View, Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D., CNS, is continually breaking new ground in all aspects of health-from natural hormone replacement to effective and safe weight loss. Hailed as one of the most respected and innovative nutritionists in America today, she is the award-winning author of nearly 25 books on health and healing with over 4 million copies in print. Her latest New York Times and USA Today bestsellers are 'Before the Change' and 'The Fat Flush Plan'. A frequent guest on national television and radio, Ann Louise Gittleman currently resides in the Inland Northwest.