Bacterial Count Discussion Regarding A Five-Year, Natural Temperature Fermentation Japanese Probiotic OMX Product
By: Iichiroh Ohhira, Ph.D., October 2000
Some people in the United States continue to believe the myth that a probiotic product is inferior if the bacterial count does not equal several tens of billions. This belief is wrong and its proponents most likely are not familiar with state-of-the-art probiotic products developed in Japan using a five-year, natural temperature fermentation process!
The Japanese, recognized as leaders in the development and use of probiotics, discontinued their efforts to further increase the bacterial count in their probiotic products more than a decade ago. That decision was based on scientific research that ultimately, late in the 20th Century, led to the improvement of new, high technology probiotic products. Today, the best of the Japanese probiotic products appears to be several technological generations ahead of all freeze dried and most other probiotic products now being manufactured in the United States.
Usually, a product that contains tens of billions of live lactic acid bacteria is endorsed because of the mistaken belief (and hope) that substantial numbers of the bacteria might survive the challenging journey that begins with the manufacturing process and concludes with the implantation of bacteria in the colon. It has now been established that the majority of the lactic acid bacteria contained in high bacterial count products die before they are consumed. Also, many of the remaining bacteria are often killed after consumption1 and before they are able to implant themselves in the upper colon.
When freeze-dried and certain other probiotic products are eaten, they do not contain the high numbers of live lactic acid bacteria guaranteed by the manufacturer to be present at the time of packaging1 . Eighty percent of the bacteria die before consumption! The remaining live bacteria often do not survive the trip from the mouth to the colon because of their inability to endure the harsh stomach acids. Live bacteria also die after reaching the colon if sufficient levels of naturally developed fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are not present when they arrive. The natural FOS are required to provide nourishment for the bacteria and permit their survival while battling the well-established colonies of bad microflora already in the colon.
Japanese research scientists, including the award-winning microbiologist, Iichiroh Ohhira, Ph.D., and his team of research scientists from Okayama University, do not recommend using probiotic products that allegedly contain tens of billions of live lactic acid bacteria. They recommend products that contain several strains of naturally developed organic acids that are encapsulated along with important strains of lactic acid bacteria, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Dr. Ohhira's probiotic OMX product, which was developed in the 1980s, selected as Japan's "Best New Product" in 1991, and improved over time, contains four types of naturally-fermented organic acids that enhance the body's ability to generate lactic acid bacteria and support the body's efforts to utilize the 12 strains of friendly lactic acid bacteria (numbering in the billions) contained in the product. Since all of the bacteria in the product are alive when eaten and because of the specially formulated enteric-coated capsule, the entire contents of the capsule survive the trip to the colon. The existence of naturally developed fructooligosaccharides (FOS), developed during the five-year natural fermentation process, provides the nourishment required by the lactic acid bacteria upon their arrival in the colon. This permits the live lactic acid bacteria to thrive while they fight and destroy the bad bacteria residing in the colon. The bacteria also consume these same naturally developed fructooligosaccharides (FOS) while existing in the enteric-coated capsule, thus leading to a more than three-year shelf life.
The proprietary E. faecalis TH 10 strain of live lactic acid bacteria present in the OMX product may be the most important component of Dr. Ohhira's OMX probiotic product. This strain was developed from the Malaysian food delicacy--tempeh. It is 6.25 times stronger than any other lactic acid bacteria. This strain is guaranteed to kill and remove the bad bacteria living in the colon, as well as eliminate the toxins produced by those bacteria. The TH 10 remains in the colon and when a pathogenic invader arrives, it along with the T cells and B cells attack and destroy the invader. As university-based, in vitro studies indicate, the TH 10 strain is effective against E. coli 0-157, H. pylori, and the Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus "superbug."
The Japanese are not the only scientists who caution against using high bacterial count probiotics. In Probiotics: A Critical Review, the author examines the body's autoimmune response to the entry of tens of billions of lactic acid bacteria-whether they are alive or dead, friendly or unfriendly'. The author notes that when bacteria enter the body, it immediately determines whether the invading bacteria are of "self' or "non-self." When the body determines that the invading bacteria are of "non-self," as usually occurs when large numbers of bacteria enter the body, it elicits an autoimmune response against the bacteria and directs the body to fight the invaders. When this occurs, a substantial number of bacteria are destroyed because of the immune system's inherent response to "non-self' invaders. The Japanese scientists, being aware of how the immune system responds to the invasion of tens of billions of bacteria, reduced the number of bacteria in their product to assure a favorable immune system response, which enhances the ability of the friendly bacteria to implant themselves in the colon.
1. Tannock, Gerald W., Probiotics: A Critical Review, Horizon Scientific Press, January 1999