The Function of Multi Strain Probiotics in the Human Body
Probiotics are well known for their presence in our small and large intestine, but there are actually human microbiota in our oral cavity, respiratory tract, genito-urinary tract and skin too! There are 100,000 billion microbes in the intestine and only 1,000 billion on our skin, and this colonization begins at birth, assuming the mother has a vaginal birth.
As the baby travels through the birth canal she/he is coated in the mother’s bacteria and begins to colonize these as her own. In the case of a c-section birth a baby is robbed of this “gift” from her mother and comes from a sterile environment (the uterus) into a hospital setting, where her first exposure is to hospital bacteria such as Streptococcus and Staphylococcus, which increases the incidence of gastroenteritis, allergies and IBS. In breast milk, this inoculation continues for the baby in numbers that are significant for the neonatal gut status. By the age of 2, the intestinal microbiota takes on adult characteristics, driven largely by the baby’s intake of major food groups.
Let’s look at the two strains of bacteria found in the body:
These are referred to as “human strain” bacteria, as they re-establish and adhere to the intestinal tract to repair the body’s intestinal flora. They are naturally found in the human intestine and have a high tolerance to stomach acid and bile salts.
Examples of Resident Strains
Transient strains are found outside the human intestinal tract, but are still very helpful in promotion and maintenance of its optimal health. These bacteria can be found living on many vegetables (if organic; spraying with pesticides/herbicides can destroy them). These transient strains do not re-establish in the gut so we must obtain them through our diet or supplementation.
Examples of Transient Strains
In comparing animals with healthy microbiota against those who are “germ free” it was found that healthy gut flora:
- is crucial for normal anatomy and physiology.
- can provide protection against infection.
- influences the immune system from birth throughout life.
- affects many metabolic functions to the host.
- offers some protection from hyper-permeability.
Our intestines are our largest immune “organ” and the upper intestinal tract is responsible for 70-80% of our immune function in the body. But it is also, depending on diet/supplementation, a place of possible inflammation which then contributes to systemic inflammation.
Clearly, from the above tables, we can see the importance of a multi strain probiotic, especially during our “cold and flu” season. A multi-strain formula works synergistically to protect us from many of the assaults that we face in our everyday lives, promoting optimal functioning of our gut based immune function and offering non-immunological protection against infection.
“If we did not have any good bacteria we would die within 5 years!” Dr N Plummer
When you are looking for probiotics always look for one that has human clinical trials for the condition you are working with not just the strains.
Dr Nigel Plummer did report on the “Lab4 Consortium”, specifically Genestra’s HMF Intensive, which refers to:
Lactobacillus acidophilus – strain 1
Lactobacillus acidophilus – strain 2
Bifidobacterium animalis (var lactis)
as having gone through clinical trials for its effectiveness in IBS, C Difficile, antibiotic resistance, autism, allergy, eczema, coughs, colds, anxiety, cognitive function, stress reactivity, obesity, liver disease and kidney disease. Through human clinical trials we are assured that the professional line formulation, not just the ingredients has proven their efficacy in these health issues.
Sue Skillins, CNP, CHCP, NNC
Live Cell Microscopist
Edison Institute Faculty