Probiotic Complete contain four strains of probiotic bacteria, including Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium, as well as Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, which are the beneficial strains of bacteria used in yogurt. A special polysaccharide matrix delivery system protects the probiotics from stomach acid to ensure optimum delivery in the gut. This product requires no refrigeration. There are 2 billion probiotic bacteria in each capsule of Probiotic Complete.
Probiotics are bacteria supplements that are taken to improve gut health. A popular misconception is that probiotics are supposed to permanently colonize in the intestine. Rather, they exert their effects as they pass through the intestinal tract and appear to have three functional areas (1):
1. We have more bacteria in the gastrointestinal (GI) than human cells throughout our entire body. Probiotic supplements help maintain the balance in favor of healthy gut bacteria. They reduce gut pH and release antibacterial products called bacteriocins. Probiotics may also influence gene expression in pathogenic bacteria and thereby reduce their virulence. Additionally, probiotics can transiently bind to epithelial cells and prevent binding of pathogenic bacteria and their growth.
2. Probiotics stimulate the internal cells of the GI tract to produce mucin and defensins. Mucin serves as an antibacterial shield that prevents the binding of pathogenic bacteria, while defensins are antibacterial proteins. Probiotics also strengthen the bond between internal cells of the GI tract to prevent the absorption of bacteria and allergens.
3. Probiotics influence the immune cells in the wall of the GI tract. They reduce immune release of pro-inflammatory chemicals and stimulate immune cell release of anti-inflammatory chemicals.
Research has demonstrated that significant structural changes occur in the gut bacterial flora with aging, and this was especially evident with respect to bifidobacteria, which are considered to be protective. It is proposed that reductions in these organisms in the large intestine may be related to increased disease risk in the elderly. Researchers endeavored to measure the levels of bifidobacteria in the stool of elderly subjects and found that, indeed, levels were reduced. Remarkably, however, was the fact that one individual highly skewed the results. This subject was described as an unusually healthy and fitness conscious 67 year old male, who had very high counts of these organisms (2).
Researchers recently treated patients suffering with irritable bowel syndrome with probiotics, and found that there was a symptomatic improvement (3,4). In some studies with pregnant and then nursing mothers, supplementation with probiotics led to reduced expression of allergic diseases in their infants (5,6).
Based on the above, it seems reasonable to supplement with probiotics.
- Sherman PM, Ossa JC, Johnson-Henry K. Unraveling mechanisms of action of probiotics. Nutr Clin Pract. 2009;24:10-14.
- Hopkins MJ et al. Age and disease related changes in intestinal bacterial populations assessed by cell culture, 16s rRNA abundance, and community cellular fatty acid profiles. Gut. 2001; 48:198-205.
- Fan YJ, Chen SJ, Yu YC, Si JM, Kiu B. A probiotic treatment containing Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Enterococcus improves IBS symptoms in an open label trial. J Zhejiang Univ Sci B. 2006; 7(12):987-91.
- Colecchia A, Vestito A, La Rocca A, Pasqui F, Nikiforaki A, Festi D. Effect of a symbiotic preparation on the clinical manifestations of irritable bowel syndrome, constipation-variant. Results of an open, uncontrolled multicenter study. Minerva Gastroenterol Dietol. 2006; 52(4):349-58.
- Kalliomaki M, Salminen S, Arvilommi H, Kero P, Koskinen P, Isolauri E. Probiotics in primary prevention of atopic disease: a randomised placebo-controlled trial. Lancet. 2001; 357(9262):1076-79.
- Rautava S, Kalliomaki M, Isolauri E. Probiotics during pregnancy and breast-feeding might confer immunomodulatory protection against atopic disease in the infant. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2002; 109(1):119-21.