Get down to the guts and bolts of digestive health science and learn exactly how enzymes and probiotics work.
Health conscious consumers are developing a greater awareness of probiotics and how their bodies rely on the “good” bacteria that live in the gut to execute essential biological processes– ranging from assisting in the manufacture of essential vitamins and minerals, to supporting the metabolism by turning fibers into short-chain fatty acids. Maintaining the intestinal flora is critical to ensuring optimal digestive performance and keeping the body healthy, especially considering that 80% of the body’s immune cells reside in the gut. While consumers receive probiotics from foods like yogurt and kimchi, they are increasingly turning to supplements to give their good gut bacteria an added boost. For supplement product formulators, understanding the types of microorganisms in the gut and their specific functions is important in order to help demanding consumers reach their goals of overall gut health.
The majority of probiotic strains fall into the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genus groups. Both are lactic acid producing bacteria that reside and function in different areas of the gut. Lactobacilli function in the small intestines and Bifidobacteria in the large intestines. In addition to producing lactic acid, Bifidobacteria also produce acetic acid which reduces growth of yeasts and molds.
The different species within these groups perform a variety of different functions and benefits. For example, Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria help maintain the integrity of intestinal walls, while Lactobacillus fermentum helps neutralize toxic products made during digestion. Lactobacillus rhamnosus is a strain known as the “travel probiotic”, and is found to be effective in reducing traveler’s diarrhea. Bifidobacteria bifidum is especially helpful in properly digesting dairy. Bifidobacteria longum supplements help crowd out bad bacteria, neutralize everyday toxins in the gut, and assist in breaking down carbohydrates without producing excess gas.
Another category of probiotics is spore forming bacteria, such as those in the Bacillus genus. Spore forming bacteria have the ability to generate endospores to protect themselves from harsh conditions until they enter target sites such as the GI tract. Because of their superior resilience, spore forming strains such as Bacillus subtilis-DE111® remain viable under a wide temperature range, eliminating the need for refrigeration. They can survive the stomach’s acidity, crowd out bad bacteria for a better balanced gut flora, and increase immune reaction of intestinal cells.
When formulating a probiotic supplement product, it’s important to know that the potency of probiotics is measured in colony forming units (CFU). CFUs measure the number of live, active organisms present, and are commonly presented in the range of 5-10 billion cells per serving. They are measured at the time of manufacture, and formulated and labeled for the time of consumption. Because not all of the non-spore forming bacteria will remain viable when they arrive at their intended destination in the body, it’s a common practice for manufacturers to formulate with higher doses of probiotic bacteria than the CFU count they list on the label of the product. Including a highly stable spore forming probiotic is a good way to maximize the product’s stability and shelf life.
Consumers are increasingly understanding that caring for the gut, and the good bacteria that reside there, is important to overall health. Different probiotic bacteria have been shown to provide different benefits, so it’s important that a range of probiotics are made available to meet the diverse needs of individuals. Deerland Enzymes and Probiotics is a leading formulator and contract manufacturer of enzyme and probiotic based dietary supplements. For more information about Deerland and the digestive health technologies we offer, visit us online at http://deerlandenzymes.com/about-us-2/