Types of Probiotic Bacteria and How They Can Help

Probiotic Bacteria

Probiotics are great for general health and for treating specific problems especially related to the gut, but the range in the market can leave a consumer confused as to what would be best for them. To help with this, it is important to know that there are actually different strains of probiotics and each strain is beneficial in a specific way. It will help you to know what to look for in a probiotic.

There are 2 different types of Probiotic bacteria:

Lactobacilli

These are the most numerous in the upper gut (there is a different type that is found in the colon, although many commercially manufactured probiotic supplements contain both). Lactobacilli has some specific benefits:

  • It prevents growth of disease causing microbes especially of the Candida variety, e coli, h pylori and salmonella.
  • It is the best for treating diarrhoea brought on by taking antibiotics.
  • It is specific also to the treatment of lactose intolerance. It helps with production of lactase which is the enzyme necessary to break down the sugar that’s found in milk.
  • It is useful in increasing nutrient absorption, especially of vitamin B and others like iron, magnesium and phosphorous.
  • It’s this strain that provides antigens when there are harmful foreign bacteria in the intestinal tract. This makes it the strain that fights food poisoning.
  • It’s responsible for the acid levels in the gut – a low pH in your stomach means less pathogens and less yeast.
  • It’s the one that fights vaginal and urinary tract infections.

Bifidobacteria

This strain is found in the colon. It lines the entire lower intestine and the colon, which means it’s the protective army of the lower part of your gut.

  • It protects the large intestines from harmful bacteria and yeasts.
  • It produces acids that keep the lower intestinal tract at the right pH levels. This is important because an imbalance would allow microbes to grow and cause disease.
  • It’s the one that kicks in when you have been on antibiotic therapy. They will reduce the effects on your gut from the medication.
  • It’s the main bacteria in the guts of babies. It aids with nutrient absorption and thus helps the baby to grow.
  • It stops the growth of bacteria that produce nitrates, which are toxic and can cause cancer in the long run.
  • It’s a toxin fighter – it aids the liver in getting rid of any toxins that may have been ingested, especially if they are ingested in trace amounts.
  • It’s responsible for bowel movements, the ones that tell you when its time to go for a number 2.
  • It also aids in fighting diarrhoea that has been caused by antibiotics.

Now you know the 2 major strains and which part and how they benefit your body most. The way to choose is to isolate your problem, so that when you are choosing a probiotic, you can be able to know what to look for. You may also want to know which specific bacteria exist in different probiotics (they are numerous), but generally knowing the 2 strains and where they work best should be a start-off point.

Remember though, that fortunately, most probiotics contain both so it may not be such a tough choice to make. Make sure to buy a brand that’s well reputed and that’s been known to work.

Sources:

  1. http://www.ei-resource.org/related-conditions-books/digestive-disorders/digestive-wellness/ Probiotics and Prebiotics by Liz Lipski
  2. http://www.functionalingredientsmag.com/article/Formulations/probiotics-strains-matter.aspx – Probiotic Strains Matter by Mary Ellen Sanders

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *