Posted by nutricentre, Jan 2012.
I'm covering this topic, since many M.E. sufferers will have compromised digestive function.
Peter Cartwright has a microbiology background. He currently words for Protexin, also going under Probiotics International Ltd. a UK company that produces the Bio-Kult label. Cartwright authored the book, Probiotics for Crohns and Colitis.
Here are the summary notes for the video:
Microflora: a collection of microbes that live in a host. Good microflora in the gut in particular can help regulate germs and aid nutrition and better immune responses.
Bacteria only live on the surface of the gut, not in the gut tissue itself.
There was a belief with the development of antibiotics that all microorganisms could be controlled and even eradicated. However, as we know, microbes have adapted to many antibiotics and have become drug resistant. Another consequence of antibiotic overuse - they kill the good bacteria as well as the bad bacteria.
The body's main defenses against harmful bacteria: the skin, mucus, microflora, and the immune system.
The 5 main areas where microflora are present: intestine (also where half of body's immune cells are located - this is an area of high demand of protection, since the intestine has the dual function of digesting food, as well as protecting against germs among that food intake), skin, upper respiratory tract, mouth, and vagina (dominated by lacto-bacilli).
Aerobes - these bacteria live with oxygen; they inhabit areas toward the mouth
Anaerobes - these bacteria live without oxygen; they inhabit areas toward the stomach
Stomach acid is effective in killing germs; germs generally don't like acidic environments.
In the 1970s, studies were done with germ-free mice. The mice who carried microflora showed more resistance to disease. This has bearing on today's over-usage of anti-bacterial products, and heavy reliance on birth by caesarian section. Breast feeding becomes the most important early source of introducing natural probiotics into the newborn baby.
Candida albecans is naturally present in the gut as a yeast. If the candida levels rise excessively, it can become a very persistant fungal infection, with hyphe and spores lodging themselves deeply into the gut wall. Anti-fungal, rather than antibiotic medication is needed for treatment. (Some cases of M.E. can be linked to a sufferer having candida, which is why understanding candida is important.)
So, eventually after the 40 minute mark in the video, in comes the role of probiotics. Some probiotics have good anti-fungal inhibitive properties. Overall, probiotics can improve the microflora and immune responses.
Temperatures hotter than the body can kill the pro-biotics. Therefore, probiotics cannot be consumed in a hot beverage.
The reason why diarrhea is a common symptom when taking antibiotics - the antibiotics damage the microflora in the gut and bowels. Clostridium dificil in 1/5th of sufferers can lead to pseudo-colitis. Studies have shown that if you take probiotics at the same time as antibiotics, it can reduce the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
Questions raised by the audience:
Could long-term consumption of the high-quantity probiotics cause the body to produce less of their own natural strains? Answer: Probiotic strains don't stay permanently - maybe only up to a week, so you can't really overdose or have an over-dependency on probiotics. Also, the effects of probiotics are not immediately noticeable.
Prebiotics are essentially food for probiotics, especially for bifidi bacteria. Oligosacharides fall into this group.
Recommendation to take probiotics along with main meal, as this is when the gut needs to function most optimally. Also, the pH level of the stomach is neutralized when food enters, so provides a more hospitable environment for probiotics.
Some probiotic studies show that the length and severity of common colds are reduced if the body has optimally healthy gut flora. Other studies show a 45% reduction in dental caries among children.
Multi-strain probiotics are better, since they increase the range of functions each microbe can play in the gut.
Milk-based probiotics have disadvantages - for lactose-intolerant people, and also because in a live culture, there is a very rapid drop-off rate of the probiotics. Therefore, when a drink cites something like having a million active bacteria, that claim is probably untrue when the product reaches supermarket shelves. Freeze-dried probiotics therefore have an advantage.
Cartwright also recommends selecting a probiotic product from a company that does genuine scientific research into probiotics.
ADDED NOTES from other data I sourced from elsewhere:
Look for a probiotic formula based on:
L. acidophilus & Bifidobacteria
Other beneficial probiotics: L. Salivarius, L. rhamnosus, L plantarum
A good probiotic formulation will usually contain fructooligosaccharides (FOS) - pre-biotics.