An optimally functioning intestinal system is crucial to the health of the whole body. The human gastrointestinal tract harbors trillions of microorganisms, some beneficial to our health and some not. The cells that line the intestines, called villi, form a single layer that regulates digestion and absorbs the digested products. Friendly (probiotic) bacteria live attached to the villi, finding food and shelter and in turn providing benefits to their host. Probiotic bacteria naturally occur in fermented foods, such as live culture yogurt and sauerkraut. Nobel Prize laureate Elie Metchnikoff observed in the 19th century that people in the Balkans who ate yogurt and other foods cultured with lactobacilli were longer-lived. He theorized that ingestion of lactobacilli could prolong life by competitively inhibiting undesirable microbes, preventing them from taking up residence and producing toxins. Intestinal dysbiosis occurs when unfriendly bacteria imbalance probiotic bacteria. Factors that can promote dysbiosis include antibiotics, steroids including birth control pills, alcohol, bacterial infections, stress, traveling or a poor diet.
Trillions of probiotic microflora are found in the healthy small and large intestines, from up to 400 strains. They can support the structure and functional integrity of the epithelial lining by helping to metabolize vitamins, minerals and hormones, improve intestinal motility and assist in detoxifi-cation. They can boost immune function and have been shown to support resistance. They produce metabolites such as lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, bacteriocins and acetic acid that normalize the pH of the intestine and promote a healthy micro-ecological balance. They support healthy conditions in the vagina, and cholesterol within normal levels. They can produce lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose (milk sugar). When probiotics are depleted, supplemental probiotic bacteria are often needed in large amounts â€“ in some cases, ten billion colony forming units (CFU) per day or more may be needed to restore intestinal balance.
GI Flora contains four beneficial probiotic bacteria, L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, L. casei and B. longum, providing support for intestinal microbial balance in both the small and large intestines.
Members of the genus Lactobacillus take up residence primarily in the wall of the small intestine, where they provide many functions, including normalization of pH, promotion of digestive function, and stimulation of immune response. L. acidophilus produces DL-lactic acid, amylase (carbohydrate-digesting enzyme) and bacteriocins. It is resistant to bile and gastric acids and has moderate lactase activity. L. rhamnosus has been shown to support the activity of both white blood cells and lymphocytic natural killer cells. It also sometimes occurs in the large intestine, where it can create favorable conditions for the implantation of bifidobacteria. Compared to L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus is less tolerant to bile and is more transient. It is a good releaser of lactase throughout the stomach and small intestine. L. casei can survive in a wide pH and temperature range and it also produces DL-lactic acid and amylase. It is smaller than L. acidophilus and complements its growth. The name casei originates from the Latin word caseus, meaning cheese. All three of the above-mentioned lactobacilli were originally isolated from the human intestinal tract.
Almost 30 different species of Bifidobacteria have been identified, and they are the most plentiful probiotic bacterial group. They are more delicate than other common probiotics, and can easily be depleted by intestinal toxins or other stressors. Bifidobacteria are found in the large intestine and to a lesser extent in the lower part of the small intestine. B. longum was first isolated from human adults, and is strongly related to B. infantis, another well known probiotic. In breastfed infants bifidobacteria comprise more than 95% of intestinal bacteria. They are anaerobic, and unlike other probiotic bacteria, they can ferment carbohydrates to both acetic and formic acids. They also produce lactic acid, creating a healthy pH in the colon. They produce vitamins B1, B6, folic acid, and enzymes such as casein phosphatase and lysozyme. They also support the absorption of vitamins, and can take up iron from the contents of the bowel. They stimulate IgA production in the intestinal lining, bolstering the epithelial immune response. They may help decompose potentially toxic metabolites. Bifidobacteria are resistant to bile and gastric acids and have moderate lactase activity. The small amount of fructooligosaccharides (FOS) in GI Flora, naturally occurring long-chain carbohydrates that are not digested or absorbed by humans, can serve as a food for bifidobacteria.
The friendly bacteria in GI Flora are tested for authenticity of strain and for potency. They are packed in glass rather than plastic, produced in small batches, and refrigerated at all times. They are produced with 20% higher potency than the label claim at the time of manufacture to counter inevitable potency decay due to temperature abuse and shelf life (aging). Also, freeze drying substantially increases shelf life potency. High quality strains, a sophisticated lyophilization process and meticulous handling combine to make GI Flora unsurpassed in quality.