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 - in some cases, ten billion colony forming units (CFU) per day or more may be needed to restore intestinal balance.
The three probiotic Lactobacillus strains that comprise Lactobacillus plantarum/ rhamnosus/salivarius are particularly hardy. This formulation may be appropriate for individuals who do not derive benefit from less hardy strains, such as L. acidophilus. Members of the genus Lactobacillus take up residence primarily in the wall of the small intestine, wherethey provide many functions, including normalization of pH, promotion of digestive function, and stimulation of immune response.
Lactobacillus plantarum is a probiotic bacteria which was originally isolated from sourdough bread, and it has traditionally been used as a culture for fermenting bread and cabbage. L. plantarum is resistant to gastric acids and inhabits the small intestine when ingested. It produces lactic acid and bacteriocins. L. plantarum has very high lactase activity, and it can deliver and release lactase throughout the stomach and small intestine, facilitating the digestion of lactose.
Traditionally, Lactobacillus salivarius has been used as a supplement in functional foods and probiotic drinks in Asia. L. salivarius was originally isolated from the intestinal tract of humans, and it can also be found in dairy products and vegetable matter. It produces lactic acid and bacteriocins, and has moderate lactase activity.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus was originally isolated from the human intestinal tract. It has been shown to support the activity of both white blood cells and lymphocytic natural killer cells. It is a good releaser of lactase throughout the stomach and small intestine. It also sometimes occurs in the large intestine, where it can create favorable conditions for the implantation of bifidobacteria. L. plantarum, L. salivarius and L. rhamnosus differ from L. acidophilus in that they are less tolerant to bile and more transient in the human intestine. When ingested, a portion of each may survive gastric acids and bile and pass through the intestine but not implant.
The friendly bacteria in Lactobacillus plantarum/rhamnosus/salivarius 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 Lactobacillus plantarum/rhamnosus/sali-varius unsurpassed in quality.
As a dietary supplement, 1 capsule one to three times daily on an empty stomach, or as directed by a healthcare practitioner.