Probiotics, Prebiotics, Lactic Acid Bacteria. Let’s Clear Up Any Confusion About These Natural Food Remedies

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PROBIOTICS, PREBIOTICS AND LACTIC ACID BACTERIA AND WHY TO TAKE THEM.

probioticsGut microbes have become big in the news and researchers continue to discover the important roles these tiny organisms play in your overall health and well-being. Having the right bacteria in your gut has an enormous influence on your health,

We now know thatGut microbes have great influence on your:

  • Immune system
  • Weight, and
  • Risk of many chronic and acute diseases, from diabetes to cancer
  • The activity of genes in your brain, in fact, they may  manipulate your behavior, and your memory as well. Your gut flora may play a role in the communication between your gut and your brain

Because of these important influence on our general health, we have to carefully protect our Gut health which is constantly under assault by many factors:

  • Antibiotics. The first most important responsible for the damage to our gut flora. Unfortunately, we assume antibiotics not only through their overuse in medicine. We assume most of these drugs every time we eat meat from an animal raised in a confined animal feeding operation (CAFO). In fact, the majority of antibiotics are used in agriculture  to promote weight gain in the animals, therefore  it is crucial to avoid conventionally-raised meats.
  • Chlorinated water
  • Antibacterial soaps.
  • Agricultural chemicals
  • Pollution

But we have to clear up any confusion between these important natural remedies for your health.

DO LACTIC ACID BACTERIA CONTAIN LACTOSE?

It is a fairly widespread misconception so it’s worth spending a few words about.

Many people still mistakenly believe that the lactic acid bacteria contain lactose and that, consequently, their intake is not recommended for those who are intolerant to this substance. In reality, it is a “false belief”: the lactose is a disaccharide (a  sugar) present in variable concentrations in milk .

difference between probiotics and lactic acid bacteria

The lactic acid bacteria used in supplements are prepared by means of selected cell cultures and no stage of their production involves the use of milk (as many believe).

Supplements of lactic ferments are therefore lactose-free and can be taken safely even by people intolerant to it. Besides, even yogurt (the richest food of lactic ferments), despite being a derivative of milk, thanks to the fermentation process loses its lactose content.

PROBIOTICS AND LACTIC FERMENTS. WHAT ARE THESE SUBSTANCES AND HOW TO USE THEM BEST  TO SUPPORT THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

The use of supplements of milk enzymes probiotics and prebiotics is now widespread, especially in winter, to help the body (and intestines!) to re-establish itself after debilitating diseases, such as influenza or gastroenteritis.

The lactic acid bacteria can, in fact, be assumed throughout the year to promote the balance of intestinal bacterial flora and, consequently, the well-being of the whole organism. But let’s find out what exactly are the lactic acid bacteria.  And what is the difference between probiotics and lactic acid bacteria and between probiotics and prebiotics.

Let’s briefly see the following topics:

  • What is the difference between probiotics and lactic acid?
  • How do the probiotic lactic acid bacteria can support the immune system?
  • When and how to take probiotic lactic acid bacteria?
  • Do lactic acid bacteria contain lactose? Dispelling a false belief
  • The difference between probiotics and prebiotics

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PROBIOTICS AND LACTIC ACID BACTERIA:  SIMILAR BUT NOT IDENTICAL

About  probiotics and lactic acid bacteria there is still a bit ‘of confusion and the two terms are often used interchangeably. But are they really? Or are they different substances with different functions?

In fact, probiotics are a specific category of enzymes capable of bringing benefits to the human body. So let’s first explain what are the lactic acid bacteria.

WHAT ARE LACTIC ACID BACTERIA 

With the term lactic acid bacteria are generally indicated  particular microorganisms which are able to chemically transform – or better metabolize, the lactose (the most abundant sugar in milk) by an enzymatic process.

These enzymes are found in milk and cheese and are used to produce beverages or fermented milk (yogurt).  The transformation of lactose can be obtained from different strains of bacteria, but only a few of these can really create useful processes and benefits to humans: the probiotic lactic acid bacteria.

… AND WHAT ARE THE PROBIOTIC LACTIC ACID BACTERIA

difference between probiotic and lactic acid bacteria, probiotics microscope

The probiotic lactic acid bacteria are therefore a well-defined class of enzymes that can bring benefit to the health of our body .

The term probiotic refers to live microorganism belonging to specific strains of lactic acid bacteria (the most important belong to the genera Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium) that can successfully colonize your intestine .

Referring to the definition adopted by WHO and FAO in specific guidelines, we can also define probiotics as “living organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, can provide a health benefit on the host”.

WHY PROBIOTICS CAN SUPPORT THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

The immune system is the first, essential, body barrier against harmful external agents, such as viruses and bacteria. Its role immune-systemis to oppose the entrance of the infectious agent  or provide an effective response once it has entered the human body and quickly eliminate.

An efficient functioning of the immune system is, therefore, essential to prevent any nuisance, or limit its  intensity and duration. But how probiotic lactic acid bacteria can positively affect the immune system?

In this regard, it should be noted that the gut is not only there to absorb the nutrients taken with food, but it is also the main immune organ, as it hosts the 60 percent of immunocompetent cells of the body.

HOW PROBIOTICS ACT IN THE GUT

How  do the probiotic lactic acid bacteria act to positively affect the immune system? We try to explain it in a simple way also by referring to scientific studies.

These beneficial bacteria, once they inhabit the intestine, they are able to consume nutrients which otherwise would go to feed the harmful microorganisms; they also destroy the receptors to which they bind to trigger the infection.

In practice, the probiotics are monitoring the proliferation of harmful microorganisms in the intestines and contrast the survival of pathogens, helping the intestinal flora to maintain a condition of proper balance .

WHEN AND HOW TO TAKE PROBIOTIC LACTIC ACID BACTERIA

Now that we have cleared the difference between probiotics and lactic acid bacteria, let’s try and shed light on when and how it is good to take these substances to promote the well-being of our body.

Typically, the intake of probiotic lactic acid bacteria is recommended when external factors like viruses, bacteria, pollutants, over-consumption of processed foods or stress cause an imbalance of intestinal flora .

In these cases, in fact, probiotics, on the contrary of antibiotics (which kill indiscriminately beneficial bacteria and harmful), are able to restore the balance of bacterial flora , depriving the “bad” microorganisms of the nutrients needed to survive and blocking the receptors to which these bind to trigger the infection.

The supplements based on probiotic and prebiotics  lactic ferments can be taken by anyone, even for long periods , and do not cause any side effect . The ideal is to make use of products containing high amounts of live lactic acid bacteria together with prebiotic fiber, which can provide a synergistic effect and increased efficacy .

Be aware that a supplement to be truly effective must provide  a daily dosage of live lactic acid bacteria of one billion for each strain .

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PROBIOTICS AND PREBIOTICS

As we have seen, probiotics are active microorganisms that once recruited in adequate amounts have a beneficial effect on the host’s health, as it improves the intestinal balance .

Prebiotics are not microorganisms  but  water-soluble fibers , or non-digestible substances that bring benefits as host organism selectively stimulate the growth and the’activities of some bacterial strains that are part of the intestinal flora.

The prebiotics can be found in certain foods  such as wheat flour, bananas, honey, the wheat germs, beans, leek, psyllium dietary fiber etc.

The intake of prebiotic fiber promotes growth , within the colon, of one or more species of bacteria useful to the development of beneficial microflora probiotic; here is why often, in the formulation of supplements, probiotics and probiotics are associated together in order to obtain a synergistic effect and a higher efficacy.

According to a CRNF’s report, if US adults over the age of 55 with heart disease took psyllium dietary fiber daily, billions psylliumcould be saved  a year  in cumulative health care costs just in a 7 year period. The report estimated also that just 30 cents per day of psyllium fiber would be enough at “preventive intake levels, and to support healthy cholesterol levels by inhibiting its absorption in your intestine.Many whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables, naturally contain

Fruits and vegetables, naturally contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which serve as an excellent nutrient for the microorganisms living in your gut. Psyllium also contains both types of dietary fiber.

Besides enhancing the work of probiotics, fiber also offers a host of important benefits:

  • reduce the risk of gallstones and kidney stones, likely because of its ability to help regulate blood sugar.
  • provide some relief from IBS.
  • may reduce your risk of diverticulitis – an inflammation of your intestine – by 40 percent.
  • psyllium husk, may help  your body eliminate yeast and fungus, preventing them from being excreted through your skin where they could trigger acne or rashes.
  • help to slow your body’s  sugar absorption.
  • lowers risk of heart disease. People eating a high-fiber diet have a 40 percent lower risk of heart disease
  • can reduce your stroke risk by 7 percent for every seven-grams more fiber you consume on a daily basis.
  • can enhance weight loss among obese people, likely because fiber increases feelings of fullness.

Do not increase your level of fiber with whole grains, they will raise your insulin and leptin levels, which is a major cause of most chronic diseases. Focus on eating morefreuit and vegetables.

IMPORTANTWhen choosing your probiotics, avoid all pasteurized products, as pasteurization will destroy many of the naturally occurring probiotics.  Most yogurts you find in every grocery store these days are pasteurized, and they typically contain added sugars, high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring, or artificial sweeteners, all of which will only worsen your health.  

About Phil

A doctor taught me to never take pharmaceutical drugs or vaccines. I have made efforts to learn everything about natural cures and healing since.

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