Lactobacillae are located throughout the digestive tract but are especially abundant in the small intestine.
Bifidobacteria are located in the entire digestive tract but are especially abundant in the large intestine. The system’s first inhabitants, these species evolve according to age, diminishing progressively towards the end of life.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is one of the most prominent micro-organisms found in the small intestine.L.acidophilus produces lactic acid which inhibits yeast growth, as well as natural antibiotics which enhance immune functions. L.acidophilus has been shown to inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella, Shigella, S.faecalis and E.coli. Moreover, studies have shown thatL.acidophilus is effective in reducing lactose intolerance, reinforcing the immune system, as well as reducing cholesterol levels and risks of cancer.
Lactobacillus bulgaricus is a transient (non-implanting) strain from dairy origin that carries out important protective functions on its way through the intestinal tract. Traditionally, L.bulgaricus is found in yogurt along with S.thermophilus. Results of studies indicate that L.bulgaricus produces interferon, a substance that can improve the body’s natural response to infection and disease. Additional studies have also demonstrated the benefits of L.bulgaricus in cases of acute diarrhoea and lactose sensitivity.
Lactobacillus casei is a bacteria commonly used for milk fermentation and is naturally occurring in the mouth and digestive tract. L.casei breaks down carbohydrates and inhibits the growth of pathogenic and putrefactive bacteria in the small intestine. L.casei has been studied for its antimicrobial effects, its efficacy against cancer cells and its role in cellular immunity. It has also shown to be helpful in treating diarrhoea caused by antibiotics and viruses.
Lactobacillus plantarum a strain from vegetal origin, is another major species found in the intestinal tract. It secretes the natural occurring antibiotic lactolin and has beneficial anti-microbial activities. This microbiotic is being studied for its efficacy against allergies, cancer and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Lactobacillus rhamnosus is one of the most important microbiotic strains for the health of the adult digestive tract from the mouth to the small intestine. It is primarily found in the small intestine and vaginal tract and is beneficial in inhibiting the bacteria involved in vaginal and urinary tract infections. L.rhamnosus has a high resistance to bile salts and stomach acid and therefore grows prolifically. It protects against the invasion of harmful microorganisms by stimulating gut lining cells to produce mucin, a mucous coating that also prevents toxins from reaching the blood. It provides excellent control over putrefactive microbes, and effectively inhibits disease-causing pathogens. One of the most intensively studied strain of Lactobacillus, it has been shown to stimulate immune responses, enhance the effectiveness of oral vaccinations against rotavirus and serve as an oral therapy for viral gastroenteritis.
Lactobacillus salivarius is found in the mouth and in the small intestine. It has been shown to improve bleeding gums, tooth decay, bad breath, oral thrush and canker sores. L.salivarius produces B vitamins, enzymes and lactic acid, breaks down proteins and has strong anti-microbial effects which have been demonstrated clinically.
Bifidobacterium bifidum is found primarily in the large intestine. As a producer of B vitamins, B.bifidum helps the body in the completion of its digestive process, specifically in the absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium and other vitamins and minerals. B.bifidum produces lactic and acetic acids, which lower the intestinal pH and inhibit unfriendly bacteria from growing. Recent studies haveshown that B.bifidum can reduce the incidence of acute diarrhoea in infants and is beneficial in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). With regular use, B.bifidum can improve immunological and inflammatory responses in seniors.
Bifidobacterium breve colonizes the large intestine and is a producer of lactic and acetic acids that inhibit the growth of undesirable bacteria. It enhances immune responses against various pathogenic antigens and has been shown to repress the growth of ulcer-inducing bacteria. Recent studies have demonstrated that B.breve can colonize the immature bowel of infants very effectively and is associated with better weight gain in very low birth weight infants. Bifidobacterium infantis is the most important microorganism found in the large intestine of infants and has been validated as an effective adjunct therapy in the treatment of acute diarrhoea. Bacteriocidal activity has also been observed against such pathogens as Clostridia, Salmonella, and Shigella. B.infantis has been shown to stimulate the production of immuno-modulating agents.
Bifidobacterium longum colonizes the intestinal tract in very large quantities and plays a direct role in preventing invasion of pathogenic and putrefactive bacteria. B.longum breaks down bile salts, helps to synthesize B-complex vitamins and has been studied for its anti-carcinogenic activities. It also stimulates the immune system, through its effects on immunoglobulin A (lgA). B.longum produces lactic and acetic acids that lower the intestinal pH and inhibit the growth of undesirable bacteria. In clinical studies, B.longum has been found to improve lactose digestion and constipation.
Streptococcus thermophilus is a transient microbiotic from dairy origin. Often used in combination with L.bulgaricus, it produces large quantities of lactic acid, which limits the growth of unfriendly bacteria and helps in the prevention and treatment of diarrhoea. It has been shown to have antioxidant and antitumor activities. S.thermophilus also breaks down lactose and produces the enzyme lactase,improving lactose intolerance.