Did you know that poor digestive function is a contributing factor in more than ninety percent of America’s serious health issues? The waiting rooms of doctors are jam packed, in part because so many people are suffering with gastrointestinal problems. All wellness practitioners are certain that a healthy digestive system is the cornerstone of good health. Proteins, the building blocks of life, carbohydrates and fats, your body’s source of energy, vitamins and minerals, and water- all are assimilated through digestion. If you are not properly digesting the foods you eat, your body isn’t obtaining the nutrients it needs to repair, renew and thrive. Without the raw materials it needs to repair the damage we do to ourselves every day, your body begins to break down, leading to poor health and accelerated aging.
One of the most important factors in a healthy digestive function is the important delicate balance of bacteria found in the human gastrointestinal (GI) tract. There are three main types of flora in the human GI tract- Bifidobacteria, Bacteroides and Eubacterium. Of slightly less importance are Lactobacilli, Streptococci and Peptococci and other transitory flora. Our stomachs and intestines are populated by hundreds of billions of these bacteris, or microflora. Amazingly, there are more probiotic organisms in our gut than there are cells in our bodies! That’s a lot of bacteris, but it’s GOOD bacteria, and each strain has specific functions in the human body. These bacteria aid the digestion of food and have protective qualities that contribute to good colon health. While a good balance of these different microflora is necessary, there are many factors that can, and do disrupt this balance- certain medications, a poor diet, infection, stress, bad bacteria, aging and even the climate. The good news is a rapidly expanding body of research suggests that supplementing the diet with the right mix of microflora can have a beneficial affect on gastrointestinal function, and therefore overall health.
Hawaii’s House of Gold’s Friendly Flora exclusively utilizes the finest strains from Rhodia Incorporated, the world’s leading supplier of high quality probiotic ingredients, and is enteric-coated to ensure that the bacteria in this product are not destroyed in stomach acid but reach the small and large intestines where they are most beneficial. Friendly Flora is a vegetarian product that contains virtually no lactose.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is a well studied microflora species that’s highly resistant to gastric acidity and is able to proliferate in the presence of bile. Like many probiotic organisms, it also adheres well to intestinal cells, helping to prevent the adherence of certain enteropathogens.
Lactobacillus casei is a microflora strain that is found in the human mouth and intestines as well as in fermented vegetables, milk and meat. Recent research has shown that this bacterium is active in the GI tract and may help to modulate the immune system.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus, like Lactobacillus acidophilus, is highly resistant to gastric acidity and proliferates well in bile. It, too, adheres well to intestinal cells. It has been included in this particular strain because it works extremely well with L acidophilus.
Lactobacillus salivarius is a strain that has proven highly effective against Helicobacter pylori, a bacterial species implicated in a number of digestive conditions. Studies have shown that L. salivarius is capable of producing high amounts of lactic acid, which has been shown to inhibit H. pylori growth in live subjects. Compared to other Lactobacillus strains, L. salivarius was proven to have the greatest inhibitory effect on the proliferation of H. pylori, which is why this strain is included in Friendly Flora.
Streptococcus thermophilus bacterium are isolated from yogurt and are recommended for lactose intolerant individuals to help digest lactose in the intestines. This strain is included in this formula to assist in the acidification of the intestinal environment, as well as to create a favorable environment for lactic acid bacteria.
Bifidobacterium bifidum is one of the workhorse of the large intestine. It has a high tolerance to gastric acidity, and, like L. acidophilus and many other probiotic organisms, it adheres well to intestinal cells, helping to prevent the adherence of certain enteropathogens.
Bifidobacterium longum is a bifidobacterium of human orgin that , like lactobacillus, is extremely resistant to gastric acid and bile salts. Because its anaerobic (able to live without oxygen), it’s perfectly suited to colonize the colon. Initial studies have shown that this particular strain of bifidobacteria helps to support the immune system. It also seems to decrease enzymatic activity in feces. Researchers believe enzymatic activity in feces may contribute to carcinogenesis.
Bifidobacterium lactis is one of most well-studied strains of probiotic bacteria, with a wealth of peer-reviewed, published research on its benefits. Clinical trials on B Lactis have shown it to be helpful in a number of digestive conditions, including diarrhea and lactose intolerance, as well as immune response modulation.
For more information, see Digestion.
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