Most people don't think of their digestive system as a battlefield, but the comparison is apt when you consider how many potentially invasive toxins are trying to invade the GI tract on a daily basis. As harmful bacteria such as E coli move through the human intestine, your natural defense system is alerted and helpful bacteria are called into play. These helpful bacteria consist of microflora such as Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, or L Bulgaricus. Although most commonly found in Bulgarian yogurt and Swiss cheese, Bulgaricus can also be taken as a dietary supplement in a capsule form. Bulgaricus in the dairy industry is identified as a "starter culture" that encourages the growth of other probiotic microbes during the production of cheese and yogurt. This function as an early adapter in harsh environments may offer a glimpse into the prominence of Bulgaricus in the role of a beneficial probiotic.
L Bulgaricus is one of the symbiotic micro-organisms that can shrink or multiply within the environment of the mucous lining in the gastro-intestinal tract, also called the "intestinal mucosa." This environment is described in medical journals as an interface between the absorption of needed nutrients and the diversion of harmful microbes and toxins. When the balance of beneficial microflora is weakened at this interface, infectious diseases are more likely to take a foothold. Conversely, when helpful microflora are flourishing, many germs and infections are prevented from adhering to the host by an amazing system of signals and decoy strategies employed by the digestive system in partnership with the intestinal microflora.
L Bulgaricus appears to play several important roles as a soldier in this battlefield of the digestive tract. These mechanisms include reducing intestinal infections by excreting metabolic end products-- such as acids --that change the pH of the GI tract. At lower pH ranges, or higher acidic levels, it appears that many pathogens simply give up the fight to survive. Also, Lactobacillus Bulgaricus excretes natural antibiotics, which can have a broad spectrum of immune-boosting functions. Other helpful probiotic mechanisms include the blocking of pathogen adhesion sites within the mucous layer of the intestine.
L Bulgaricus shows a proven ability to draw away toxins and defeat harmful bacteria, while colonizing the intestinal mucosa in a beneficial symbiosis. L Bulgaricus appears to be a particularly rugged strain of microbial flora, and has been shown to withstand the low pH levels within the stomach during its digestive journey. Many probiotic products cannot withstand the high acid environment of the stomach, nor the bile salts of the duodenum, thus not reaching their designated work station within the intestine. L Bulgaricus supplements have been compared to a spore, in that it can be stored like a seed but once digested, blooms and grows into the appropriate function within the human GI tract.
In the field of microbiology, an often-quoted study on the effects of Lactobacillus Bulgaricus was produced by L. Baricault in 1995. Baricault showed that L Bulgaricus appeared to demonstrate anti-tumor qualities in his study of rats and hamsters. Many scientific discussions on the effectiveness of Bulgaricus as a possible anti-cancer agent or barrier against disease began with this study, long before the term "probiotic" became a household word.
University studies in Korea and South Carolina have subjected certain Bulgaricus strains of bacteria to freeze-drying and exposure to various chemical sprays. Lactobacillus Bulgaricus showed in these tests that it posesses an unusually hardy tolerance to harsh environments and resistance to toxins. L Bulgaricus fed to mini-pigs during a 2001 university study in Germany also found that Bulgaricus was able to survive the full transit of the mammals' upper digestive system, unlike many other probiotics. This German study noted that the Bulgaricus yogurt cultures which were fed to the test subjects appeared to enhance the growth of other helpful microflora when two or three bacterial strains were introduced in combination.
In their 2005 study of GI infections for the British Journal of Nutrition, Gibson and McCartney studied the signalling patterns used by probiotics and prebiotics to inhibit the spread of pathogens in the intestinal mucosa. In this study, one mechanism cited to describe the workings of these microflora is by decoying and rerouting toxins so that they do not bind to the host's intestinal mucosa. This British study calls to mind the parallel of a battlefield within the GI tract.
Bulgaricus microflora appear to set up a defensive line wherein harmful bacteria are guided away from the important area of interface, the intestinal mucosa. The several studies cited here have led to discoveries hinting that the combined effects of probiotics on intestinal microflora, as well as their unique anti-adhesive strategies, may lead to new dietary interventions against toxins. Lactobacillus Bulgaricus offers adaptability to harsh environments and a boost to help other microflora become established. This helpful supplement has shown its effectiveness in guarding the health of the GI tract.
(1) L Baricault. "Inhibitory effects of freeze-dried milk fermented by selected Lactobacillus bulgaricus strains on carcinogenesis induced by 1,2-dimethylhydrazine in rats and by diethylnitrosamine in hamsters." Cancer Letters, 147(1-2): 125-37. 1995.
(2) J.S. Lee, D.S. Cha and H.J. Park. "Agricultural Food Chemistry." Graduate School of Biotechnology, Korea University, Anam-Dong, Sungbuk-Ku, Seoul, Korea, and Department of Packaging Science, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina. November 2004, pp 7300–7305.
(3) Sonja Lick, Karsten Drescher and Knut J. Heller. "Survival of Lactobacillus subspecies bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus in the Terminal Ileum of Fistulated Göttingen Minipigs." Institute for Microbiology and Institute for Physiology and Biochemistry of Nutrition, Federal Dairy Research Center, Kiel, Germany. June 29, 2001.
(4) G.R. Gibson, A.L. McCartney and R.A. Rastall. "Prebiotics and resistance to gastrointestinal infections." The British Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 93 Suppl 1, April 2005, pp. 531-4.
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